There is a lot of talk about content marketing. It is often touted as the most lucrative form of marketing strategy to employ, but the success of a content marketing plan relies heavily on using the right kind of content.
So what is the right kind of content?
In a recent Live Webinar Roundtable, a group of industry experts came together to answer that very question.
Manny Barbosa, Senior Digital Marketing Trainer at Safeco Insurance, identified the three most important qualities of effective content. “It has to be valuable, relevant, and timely,” he said.
The group went on to discuss the specifics of each quality.
Create valuable content
The value your content delivers to a client or prospect defines its efficacy. How do you ensure your content has value? Make sure it teaches your audience about something useful and actionable.
Sarah Green, Marketing Manager at Ferranti-Graybeal Insurance, pointed to targeted, educational content as a good example of value-based marketing. “When I’m writing content for the website, blog, or social media, I try to provide more educational content, something the audience needs and wants, and that provides them value, especially in the niches that we’re trying to develop,” she explained.
It can be tempting for agents to make their content sound like a sales pitch, their communications exhorting more than informing. This ABC style of advertising simply doesn’t work in a digital environment.
Manny Barbosa warned of the dangers of using “direct-ask” marketing or content that is light on value and heavy on sales pitch, explaining that it makes the audience feel sold to. “It leads clients to feel ‘You don’t really care about me. All you want is the sale. So why do I want to work with you?’” he added.
Create relevant content
It is crucial that your content speaks directly to your audience. It will attract the clients you are looking for and inspire them to take steps towards engaging with you. The more directly you can speak to a client, the more receptive they will be to your message.
Tia Marie-Gagnon, Marketing Manager at Chalmers Insurance Group, pointed out the importance of defining your audience. “You have to figure out who you are marketing to, what content they need, and what you wish to share.”
Describing your service offering is important as well. Prospects considering you will have questions, including: What makes you unique? What problems can you solve? What does working with you look like?
Referencing the need to provide relevant information to potential clients, Ashley Fitzsimmons, Customer Experience Manager at Chalmers Insurance Group, used the example of a restaurant recommendation. She shares, “If somebody recommended an awesome new bar or restaurant to me, the first thing I would do is go online to see what their website looks like. Do they actually have physical photos of the inside of the place, or of the people working there?”
Create timely content
Providing timely content can be challenging. It requires a more consistent marketing effort to remain timely and top-of-mind.
One key to timely communications is utilizing automation. If your marketing strategy is running 24/7, you don’t have to worry about devoting all of your time.
“Find a platform where you can set it and forget it and have it scheduled out in an editorial calendar. That way you never feel like, “Oh, no, what do I post?” Because once you start it, you want it to be consistent and timely,” said Tia Marie-Gagnon.
One way to remain timely with your content is to embrace on the fly communications. Not everything you create has to be perfect. Sometimes providing information quickly outweighs other concerns. During a hurricane for example, an agent could post information on social media to help clients to stay safe as the storm approaches.
Ashley Fitzsimmons recalled a time she wanted to share a message about Agency Nation’s Elevate conference. Rather than embark on a long content creation process, she streamlined:
“We wanted to make a quick video, and we just did it from my iPhone. The quality was not good, but we got our point across and you could hear us. That video that we recorded with my iPhone in all of 10 minutes got so much more attention than some of my fancy ‘Whiteboard Wednesday’ videos.”
If your marketing strategy is the engine, great content is the fuel. Without it, you won’t make any progress.
If you want more great information about content marketing, watch a replay of the entire webinar by clicking here.