Content Marketing Lessons from Insurance Company Director of Marketing, Ryan Hanley

Ryan Hanley is the Director of Marketing for the Murray Group Insurance Services, Inc, located in Albany, NY – where he blogs on issues concerning NY insurance consumers.

He also publishes a content marketing blog where he gives insights on the marketing methods he implements at the Murray Group, as well as how-to tips and podcasts on winning the battle for attention online.

He is a seasoned speaker and author of Content Warfare Newsletter.

You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

What I learned from Ryan is that struggling businesses never slow down to create content. In an Economy where marketing budgets are cut into half, small businesses should invest more seriously into content marketing. This doesn’t mean they have to throw money out the window. Content writing & publishing is not a blind game to play. It has to be strategic…

Ryan got this right, and recognized that only relevant content will make the sale in today’s Internet world and social media interactions. Advertising and old marketing tactics are history.

It was this article (and this one here) that got me interested in Ryan and his blogging approach with the insurance company. I mean this guy can take a boring topic and create engaging content, similar to what the guys @ CopyBlogger do.

I knew he was on to something unique and I wanted to share his methods, so I went ahead and contacted him for an email interview.

I thought he’d love answering some tough marketing questions. He accepted my invitation for a mini interview on his blogging for sales activity with the firm. I bet you’ll learn a thing or two today, and spread the love about the article if you care.

Inside you’ll learn about:

  • The 100 daily posts challenge that brought 20% in extra sales and 10x times      more traffic
  • Mistakes to avoid when following a similar strategy
  • What is the key to blogging & content marketing (from Ryan’s perspective)

How did you get the idea for creating 100 daily posts in a row, and to publish them on the insurance company’s blog where you were working?

Have you ever seen the movie Pulp Fiction?

Do you know the scene where Uma Thurman’s character overdoses on heroin and John Travolta’s character has to give her an adrenaline shot to the heart?

I needed to give the blog an adrenaline shot to the heart. I couldn’t think of a better way to boost traffic immediately than to use YouTube and Google+ (to answer client questions) and push so much fresh content out there in such a short period of time that Google Search had to notice.

My plan was simple: 100 Insurance Questions Answered in 100 Days in two minutes or less on a YouTube video.

I tweeted, posted on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and I also emailed a lot of clients as well, one simple question:  “If you could only have one insurance question answered what would it be?”

I got about 135 responses… I paired down the list and took the questions I thought would work the best and used them exactly as they were asked.  I added a couple more that I thought needed to be in the list and Boom… I had my questions.

What results did this approach bring to the company in terms of traffic and revenue?

We saw an immediate spike in traffic – about 10x what we had been getting… Now we’re getting a lot since I started the campaign but the affect was immediate. Additionally we saw approximately a 20% increase in revenue during that same time period versus the prior year.

See snapshots with traffic details here.

What would you do differently if you had to start again and why?

I would have optimized keywords better and focused on just a few niche areas. We’re in the insurance business so there are hundreds of products to discuss. I didn’t define certain products to attack, I went after them all and I think that diluted the message a little.

What mistakes should others avoid with this strategy?

Make sure you have specific niche and keywords in mind and stay focused on those topics.  If you spread your content categories too thin you’ll dilute the message… Oh… and always add a call-to-action at the end of the video.

What other content strategies did you prepare for the company’ blog this and next year? Why?

This year we’re going to add some lead magnets, such as eBooks and eCourses to the mix to try and capture more interested consumers that may not be ready to buy immediately.  This way we can slowly market to them over time and get the sale when the consumer is ready.

What is the game plan with your marketing blog?

I want to be a trusted resource first and foremost. I want readers to get a ton of value out of our blog completely free with no obligations. Once we have readers trust we’ll be much more likely to convert those readers into buyers at a much higher conversion ratio.

Is there anything else you d like to say that you haven’t shared elsewhere about content marketing or blogging that readers can implement right away and see results?

The main lesson that I learned in 2012 that I will implementing in 2013 is FOCUS. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Pick your specialties and attack. Once you have those mastered and you’re ranking well, you spend less time on maintaining and can begin attacking new areas.

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