When I put off starting a new project, often it is not because I don't want to do it. I procrastinate because either I'm not sure where to start or I worry I may not do it well. Many insurance agents suffer the same anxiety when it comes to blogging.
You may understand the benefits to your insurance agency website from blogging. That it helps your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. That it gives a reason for people to stay longer on your website and come back. That it positions you as an expert.
In theory, blogging may seem easy. And it can be. Unless you're not sure how to get started. The below process is a great place to begin. It will help you create blog posts that are easy to read and attract people to your website.
Write Down Your Inspiration
Once you become open to inspiration, you will see it everywhere. You should write down the ideas as they come to you because it is likely you won't remember them. Find a system that works for you. Whether you keep an actual notepad with you, use the notes on yourphone, or use an app like Evernote to track all your blogging inspiration.
If you're not entirely sure of an idea, share it with someone and get their feedback. It can be someone within your agency, a trusted referral partner, or your outsourced marketing help. Use their feedback to flesh out an idea. Their input may even help you think of an angle you didn't consider and get you started on an outline for your post.
Create Your Blog Post
When it's time to write a blog post, look through your inspiration list, and pick a topic you feel ready to write about. You should structure your blog post so it is easy for your readers to follow. If it is too hard, they'll leave your insurance website and likely won't be back.
- Write an outline
Some people can write without an outline. For beginning bloggers, I recommend that you write an outline before you write the full post because it will help you focus your thoughts. Remember what I said about making your post easy to follow? An outline will help you make sure your blog flows in a way that makes sense.
- Grab attention with engaging introduction
It is important to grab your readers' attention in the first paragraph. Yes, you want to explain what they can expect to learn in the blog post, but you also want to be engaging and connect with them. Some ideas to try: asking a question, sharing a statistic, quoting someone or telling a story.
- Break up your content
Don't write long paragraphs. Break it up into shorter, easier to digest paragraphs. Use headings to identify major sections. You can also use bullet points or numbers for list posts or if you're giving directions of how to do something like conducting a home inventory.
- Include visual element
Give your readers something to look at. So much research has been done on what consumers respond to on the Internet. And one thing that gets the best engagement is images. It's not difficult to find images on the Internet you can use with your blog post. But you must first understand image usage rights and licensing. You don't want to be fined for using an image you didn't have the rights to use.
- End with a strong finish
You want to keep your readers on your insurance agency website for as long as you can. Ending your blog post with a purpose can help you do that. There are a few ways to end a post with a strong finish: Ask a question and invite your readers to comment on the post. End with a strong call to action and point the reader to another part of your insurance website.
Review and Edit
Now that you have a draft, put it aside for as long as you can afford. That may be an hour, half a day or longer. Taking a break after writing the draft will make the next step easier. That time away from your blog post will help you to notice what's not working. You'll see the rough edges and can then smooth them out. Remove any unnecessary words, sentences or sections. These are the parts that don't add anything to your blog post but a word count. You don't want your message to get muddled with extra content.
Deliver What You Promised
Optimize your blog post title for search engines using keywords, but also keep it attractive to readers. It needs to grab attention. Otherwise, no one will read your post. Get creative with it. But keep in mind that your post must deliver what is promised. So read through it before you hit publish. Will your readers learn what you said they would in the title?
Blogging is great for your insurance website's SEO, but you also have to make your posts worth reading. The topics you choose to write about is important. So is having a good format that is easy to read with visual interest.
Got a blogging tip? Leave it in the comments below.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder