My business started with a single telephone call on Friday, 5th July 2019, a phone call that would change the trajectory of my business. In the blink of an eye, everything changed for me.
Until that moment, I had been diligently crafting content for small business owners, helping them understand the sort of insurance they need and why. Yet, despite all my efforts and experience, I felt lost, unable to work out how to make my business a success, and I knew I didn’t want to be an insurance broker. Something had to shift for this to be more than an expensive hobby.
In a desperate attempt to find clarity, I reached out to individuals from my past corporate job. Jodi replied and we set up a call. Little did I know that she was going to ask me a question on that call that would shape my business into what it is today.
Wondering why I told you that story? In that phone call in 2019, Jodi said she liked the content I was creating and would I write some content for her, at that moment everything changed for me. I suddenly realised that there was a need for good quality insurance content, written by people who know about insurance, to help educate and inform the reader, to elevate a sometimes dry topic into content that can turn browsers into buyers.
And that all sounds great but what followed was a lot of hard work, trial and error, blood, sweat and tears. This is why I’ve pulled together a few of the things that I wish I’d known at the outset, in the hope it might help someone else set out on a similar journey.
10 things I wish I had known before I became an insurance blogger.
The effort and determination it takes - it’s hard work, getting my first client was a strike of luck but getting the next one took a lot of time and effort. I was posting, blogging, networking, and building a website as well as trying to win new clients it was tough and sometimes lonely but I knew I could help lots of brokers with their marketing so I stuck at it and it paid off eventually but it took probably two years of continuous effort to get where I am today.
Be the niche - a lot of small business owners find it difficult and counterintuitive to work with only one type of client but it has helped me 100% to only work with insurance businesses. I know who my ideal client is, because I was sun their shoes, I know how the industry works, and l understand the nuances of working in a regulated environment and how that affects the content we create. Knowing who my ideal client is helps me know what messaging I need to create and the content I need to create for those people at each stage of the buying journey.
Back yourself - this is hard, I’ve suffered from imposter syndrome and felt like I wasn’t good enough and didn’t know enough to do the job I’ve created for myself but I’ve also been very lucky to have lots of people cheering me on and I know that I offer a great service that offers great value to my clients so I’ve got much better at putting myself out there and putting out offers.
Nothing beats great content - there is no point in being consistent if you are consistently churning out crap content or the crud that AI boys churn out! It’s much better to put out a good price of well-crafted content once a week or once a month than jump on the hamster wheel of social media production!
Be ready to learn new things - I’ve had to learn how to do pretty much every job in my business from scratch. Luckily I am pretty tech savvy but I created my website, and SSL certificate, connected it to my domain, checked it worked on mobile devices, set up payments via Stripe, connected mail chimp so I could capture subscribers, set up a diary booking system, created templates and documents etc. Not only that but I am always looking at ways to become a better writer and a lot of that comes from reading, whether it's fiction, non-fiction, blogs or newsletters and emails it all helps and is a great way to get inspired. Now you might be reading this thinking “Oh hell, there is no way I can do all that” Let me just reassure you that you don’t have to. I started my business from nothing, with little cash in the bank so doing all the work was born out of necessity and if you can I would recommend outsourcing what you can either to a VA or web designer. I used a solicitor to create my terms of business and client contracts because I knew it had to be done by a professional!
Invest in myself - I have invested in training, memberships and masterminds which has given me a huge amount of support in business and life. I would say to anyone wanting to start a blog for their insurance business to look around and see if there are any courses you can do or 121 strategy sessions you can do to get started. It’s really difficult to do it on your own, keeping up focus and accountability can really help move you forward and being part of a community can help you generate ideas and grow your connections.
It takes time to build a client base - I was lucky that when I became self-employed I had a consultancy client who paid the bills - just! So I had time to build my client base and it does take time. I had some leads through various contacts and despite putting out quotes it was either a no, a not now or I was ghosted! It took a while to accept that not everyone was ready to invest, not everyone could see the benefits and not everyone was quick to make a decision. Some clients came back to me six months after the first chat, some were 12 months. What I did was put out content that answered questions my ideal client might have, content that delivered value or gave them actionable tips, insights into what it’s like to work with me and a glimpse into my personality and what I stand for. The reality is that it has taken me over 18 months to get to the point where I am almost fully booked and I have a regular pipeline of enquiries and collaborations.
Don’t take yourself too seriously - this would be the one piece of advice I would give my younger self when I started my insurance career. Now don’t get me wrong I know the seriousness of what we do, protecting people's homes, lives, businesses and pensions and this is serious business but you don’t need to apply this to yourself! It’s okay to add your personality to your content and how you approach blog writing. It’s fair to say you are not the only person selling insurance but you will be the only person selling it like you do. You’re approach, your ethos and what you stand for set you apart from your competition and if you are an independent insurance broker you have a fantastic opportunity to shape your marketing through content creation, you also have agility on your side - the large corporates have so many hoops to jump through before anything is published but you can put something down and press publish or post pretty much immediately (yes, within the boundaries set out by the FCA!) Don’t be afraid to add your personality to your content.
Interact with your audience - Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and strike up a conversation. Get onto LinkedIn and join a conversation, leave a comment, and ask a question. There is no better way to start driving inbound leads. Don’t be spammy or sell in other people's comments but add value, give an opinion or ask questions will help encourage people to find out more about you. If you have an email list then make sure you are sending out regular communications to your audience, this could be as simple as sharing a blog post, a piece of legislation or risk management advice. One way my clients improve client engagement is by sending out an email that helps people prepare for their insurance renewals, it sets out the type of information the broker will need and why - simple and effective! Putting yourself out there will help people come to you, inbound leads with little effort.
Not everyone is ready for a blog - I know, gutted! But some of the lovely insurance businesses I talk to want to kick start their marketing, they might even have someone in-house who is responsible for marketing but they might not be ready for my help. Sometimes they need to do some work on their website, get their LinkedIn page up and running or make decisions on other areas before I can get started, and that is fine. What it has enabled me to do is to create packages that help my ideal client at every step of the way. I’ve helped people without a website launch a blog, to writing blogs for large national companies who need extra help. It depends, while you might think you know who your ideal customer is, they can come in all shapes and sizes! One of my best sellers is a 1 hour 121 call where we map out your blog strategy, this works especially well for brokers who have a marketing person who needs a bit of help, mentoring and accountability for just £199. Often these people have more than one job, a marketing manager and account manager is not rare but it does mean that people get pulled in more than one direction and the reality is that the client work is always more important and that’s fine.
Reading back this blog it tells the story of my business from a struggling insurance content creator to a successful insurance blogger and I suppose it is. After the pivotal phone call in July 2019 and the realisation that there was a demand for high-quality insurance content. There have been highlights and challenges - a lot of hard work, trial and error, and the emotional investment of blood, sweat, and tears. By sharing my experiences and insights I hope it is helpful for those embarking on a similar journey, navigating the complexities of building a successful insurance blog.