'A successful independent insurance agency is like a TV newsroom.'
You probably won't see that quote on any refrigerator magnets, but it's the truth.
How do I know? I've worked in both industries.
I spent about three years as an executive news producer at a TV station in West Texas. Since making the switch to marketing, I've worked with insurance agents for two years.
Now, I won't tell you putting together a newscast is like handling claims or building a book of business. It's not. But, insurance and TV news are more alike than you might think.
Here are five lessons from TV newsrooms to help your agency stand out from your competition.
If you've watched the local news, you've noticed it's packed with stories and features.
It takes strong organization skills to prioritize all this information into a 30-minute newscast. Successful news teams deliver the stories that matter most to viewers first.
Similarly, successful insurance agencies focus first on the needs of their clients. Everything they do is to best serve clients. From office business hours to marketing collateral.
These agencies also make use of an agency management system to organize information. Successful agents know technology is critical to providing customer-first service easy.
Meeting deadlines is a hallmark of any business. But, few industries have more stringent deadlines than TV news.
As an executive producer, I had two deadlines each day for the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. If I were to miss these deadlines, thousands of people would notice.
I only had four hours to organize each newscast. That meant writing news scripts, keeping track of reporters, and coordinating video clips used on the air.
The point is I had to be efficient, especially since I would go through the entire process twice a day.
Deadlines in the insurance industry might not be quite as extreme as those in TV news. But, efficiency is an area where successful agencies stand out.
Agencies that put their clients first need to be able to respond to their demands fast. These agents use comparative raters to do a full analysis of their carriers swiftly. They also have well-trained customer service representatives and a formal process for following up on inquiries quickly.
The news industry moves fast. Successful newsrooms adjust on the fly.
One day, I caught word of a deadly train accident in town 20 minutes before the newscast started.
I made a phone call to gather more information. I reorganized my newscast. I wrote new scripts for the anchors. I sent a reporter to the scene. I shared the information on the station website. Meanwhile, I also coordinated all these changes with my team.
Successful insurance agencies must also be ready to turn on a dime.
A hailstorm in the area could lead to a sudden spike in phone calls or walk-in traffic. Or, a particular marketing campaign could expose your agency to dozens of new prospects.
Meeting unanticipated demand in a client-first fashion is what successful agencies do. It sets agencies apart.
Strong branding is a fundamental element of a successful news operation. TV viewers in our area had three stations to choose from for their local news.
To stand out from our competitors, we conveyed our unique value each night. We delivered on the expectations our branding initiatives provided.
The competition is even stiffer for insurance agencies. Comprehensive branding can make a huge difference.
Reputation can make or break a news operation. Viewers trust newscasts to provide them with pertinent and accurate information. If a news team fails to live up to these expectations, viewership and revenue will plummet.
Since reputation is everything, there's no such thing as a minor slip-up. I once had a typo in a news script, which put some misinformation on the air. The subject of the story threatened to sue my station, and I almost lost my job.
When it comes to reputation, insurance agencies have even more on the line. In today's internet-driven world, agencies with a shoddy reputation can end up shutting their doors.
Successful agents earn stellar online reviews by putting their clients first. Then, they leverage that goodwill to drive referral traffic. A great reputation is a successful agency's top salesperson.
Successful TV news teams and insurance agents share certain qualities. A holistic commitment to put their customers first. The ability to communicate and deliver on their unique value in the marketplace.
You might not see any fridge magnets comparing the two industries. But, feel free to use these tips from the bright lights of a TV news set to make your agency shine.
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About the Author
Dylan Brooks helps ITC clients improve the visibility of their agency websites, working directly with them to improve their search engine rankings. Dylan has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Miami, and he is pursuing a masters in business administration from Southern Methodist University. Dylan has extensive experience with writing, strategy and marketing analytics. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys cooking, watching football, and spending time outdoors in and around Dallas.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Dylan Brooks