One holiday season I was in a long line at a California post office. An elderly woman was in line in front of me. When she finally got to the counter, she ordered a book of stamps. After asking for the book, she qualified her statement by saying with a great deal of irritation, “And none of those darn Elvis stamps, either!” Everyone within earshot tried not to laugh out loud.
Do you use “weasel words”? I don’t mean a furry critter that goes through your garbage in the late hours of the night. Weasel words are terms and phrases that are deliberately fuzzy. Rather than providing clarity, weasel words obscure your message.
Weasel words get their name from the crafty weasel, which sucks eggs without breaking the shell. Similarly, weasel words suck the meaning out of your message. If you communicate with phrases like “highest quality,” “prompt service,” or “highly qualified,” you may be weaseling, even if inadvertently.
More and more insurance industry organizations turn to White Papers to spread their message.
What is a white paper? A white paper is usually a “thought leadership” paper of about five-to-12 pages that highlights one or more of the benefits of your business. Insurance organizations use white papers to educate the public by delineating a problem or a challenge then posing a solution, usually highlighting your services.
Here are some of the key elements of a white paper:
- Cover page
- Executive summary
- Description of the problem or issue the paper addresses
- A solution to the problem
- An action step (how readers can take action utilizing your product to solve their dilemma)
- Charts and graphs, if needed
- Footnotes, if needed
- A conclusion
- Information about your company
Once written, organizations distribute their papers either electronically to sites your potential clients visit, to sites that warehouse business data, or to their customer list. They are also great to hand out at a trade show booth or a local networking event.
One of the best uses of a White Paper is to announce its publication with a press release distributed through Business Wire or some other news service agency. A White Paper may simply serve as a reminder to clients who haven’t used your services in a long while or to those who’ve considered you in the past. It’s one way of saying, “We’re still eager to work with you.”
White papers generate short-term “buzz” and create a long-lasting testimonial that builds your brand.
Insurance white papers abound. Some insurance-related white papers we’ve written include “Computer Modeling Tames Super-Cat Hurricane Risk,” “Growing Wildland Urban Interface Increases Wildfire Risk,” and “Supply Chain Risk: Hidden Exposures for Your Company.
To non-insurance readers, these topics sound pretty dull. Okay, to insurance geeks, they still sound kind of dull. That’s why, if you’re considering a white paper to promote your business or technology, finding a writer with knowledge of the insurance industry and enthusiasm for the project is imperative. I can help.
Feel free to contact me at via my website at www.insurancewriter.com for more information or call me (602) 870-3230.
Every insurance professional should develop several professional biographies. Why a bio? Because despite our increasing reliance on electronic communications, people still want to know a little about you before they contact you. Your bio is a marketing tool that helps to build your brand. Your brand is your name and the name of your company. When people consider insurance, you want your name to be the one that comes into their minds. This can only come through repeated branding of your name, or the name of your agency, with insurance.
Here are the top reasons to write your professional bio.
There are thousands of insurance agents and other insurance professionals for people to choose from, plus growing competition from direct writers. Therefore, it is imperative that you set yourself apart from the crowd. A professional bio quickly showcases your experience and sets you apart from the crowd.
A bio is the quickest way to say, “Insurance is not just a job; insurance is my career and I am proud to be an agent.”
A bio will introduce you to new clients and potential strategic partners. Your bio can open doors to many new opportunities.
You can use your bio to obtain speaking engagements and media appearances. Perhaps you might author an article for a local newspaper on some aspect of insurance. Maybe you could be a guest on a local radio talk show. Perhaps you may give a talk at a local service organization. The bio opens the door to all this and more to help you build your brand.
Your bio can provide a dash of personal information that helps people relate to you in some way. This builds bridges and encourages people to contact you.
Have at least two bios on hand. One should be short, so pick the key points in your personal life and your career that provide the best flavor of who you are. A longer one can take a deeper dive into your background and you can use it for speaking engagements and in responses to requests for proposals. Once you write your bio, you can use it again and again, or revise it as your career deepens and your expertise grows.
If you or your team need help creating a bio that works for you, feel free to contact us at Insurance Writer.
Every artist is entitled to make a fair profit on his or her work. You may consider that image you grabbed off the web “just a picture.” In fact, the artist may have worked hours on that image or graphic. Not only is it cheaper in the long run in you avoid litigation, it’s the ethical thing to do.
I visited a local social media networking group in Phoenix the other night. The [mis]information provided by the “expert” regarding the use of images in social media posts was scary. The group coordinator assured these fledgling bloggers and posters that as long as they don’t have a call to action in their post, they can use any image they find on the internet. After all, they were “educating” the public. Wrong!
According to Ruth Carter, owner of Carter Law Firm in Phoenix and the author of The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to Get Sued, Fired, Arrested or Killed, “A lot of people think you can use any image you find online as long as you provide an attribution and a link back to the original, but that’s not true,” Carter said. “What you might be doing is committing copyright infringement and making it easy for the artist to discover that you stole his or her work.
“When a person takes a photo or creates a graphic, they own the copyright in it. This means they have the exclusive right to control where others can copy and distribute that image. If you use their work without their permission, you could be committing copyright infringement. If you get caught, if you’re lucky you might get a cease-and-desist letter or a DMCA takedown notice. However,” Carter continued, “they could send you a bill for using their work or they could sue you. In the worst-case scenario, you could be sued for up to $150,000 per image plus the artist’s attorneys’ fees. And it doesn’t matter than you didn’t know that you were committing copyright infringement when you did it.
“If you need images for your blog or website, use images that come with a Creative Commons license, preferably one that allows you to modify and commercialize the image,” Carter recommends.
To prevent needing a $300-plus an hour lawyer to defend yourself against a copyright infringement allegation, use images with creative commons attribution or purchase images from legitimate vendors.
Every artist is entitled to make a fair profit on his or her work. You may consider an image “just a picture.” In fact, the artist may have worked hours on that image or graphic. Not only is it cheaper in the long run if you avoid litigation, it’s the ethical thing to do.
Did you know that about 20 percent of today’s websites and blogs are developed on WordPress?
I’m taking more WordPress training today so I can continue to help you deliver stellar social media results. Small changes to the way you handle your social media tasks can really help improve search engine results for your business.
We will cover some tips for WordPress users in the near future.