Finding the best blog article ideas for your agency website isn’t as hard as you might think, but when I talk to other agents and agency owners, by far the one thing they struggle with the most is content creation. It’s understandable really.
Selling insurance is very much a left-brained type of occupation.
When you’re dealing with numbers and fine print all day — constantly in analytical mode, it can be hard to get the creative juices flowing outside of that environment.
Unfortunately for agents who struggle with this, what Google wants the most, and is more likely to rank your website for is long-form, high quality content. If you don’t have quality content on your website, optimized for humans and search engines, there’s nothing for Google to index and rank, and there’s nothing useful for other websites to link to. It’s a viscous cycle.
Without those two things, you’re not going to get much organic traffic.
Luckily there are some strategies and tricks you can utilize that will help you in this area tremendously.
What I’ve found from conversing with many agents, and some of our own Advisor Evolved clients, is that it’s not necessarily the process of sitting down and writing the article, it’s simply finding good blog ideas to write about. It seems as though just getting started is the hardest part for most agents.
Fortunately for them, and you, I’m about to share some solid strategies here, so you’ll have no excuse for finding some good things to write about on your agency’s blog.
How to find the best blog article ideas
There’s an old quote you may have heard of from the famous artist Pablo Picasso:
Good artists copy; great artists steal.
Why that old adage is relevant here is because most of the ideas you could ever write about have already been written about at some point. I’m not telling to go stealing peoples’ content. In fact, I think one of the best ways to generate original and unique content is by answering questions that no one else in your space is willing to answer.
That said, I am suggesting however that you try not to reinvent the wheel, and do some competitor research and content analysis before you decide to dig in to that 2500 word masterpiece. Find people in your industry who are already creating good content and expand upon what they might be writing about.
There are multiple ways to find existing content ideas (and re-create them in your own voice) to drive traffic and engagement (and also build links!).
Being in the insurance industry, it’s important that you have a good balance on your agency blog. If every article on your site is about insurance, you’re not going to get a lot of engagement. It’s just the way it is.
Sure you might strike a nerve here and there with some insurance content and get some comments and shares, but most of the time, it’s just not exciting enough to generate much buzz. That’s okay though, and guess what, you still have to blog.
But first: don’t just blog about insurance
I’m preaching to the choir here when I say that insurance, although very important for the general public to understand, is very boring to the average consumer. It’s important to mix in some other practical and useful content to keep your audience interested in your brand. Yes, you definitely need insurance content on your site, but it’s not all you should be writing about.
Some examples of that type of content would be:
- local community events (tip below)
- parenting tips
- recipes (bacon!)
- law changes that could impact insurance
- product reviews
- restaurant reviews
- how-to tutorials
Also worth noting is that you should really have a good grasp of your local community so you can provide updates and news to your customers about it. A good way to do this is to open an account on http://gomytown.com. This is a forum type of site where you can find inside news and gossip about your neighborhood, county, or town.
Although frowned upon, you might also be able to subtly market your services there as well if you build up some authority first.
Remember the purpose of blogging is to drive traffic to your website that eventually turns into commission dollars, whether that be organically from Google search bots, or from humans reading it and sharing it. It’s going to be hard to generate a lot of shares and traffic from an insurance based article though, even if super useful.
You must keep your content balanced.
Best tools for finding blog ideas
Finding good ideas to blog about doesn’t have to be a painful process. In fact there are several free tools you have at your disposal that make this process much easier.
Google Alerts is an awesome (and free) tool that allows you do set up alerts for topics and phrases you enter in to the site. Say for example you have an insurance agency in San Diego California. It might be useful to set up an alert for “San Diego Insurance” or something similar.
This way, any time an article is published on the internet with that phrase in it, you’ll get an email from Google Alerts so you can go check out that content and what it’s about. This will help you get an idea of what is being written about, and around that phrase, and can give you some solid ideas for your own content.
Pro tip: Google Alerts is also a useful tool for keeping tabs on your own brand. It might be worthwhile to set up an alert for your agency so you can get a notification if someone was to leave a scathing review, or some other negative comments online about your agency.
BuzzSumo has gone from a neat little tool that I would occasionally use for random projects, to an absolute necessity for my everyday content creation workflows.
This tool allows you to search the web for phrases and topics, and analyze content that has been shared a lot, and gotten a lot of traction online. It’s extremely helpful for finding popular content, but one of my favorite uses for it is competitor research.
It allows you to see which competitor content has done well, and what networks your competitors are getting the most shares from. It’s very handy if you have a large, well known agency in your backyard who you might want to gain some ground on.
But back to the blog idea concept — lets say you find a piece of content that has been shared a lot, it would be a good idea to go read that article, and create something similar, with your own spin on it.
Pro tip: remember you must never copy and paste from someone else’s website. Google won’t rank duplicated content, and you could get in trouble both by the original author, or from a Google penalty. Plus let’s face it, copying someone else’s content is just lame.
Alltop is an absolutely crucial tool for finding news and content ideas. Simply go to their website and type in the topic, and Alltop will find and return some of the most relevant articles online based on that specific topic.
Alltop is in some ways like BuzzSumo but doesn’t have the competitor analysis. That said, it does a better job than BuzzSumo at finding articles about your topic.
Give it a try, it’s awesome!
Moat might be one of the coolest, yet unknown tools out there for digital marketing analysis. Where an agency might find it valuable is it’s ad search functionality which allows you to search for ads that other insurance companies, agencies, or any company for that matter, are running online.
Analyzing competitor ads is a good way of seeing what content or topics other people are using to rank, or drive traffic with.
While Moat may not spell out specific blog article ideas, it gives you an idea of what other people are doing online, what their sales copy is, and what success they might be having as a result of their content marketing efforts.
A lot of people forget about Twitter search. I use it all the time when I’m looking online for stuff. It actually helped me find a DSLR camera I was looking for one time.
Simply throw in a topic or idea with a hashtag in front, and see what pops up. It’s a great way to see content that might be trending, as well as what’s been re-tweeted recently.
By the way, while we’re on the subject, are you following us on Twitter? If not, hop over and click follow 🙂
Ever since Google Reader shut down it’s doors back in 2012, much to the internet’s chagrin, Feedly has become the defacto article aggregation/bookmarking tool.
Feedly lets you follow blogs via their RSS feed, and aggregates all of the articles from each site into an awesome and handy little dashboard. This lets you scan through the day’s headlines quickly, and really helps with generating content ideas.
I’ve been using Feedly for years now and it’s one of the first apps I open on my iPhone every morning. If you could only use one tool from this entire list, Feedly would be it. That’s how helpful it is for me.
Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator
Although not perfect, Hubspot’s blog topic generator is a pretty cool tool as well. Simply toss in a few nouns and their algorithm will spit out some related blog article headlines.
This is a handy tool when you literally have no clue what you want to write about and are looking for some headline ideas to get you started in the right direction. Most of the time you’ll have to re-work the headlines they give you but it’s a good starting point if you’re really struggling with writer’s block.
Portent Content Idea Generator
The Portent Content Idea Generator is also a neat tool, although a little hokey. Plug in a topic, and it will help auto-generate a headline for you as well as make some basic recommendations on how to structure the headline.
More tips on finding good blog article topics
Now that we covered some helpful tools, let’s cover a few other things.
Follow industry publications
There are a number of solid industry websites out there who you can get blog article ideas from as well. These sites cover a wide range or resources, many of which can really get you going in the right direction with your own content.
Insurance Journal is obviously one of the most well known online publications in our industry. From carrier news to blogs, to interviews and videos, there is a ton of great content ideas hanging out here.
I like the fact that their news is broken down by region, so you can really target in on topics that are relevant to you and your customer base.
Property & Casualty 360
Like Insurance Journal, Property & Casualty 360 is another power player in the insurance space, and they cover a wide range of topics relevant to our industry.
Insurance News Net
I’m not going to spend too much time on Insurance News Net, but it’s clearly one where you could get some idea’s from as well.
Life Health Pro
For you agents out there who write mostly life and/or annuity business, Life Health Pro is a must read site. They coverage a wide range of topics and also have some good sales and marketing tips too.
Answer questions no one else is answering
One of the quickest ways to build engagement in your content is by giving away information that can’t be found anywhere else.
For example, don’t you think people are curious to know how much money insurance agents make? You could write an article titled, “Behind the Scenes: How Much Do Insurance Agents Really Make?”
Something like that is sure to draw curiosity, and probably come conversation around the article as well.
Don’t be afraid to give away some inside information every once in a while. If anything, it humanizes your brand, and helps build trust with your audience.
Okay, we just covered a ton, and you’re probably asking yourself, what do I do next?
What to do next
The first thing I would do if I were you, is go sign up for a Feedly account and add all these sites, and other sites you like to follow. This way you can keep all of your favorite content in one spot.
Then, once a month, find an article from one of these sites that hits home, and try to put your own spin on it.
Remember, do not copy and paste content from someone else’s site.
If you need help with the actual blog writing part also, I strongly recommend reading this article which will show you literally everything you need to know about crafting the perfect blog article.
I think that about does it. Do you have any other thoughts? Leave us a comment below, and don’t forget to tweet and share this for us!
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