In today’s competitive markets, success can depend a great deal on customer loyalty and brand recognition. A company that has built a strong connection with its customer base is better equipped to weather the ups and downs of market fluctuations.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to reach out to potential customers and establish yourself as a reliable provider of value. Some of the best known brands have used content marketing to grow their brand and raise awareness about new products and services. As far back as 2011, Toshiba set up its "Smart Community" that used blogging across several social media platforms to call attention to its renewable energy tech. Instead of focusing on product description, Toshiba’s campaign concentrated on presenting substantive information on environmental impact. More recently, Toshiba has been successfully promoting its medical systems hardware with a series of blog posts explaining the intricacies of the Affordable Care Act.

Connect With Customers Through Authoritative Content

The hallmark of effective content is its high proportion of useful information, as opposed to direct promotion of your product. Your copy is meant to establish you as an authority in the field, someone who is knowledgeable and reliable. As in the case of Toshiba Medical, you can also produce value by offering clear and comprehensive explanations on topics that are not directly related to your product. For example, an insurance agency that offers automotive insurance may offer information about cutting-edge car technology, local traffic laws and road conditions that can affect driving. Offering this type of content lets customers feel that you care about their driving experience, not just about selling them a specific product.

However, not all types of content are created equal. Forbes has published a series on effective content marketing; many of the principles listed are highly applicable when it comes to insurance agency marketing.

  1. Identify and Target Customer Needs

    Your content should be interesting and relevant to the people who constitute your customer base. As an independent insurance agent, you want to reach out to people whom you can expect to eventually purchase a policy from you. For example, if you sell home insurance, your content should feature information that is relevant to homeowners in your geographic area. This may mean including posts on topics such as home improvement or security technology.

    A good way to identify local insurance needs is to search for particular types of policies in your geographical area. A typical consumer search may include terms like “home insurance City State 2-bedroom, pool” or “what insurance do I need for a boat in City State.” Your goal is to have your site come up among the first few results. Just stuffing your content with SEO keywords will not do the trick; the answer is to post informative articles that actually answer these types of questions. Tell your customer base about the different kinds of insurance available for various boats and discuss several types of boat owners and which policies might be better for each. Write an article about home insurance and the various factors that can affect policy needs in this area.

  2. Update Frequently

    A blog or social media site that is updated only sporadically will soon drop off that all-important first page of search results and off your customers’ radar. To stay relevant, it is important to present new content on a regular basis. With a small staff, this can become a difficult task if you do not plan well. Here are some things you can do to make consistent content creation easier:

    • Keep a list of news and information sources to check regularly for material and inspiration
    • Use pockets of down time to write up a few articles at a time for later posting
    • If you do not have time to create a long, thoughtful piece, a few discussion-provoking or humorous sentences can tide you over
    • Create and adhere to a writing and posting schedule

  3. Fresh and Interesting Content

    Insurance marketing content may not be the stuff of thrillers, but it is important to make your content both useful and interesting. Once you have identified areas of interest to your customers, be sure to stay on topic. While many insurance topics can be quite complex and abstract, insurance experts can enhance their authority by explaining them in a way that is clear and engaging.

  4. Keep it Relevant

    Whatever information you present, be sure to make clear the link between that knowledge and the customer’s needs. If you are explaining a local zoning law, explain how it affects insurance policies for business owners in that area. Clear and concise lists are another way of presenting information in an easy-to-read format. The following examples showcase the kind of content that offers instant value to its readers:

    • Comprehensive vs. Collision coverage. This kind of compare-and-contrast is easy to understand and explains an issue many find confusing.
    • 10 Factors That Raise Car Insurance and 10 That Don’t. A numbered list is a clear way to present important information.
    • 10 Things to Consider When Shopping for Auto Insurance in City, State. This list instantly focuses on local customers.
    • A Quick Guide to Finding the Best Health Insurance Coverage. Help customers examine their options.
    • 10 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent. This type of article shows identification with the customer’s concerns.