By now you should realize that an important part of marketing ispositioning yourself so that people get to know, like and trustyou—often way before they ever meet you or need your products andservices.

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Among the best ways to get your message out there is through ablog. Writing a blog post gives you the content you can use forsocial media publishing and the opportunity to demonstrate yourinsurance expertise. Another value from blogging is your ability toshow who you are. Remember, people don't do business withbusinesses; they want to do business with people. Therefore, themore you can expose the human side of your agency through LinkedIn,Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogging the more likely you willbe able to connect with prospects.

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Write to be read

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If you want to get your blog posts read, there are two criticalelements you must have. First, use a conversational voice. By thatI mean avoid technical jargon; don't write as if you're composing aterm paper or a doctoral thesis. Write as if you're talking to justone person. Think about your typical clients, pick some that youcan clearly define and pretend you're writing to them. What wouldthey be interested in? What could you write about that would getthem to read it?

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Make your blog posts personal. Stories are the most powerfultools you can have in your writing. For those of you who have readmy columns over the years, you know a lot about me, and you knowabout my son, now 16 and still a professional actor. I speak of hima lot and others in my family or from my life's experiences. Why dostories work? Because we can more easily relate to someone's story.Maybe we have similar stories or characters in our lives, makingthe point of the story (which there always should be) moreidentifiable.

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Also, stories go a long way to helping strangers get to know,like and trust you over time. Writing your blog posts to be read isall about making your message understandable, approachable andrelatable. But we're only half way to successfully blogging.

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Write to be found

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Besides writing your blog posts to be read, you have to write soyour blog posts can be found. That's where search engineoptimization (SEO) comes into play, along with keywords and metatags.

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When you complete a search in Google, the results are formattedin such a way that you have the "SEO title," the link to thearticle or page and the "meta description" which is limitedgenerally to 156 characters. Although this is what you're presentedwith, the Google algorithm actually searches other places toevaluate and determine the value of the piece of information.

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The subject matter and the way you write your copy can determinehow easily your post will be found online and where it will appearin the search results. As an example, the focus keywords I used forthis article are "writing," "blog," and "read." When this articleis published online, repetition of these words will validate forGoogle that the article is really about this topic.

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My website—RGGCommunications.com—is a WordPress site and I use aplugin called SEO by Yoast. It's a great tool in that itguides me to make changes in the copy to position each post for thebest SEO results. In the Admin Tool I can make small changes, clickon "refresh" and check the updated analysis to see how I'm doing interms of if and how often my keywords are in the:

  • Article heading
  • Page title
  • Page URL
  • Content
  • Meta description.

There are many SEO tools and plug-ins from which to choose. Iwould recommend finding one that's easy for you to use andimplement it. I generally write my column first, not thinking muchabout SEO, and go back as part of my editing process to make sureI've selected the right keywords and used them throughout the copy,headlines, and so on. 

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As you look back at some of your blog posts, check them againstthe SEO filter that Google and other search engines use and seewhat small word changes you could have made that would haveenhanced their search rankings.

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Then think about the post from your readers' perspective. Whowere you writing this post for and did they get it? Did they relateto the stories? Did they understand your message and, most of all,did they get to know, like and trust you just a bit more? If theanswers to those questions are yes, then keep doing what you'redoing. If they're no, then consider making some adjustments.Remember, writing your blog posts to be found can be the mostpowerful content you will produce and effective at getting yourmessages across.

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Rick Gilman, APR, CMP, is executive director of the PersonalLines Growth Alliance, a virtual association dedicated to improvingthe competitiveness of the independent agency distribution channelwithin the personal lines market. He also is presidentof RGG Communications, a communications and publicrelations consulting business specializing in mobile and emarketingsolutions. Contact him at [email protected].

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