Consumer habits change constantly. We watch countless YouTube videos, devour hours of Netflix, listen to audio books. But write a company blog? Update your website copy? Read every email or business correspondence? Nobody has time for that! So why does writing still matter?
Two words- content marketing. Whether it’s a blog, eBook, social media post, website copy or email campaign, (well-written) content is essential to drive your business forward, and a key component to marketing for insurance professionals.
A cohesive content strategy establishes your online brand. It’s the first impression and voice of your agency. Great content can drive traffic to your site, generate leads (and higher conversion rates), and establish your agency as a thought leader in the insurance industry. But that type of content requires high quality, concise writing. Here’s how to write effective, quality content for the web.
Take The Time. There’s no way around it. Writing takes time and needs to be updated regularly. Create an editorial calendar or schedule time to brainstorm, write and edit content on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Whether it is a blog or website copy, you need to make sure that it doesn’t stay stagnant.
Be Relevant. Know your audience. Who is your ideal client? What are their goals? What do you want to accomplish with your content strategy? Where those two align is your sweet spot, and should drive the focus of your content.
Edit, Edit, Edit. I cannot stress this enough. This is the biggest, most poorly kept secret of good writers. There is no such thing as a perfect first draft. Writers aren’t inherently good writers, they’re great editors. They write, check, rewrite and edit again. It’s a process. In my ten years of content writing experience, I have never hit publish on a first draft. When you finish a piece, put it down for a bit and take a look again. Does it communicate your point? Can you remove any unnecessary filler words? Any jargon or sentences that could confuse the reader?
Be Direct. Help your skimming readers and don’t waste space. Take out single word modifiers that lengthen your sentence. Examples are “very,” “already,” “actually,” and “much.” Use the active voice (rather than passive) in your writing.
Using active voice and direct, clear language will help you effectively communicate your point across.
Active voice and direct clear language effectively communicates your point.
Switch It Up. Getting into the nitty gritty here, but it’s important. As you’re reading through your copy, note the type, length and style of your sentences. Are they long run-on sentences? Too short? One word exclamations? Using a varying mix of sentence structures subtly makes your content more engaging.
Be Organized. Formatting and structuring your content is crucial. Organize your writing in bullet points, with titles and tags to make it easy to digest. Use clearly bolded titles and subheaders when necessary.
Get In Their Face. Writing for the web is a new ballgame. People don’t read; they scan. Writing a college-style essay that builds up to your strongest point at the end means your audience will miss your point- they won’t stick around long enough to read it. Every word you write needs to be concise and to the point. Put the most important information at the top of the article. Many readers are skimmers. They’ll read the first few sentences to get the gist of the article. Make sure you put your top message there.
Read It Aloud. No matter how many times you read through it, mistakes can slip through. Reading your words aloud sounds silly, but it can help you catch subtle mistakes and improve readability.
Effective insurance content strategies are not a set it and forget it type of thing. It is your voice, your brand, your company that you’re putting out to the world wide web. You need to work with content producers to make sure your brand is consistent and reflects your goals.