How to get published in a professional journal

Most magazines have editorial calendars with monthly publication themes. A great way to get your message across to your public is to advertise in a trade journal. Before you pay to advertise, however, how would you like to receive several pages of free advertising? If you write a professional article for one of your favorite journals, you can.

If you’ve never written an article for publication, this may seem difficult. Here’s a secret: It’s easier than you think. Most professionals have one or two areas where they consider themselves “experts.” Why not share your expertise with an audience that can benefit and perhaps refer business to you based on your expertise?

Because of my background in public sector risk management, I often write for Public Risk, the magazine of the Public Risk Managers Association. It dovetails perfectly with my experience and allows me to keep my name in the public sector spotlight since public sector risk managers subscribe to this magazine. Best of all, it’s free advertising. Articles build my credibility just as a published article can build yours.

You don’t have to be a great writer to write an article. If you have a good idea, a ghostwriter can work with you and develop an article geared to your favorite publication, as well as write the query letter for you. All you have to do is devote an hour or two of time and a good ghostwriter can make you a expert in your field.

Becoming successful means building your brand by keeping your name and your knowledge in the spotlight. A ghostwriter can help. I’d be happy to talk to you regarding your article idea.

P.S. No one needs to know that you didn’t write every word. What happens in Arizona stays in Arizona

Should We Use Stamps or Metered Mail in Marketing Mail?

ElvisOne Christmas I was in a long line in the post office in Garden Grove, California. An elderly woman was in line in front of me and when she finally got to the counter, she ordered a book of stamps. After her request, 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.

While bulk mail may save a few pennies, I always use a real stamp. In fact, I often get creative and use stamps with themes or beautiful pictures just to draw the letter opener’s eye to piece.

If we can help you write copy that will produce sales, contact us at 602.870.3230.

We help agents, carriers and insurance thought leaders throughout the US with their blogging, marketing and ghostwriting efforts. Why not call for a free consultation? With over a quarter century in the insurance industry, we understand your business.

Expressing Professional Gratitude

Today, though, I urge you to take a moment to contact a person in your career for whom you are grateful, either past or present, and say, “Thank you.”

This year my women’s group, which has been meeting once a month for our third year, is reading and discussing a book by Amanda Gore, The Gospel of Joy. I heard Ms. Gore speak at a teleconference last year and her highly personal presentation really hit my core beliefs.

Her book is perfect for a study group since there are twelve chapters in the book, one for each month. Each chapter explores a different spiritual principle, for example, listening, laughter, hope and gratitude. Gratitude has always been my struggle. I sometimes say, “My glass isn’t only half empty; it has a hole in it.” In other words, I have to work to stay grateful.

One of the questions in her gratitude chapter hit home with me. It asked, “Did your parents’ behavior model gratitude?” I can easily say that, “Yes,” their behavior did. Both my parents were independent insurance agents and both people of strong faith. My father, a Lutheran, served in his church as a council member and all-around fix-it guy. My mother, a more reserved Catholic, quietly put her faith into action by volunteering for years at the Westside Food Bank. Their motto in business was “Service before self” and while they were very successful insurance agents, they never let profit interfere with doing the right thing.

I grew up with three older brothers and one of us, usually me or my brother, Ted, was always wrecking a car. (I was quite sure my father owned an interest in the local body shop he insured.) After our accidents, my father would assess the damage then quietly say, “Everything happens for the best.” Frankly, at the time I thought he was slightly mental.

“Dad,” I finally asked when my brother ran his Mustang into a ditch at the end of our street, “How can a car accident ‘be for the best’?”

“Perhaps this minor accident where no one was hurt saved him from a major collision. After all, cars we can fix. You and the boys are irreplaceable.” Dad could always put things into perspective for me. I am so grateful for the wonderful lessons my parents taught me.

This story leads me to my topic – professional gratitude. There are so many insurance gurus who have mentored me over the years, from one of my first bosses at Commercial Union – who predicted, “Ms. Germond, in five years you will be a claim manager,” and I was – to the many risk managers who helped me when I was a fledgling risk manager, never an easy job.

Over the years I have trained and mentored my share of risk and claims professionals. Rarely do they thank me. I’m not dismayed by this; I rarely think of it because at some level, I am sure they are grateful but unaccustomed to expressing gratitude verbally. Today, though, I urge you to take a moment to contact a person in your career for whom you are grateful, either past or present, and say, “Thank you.” I guarantee you: This will mean a great deal to him or her. 

As many of you know, for years I have alternated between running Insurance Writer full time and working more directly in the insurance industry. I just couldn’t stay away from a challenge. But I also know there is more to life than a paycheck. This year, I’m putting it all on the line to branch out, utilizing my God-given gifts to provide specialized services to the insurance industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ms. Gore, here is a link to her YouTube channel. If I can help you, these are some of my areas of specialty:

  • Copywriting, including White Papers, advertising copy, articles, ghostwriting and blog entries
  • Consulting with small-to-medium sized businesses to reduce losses and improve workers’ compensation programs
  • Curriculum development and on-site training, including:
    • Customer service training
    • Workers’ compensation claims management training
    • CGL coverage training
    • Business auto training
    • On-site Associate in Claims training
    • Miscellaneous management training

Please feel free to contact me at (602) 870.3230.

 

Writing an Executive Summary in an Insurance Publication

A well-written executive summary also allows your reader to decide: “Is this worth reading further?”

Whether you’re writing a proposal or preparing a white paper, an executive summary is an integral part of any lengthy or complex report. An executive summary allows the reader to quickly understand the scope of the report, your major finding and your conclusions. It is a succinct wrap-up of the report or proposal’s contents. Because time is such a precious commodity, people who should read an entire report may only skim it. The executive summary allows the readers to know, in one or two paragraphs, what to expect in the report. A well-written executive summary also allows your reader to decide: “Is this worth reading further?”

The executive summary should be very near the beginning of your document and set out by a heading and unique formatting. If you know your presentation will be read by many employees, for example if you’re responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for broker services, write the executive summary to the highest ranking person who will read your report.

In the executive summary, avoid the nuts and bolts of how to implement a project, but provide an overview of the problems being addressed, what action to take, and what the benefits of taking that action are.

Your executive summary should be a call to action. Use action phrases such as “We recommend” or “The problems you have faced in prior data conversations can be avoided by utilizing our project management experts.”

Broadly speaking, an executive summary should do the following:

1. Tell your readers what your report contains or what it evaluates.
2. Explain any method of analysis you used.
3. Summarize your findings.
4. Succinctly state your recommendations.
5. Briefly state any limitations you encountered that might have impacted the results of your report.

It may be a good idea to write your executive summary after you have written your report. When you have completed your report or proposal, use a voice recorder and summarize each section of your report. For example, in a white paper, you may have headings such as “problems of integrating technology,” “what to look for in a claims management system,” and “what to expect during data conversion.” Briefly describe the findings of each major section in your white paper, with a strong emphasis in your executive summary of the conclusions that your company, of course, is best positioned to solve. Keep your summary brief — an executive summary should probably be fewer than 1,000 words.

If you’re pitching your product or service to a large organization in your document, the executive summary may be the only part of the presentation that the decision makers read. From there, your report may be passed to lower-level managers to determine whether your proposal has merit. You may only get one shot at convincing a senior executive that your company or product is worth further exploration. A strong executive summary can mean the difference between winning that new account or losing it to your competitor. The extra efforts you apply to develop this summary can reap huge rewards.

We provide editorial services to some of the nation’s finest carriers, agents and risk management consultants. If we can help you, please contact us at 602.870.3230 to discuss your writing and editing needs.

Stop Struggling with Insurance Writing Tasks

Whether you want to develop a White Paper to hand out at your next sales event or write an article for a national trade journal, Insurance Writer can help.

Are you tired of struggling with writing tasks that are better outsourced?

Let’s face it, if you are a rainmaker agent or a consultant struggling to find enough hours in the day, writing may not be your best use of time. I work with insurance professionals all over the nation to hone and perfect their written communications. Whether you want to develop a White Paper to distribute at your next sales event or write an article for a national trade journal, Insurance Writer can help.

Writing that piece of sales collateral or a report may take you hours. We can assist and quickly turn your bullet points or a short interview into a collateral piece of advertising you will use for years.

Call us today at 602.870.3230 for a free consultation.

Why Wait to Publish or Advertise?

Why wait until the economy is in full swing to publish or advertise?

This has been a busy year for me. While I don’t think the recession is over yet as the financial pundits trumpet, most of the human resources directors I speak with indicate they are hiring more.  Since the first of 2011, I received more agent and carrier phone calls and emails asking about advertising collateral and training.

As the recession lifts, well-crafted and carefully placed publications keep your organization in the public eye now and help you stay ahead of the competition. I would love to help.

Here are just a few of the projects I’ve either completed or have in process right now.

  1. Website rewrite for a Arizona-based tax accounting firm.
  2. White paper “ghostwriting” for an agent and a consultant. In addition to ghosting, I recommend placement targets for your articles to expand your reach.
  3. Worked for the CPCU Institutes on two projects. I am always proud of my affiliation with them whether I am teaching the Associate in Claims classes  or writing.
  4. Completed a webinar for Insurance Journal Academy on the management of social media in the workforce.
  5. Wrote a lengthy article for IRMI on the basics of workers’ compensation claims management.
  6. Continued to write newsletter copy for one of my favorite clients. Call me for more details if your insurance agency needs an inexpensive but high quality newsletter to keep your name in your clients’ and potential clients’ minds. Or, contact Easy Insurance Newsletters directly and tell them I sent you.

Why wait until the economy is in full swing to publish or advertise? If I can help, please contact me at 602.870.3230. It costs nothing to call.

Happy New Year

Community service should be as much as part of life as is getting up and going to work.

2010 has been an interesting year. I’ve been blessed with a variety of projects including one that I think most agents will find very interesting. I know from talking to agents throughout the country how hard they struggle to stay in contact with their clients. Now, there is a solution, and I am happy to be a part of it. It is called Easy Insurance Newsletters and it allows agents to stay in touch with their clients in just a few minutes per month without “spamming” them. Visit the Easy Insurance Newsletter website or more information, or call me or email me for more details. I was pleased to be selected as the principal copywriter and would love feedback from agents who join up about articles they need for future issues.

Additionally this year, I developed a customer service training for CSRs in agencies, which has been well received. Contact me for more details if you are interested. I grew up in this industry and understand how difficult it is to provide the level of service we need to provide as we continue to lose business to the geckos of the world. I believe that the only way to compete in this era of instant communication is to outcommunicate. That means we treat our customers so well with exemplary customer service that they will not consider going elsewhere. However, we also have to have the markets available to price shop and move clients where needed. How often are we reviewing our clients business and trying to 1) place them more competitively with comparable or better coverage and 2) mining their needs to ensure they have all the coverage they need, whether they know they need the coverage or not?

In 2011, I will emphasize increased training offerings. While I know that many agencies and carriers now utilize mainly online training (and I am an Insurance Journal Academy trainer), I believe there is nothing like a trainer completing an on-site needs assessment and delivering training tailored to the problems your organization faces.

Finally, this year I continue to be active in my community. At least one night a month, I go into our County jail system and spend time with women who are struggling with many challenging life issues, to put it mildly. Several days a month I focus on providing public relations support to a non-profit and work individually with several women facing challenges. This is what really keeps me in touch with how much I have to be grateful for. My parents, two fine agents, and my brother, also an agent, set the example for me that community service should be as much as part of life as is getting up and going to work. There are always needs to fill in a world that is increasingly disenfranchised from friends, relatives and the larger community.

2010 has been a great year. I know that 2011 will be that much better. I hope to get to know you in the near future.