With trust and credibility being so important to the insurance business, PR has proved to be a powerful tool - but for most brokers, getting local media coverage can seem like a challenge.
So how do you develop an effective plan to get press attention?
- Keep it simple
Agree on your objectives, a budget allowance and the audience you want to target. Then consider how you want to position the business to this market - for example you may want to be viewed as a friendly local expert that actively supports the community. Then research which media to use to get the widest coverage.
- Set up Google Alerts for key words
Also include mentions of your business or competitors - this will help you to react quickly to relevant news stories as they arise.
- Be creative
Research how you could do something fun and newsworthy for April Fool's day, Children in Need, Red Nose day for example. Or you may wish to announce the launch of a networking referral group or a joint venture with other local businesses.
- Make the journalist's job as easy as possible
Phone calls, emails, tweets, follow-up phone calls - a journalist can only digest a proportion of the messages they receive and will ignore anything incomprehensible, so learn how to write a succinct press release. Also consider setting up a coffee meeting with your local contact. Start the conversation by asking, "how can I help to make your job easier?"
- Get behind a newsworthy local charity
Both parties gain as the charity benefits from your support and you benefit from the coverage they already receive.
- Pitch a local angle on a national story
Journalists love numbers because numbers validate their story pitch to editors and pique the curiosity of their readers. Look out for interesting national surveys and then conduct research with your own customers to find a local angle.
- Sponsor your local team
Consider the benefits of branding the shirts of a local sports team. Doing this shouldn't be expensive, plus it positions you as part of the local community and gets you coverage in the paper whenever the team is featured.
- Act as an expert on insurance related stories
Become a specialist resource to the local paper or radio station. Send them tips and insider news they might not otherwise have access to. Offer to lend your expertise to a column or standalone article.
- Create a press kit
Your press kit should be a digital compilation of background documents such as executive biographies, headshots, hi-res logos and 'about us' information that can be made ready to share when a press coverage opportunity arises. Store it in an online folder, such as DropBox, for easy access by the media.