Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How To Get Free Press

As an insurance agent, you probably regularly have reps from various news stations and newspapers in your city stopping by the office wanting to sell you an ad spot. And by now, you've probably discovered that it's not the most budget friendly marketing you could purchase.

Many agents are completely shocked when they learn how expensive traditional advertising is. Hundreds to thousands of dollars for mere seconds of commercial time, often not even at very optimal times of day. A tiny ad in the corner of a newspaper that no one you know reads. It just doesn't make sense.

This kind of advertising is good for raising awareness if you have the budget to run it all the time. It's not something that you can do once and expect a huge return from. It's meant to be a long term, steady campaign.

But slow, steady, and expensive isn't always the best plan, especially for a growing agency.

So what is a money-strapped insurance agency supposed to do?

You've got to play by different rules. How can you be on TV or in the paper without paying high advertising prices?

Become an insurance expert.

Reporters are always working on stories and often need an expert opinion or statement on camera. By building these connections and relationships, you can increase the odds that they'll call you the next time they need information.

One long time Allstate agent was the queen of getting free press! She was comfortable on camera, easy to reach, and didn't mind helping someone at the last minute.

She had relationships with several local reporters. Did they have a story about liability limits increasing in the state of Texas? They called her. Wildfires in the area putting homes at risk? She would talk about how insurance was involved.

It cost nothing but a few minutes of her time, and her name was frequently shown to local residents through the evening news.

How can you put this strategy to work for you?

Develop a relationship with local reporters and news stations. Try to connect with as many as possible through various social media like Facebook and Linked In.

Help them whenever you can. Help them even when you having nothing to gain, it just makes you look better!

Occasionally, send them story ideas. You don't want to push too hard but if your agency is making a big charity donation or you've heard a great interesting story that they might want to know about insurance, this is the time to share it.

Getting press isn't a guarantee and not something that you want to count on every month, but it is a great long-term strategy for promoting your agency, your expertise, and your name within the community.

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