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5 Ways Agents Can Leverage PR in 2024

Move beyond just sending out an occasional announcement and crossing your fingers—use these strategies to boost your reputation.
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5 ways agents can leverage pr in 2024

For insurance agents, whose business depends on building credibility as a trusted advisor, public relations (PR) can be a powerful way to get the word out about your business and set yourself apart from the competition.

For many local insurance agencies, PR might consist of sending an occasional event or personnel announcement and hoping for the best. However, agents who are most successful with PR understand that there are some other important strategies to help boost awareness. 

Here are five ways that agents can better leverage PR to create awareness and strengthen reputation:

1) Find the right news hook. Should agents spend time creating newsworthy events to generate publicity? Yes—but only if there's something relevant to promote.

Ask yourself why the public will care about your event and want to attend. The two biggest factors to successfully generating media coverage are a compelling human-interest story and strong visual appeal.

Don't create the same old events as everyone else. For example, take an office grand opening. Instead of hosting a regular open house, consider hosting an educational workshop on financial literacy for local school children. Or, during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, you could teach seniors at a local nursing home how to stay safe online.

2) Craft search engine optimization (SEO)-driven news releases. Local news desks are flooded with boring releases that are relegated to email trash. Avoid that fate with releases that capture attention and get to the point quickly.

Keep releases to one or two pages and evaluate copy for SEO to drive targeted organic traffic and leads to your website. The tiniest adjustments in how you describe your services can greatly impact how many people view your release. Using a free tool like Wordstream to find the right keywords for your release will help get more eyes on your content.

3) Build relationships with local media. Agents who nurture relationships with local reporters and reach out to them with story ideas will have a competitive edge. There are media databases available for a monthly fee to help you create a targeted media list of reporters to reach out to, but the most cost-effective method for agents willing to invest some time is to research and build their own list.

Most newspapers, TV stations and radio stations include a staff directory with email addresses and a newsroom phone number. Many business publications also have a reporter who covers the insurance industry.

Compile a list of the top 15-20 local reporters and email your release with a personalized note. Take it one step further by watching the news and reading bios on the station website to understand what kind of stories they cover. Emailing an investigative reporter doesn't make sense if your story is related to financial literacy. When you have a timely event coming up, email TV station assignment desks two to three days prior with the “who, what, where and when" details for consideration.

This often results in a camera crew showing up for your event, so be prepared for someone in your office to speak on air with a reporter. 

4) Make authenticity a priority. Brands that lead with an authentic message build stronger credibility and help your insurance agency stand out in a crowded field of competitors.

One way that agents can do this is by aligning with charitable, social or environmental causes that match your office's unique personality. If your hobby is golf and you've been playing for years, your sponsorships and involvement in a local golf tournament will make more sense than if you do it to simply make connections.

If you are more interested in education or consider yourself a local foodie, support events that align with those areas—your PR efforts behind them will be much more genuine.

5) Use the latest PR tech tools. Agents who want to generate publicity for their office but lack time will be happy to learn that tech tools are making the job much easier. Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered ChatGPT has a free option that generates copy for just about anything. It's a helpful idea thought starter for releases, flyers and speeches.

However, avoid using AI-generated copy in its original form as it lacks creativity and requires sourcing so you don't have issues with plagiarism. Tools like Grammarly can ensure top-notch PR writing for those who struggle with spelling and grammar.

Agents who invest the time to create authentic and newsworthy events, nurture media relationships, and write compelling news releases will see a pay-off of increased media coverage and local awareness.

Christel Henke is vice president of earned media at STIR Advertising & Integrated Messaging, an independent full-service marketing communications agency in Milwaukee.

Friday, March 22, 2024
Sales & Marketing