Polish your press-release writing skills

April 23, 2014 by

So you think you have something interesting to say? The key is to get someone to listen.

Press releases are one way for you to get attention and exposure from a local newspaper, website and radio or television station. So here are some tips on how to write a solid press release, and how to get it published.

A press release is a pretty simple document. A basic, solid release contains the following items:

  • Date
  • Contact information
  • Headline
  • News
  • Company description

When you start writing the body copy, put the most important information first in the release. The general rule of thumb is that people don’t usually read to the end of the article, so you want to get the most important information as high in the article as possible.

And don’t feel like you have to write a novel. Anytime that writing can be quick and to the point, you increase the chances of someone reading. For more detailed tips on writing a press release, download our sample here.

How to get it published

There are a couple of ways to increase your chances of getting your press released published.

Tie it to a philanthropic event: When I asked a group of fellow marketing and journalism friends whether the press release was still a viable tool, my friend and colleague, Sara Wilson responded with a resounding yes.

“We get about every one of our releases printed,” said Wilson, Marketing Director for the United Way of Story County. “Tell them to tie it into charity.”

I also heard from colleagues in manufacturing, health care and sales who agreed that releases work, especially in smaller communities. The key is to make your topic interesting to a wide group of people. Don’t just talk about yourself.

Include a photo: Newspaper readers love to see photos. Snap a picture of your donation and include it with the release. Make sure to write a caption to accompany the photo.

Be sure you’re sending it the right place: Most news organizations have information on their website to direct people with news releases.

Follow up: If it’s been more than two weeks and you haven’t seen your release published, follow up and ensure they received it, and ask if they have any questions.

Press releases are an affordable way to brand yourself to your local community. They take little time, and can provide you decent exposure. The thing to remember is: Every little bit helps you make a name for yourself.

Rebecca Prescott

Rebecca Prescott joined Brokers International in March 2013 as a Marketing Project Manager. Before joining Brokers, she worked extensively on branding and product marketing. She also has a strong writing and graphic design background. Rebecca loves branding, grammar, swatchbooks, live music and her family and friends.

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Choosing a segment

April 18, 2014 by

Choosing the correct segment—target audience—for a marketing message can dictate its success.

Segmenting allows you to use the information you know about someone—such as gender, age, income or interests—to create a persona/client profile.

According to Eloqua,1 a leading provider of marketing automation and revenue management software, “Personas are fictional characters created to represent your ideal buyer.” Click here for a sample client profile.

When creating a persona, recognize that there are different types of clients. Look at your client list and prioritize what type of client is most important to your business. For example, you may work with clients in different life stages such as pre-retirement or retirement. Which one of these segments is the most beneficial to your business? Create that persona first.

Click here to download a client profile template to help you complete your persona.

Here is an example of a segment you might look for in your database to market life insurance.

  • Workshop attendees: Keep track of workshop attendees in your database. And, record what workshop they attended. Creating a follow up campaign will help keep you top-of-mind after the workshop—and hopefully, when they are ready to buy.

When you are ready to create your next marketing communication, choose your segment or persona first so your message resonates. Remember, you can use multiple segments to narrow your marketing message such as: women who attended a workshop on estate planning.

The next step in creating a relevant message is to decide on your desired outcome. The next bog will go into detail about how to create a call to action.

1Pacheco, Claire. “EloquaU Power Hour: Creating Buyer Personas.” Topliners. Eloqua, 7 Feb 2014. Web. 28 Feb 2014. <>.

Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012 as a Marketing Project Manager. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to write helpful blog tips and marketing ideas to grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs. 11854-1/30/13

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Life insurance selling tips

March 24, 2014 by

Although most Americans view life insurance as a necessity, many are underinsured or have no life insurance at all.

Here are some facts from LIMRA’s life insurance consumer studies:1

  • Almost 9 in 10 Americans view life insurance as a necessity.
  • Only 6 of 10 Americans surveyed said they actually own some sort of life insurance.
  • Half of American households said they needed more life insurance.

Why aren’t people buying the life insurance they feel they need?

Competing financial priorities and overestimating the cost are two factors. But according to LIMRA the primary reason people do not buy life insurance is simple—indecision.1 People don’t know how much life insurance they need or what kind to buy—so they procrastinate.

Fortunately, LIMRA has identified five tips to help move your client or prospect from procrastinator to buyer.1

  1. Conduct a needs analysis. “Consumers who get one are considerably ‘more likely to buy’ than consumers who don’t.”
  2. Make a recommendation. “…producers who recommend an amount of insurance to buy ultimately sell more policies, at a 60 percent higher coverage level.”
  3. Meet directly with clients and prospects.“More than 7 in 10 life insurance shoppers who met with a producer face-to-face bought a policy.”
  4. Raise the issue. Among households who say that they are likely to buy life insurance in the next year, “…35 percent say they have not yet bought…because no one has approached them about it.”2 And, “One-quarter of life insurance shoppers consider life insurance only after a producer initiated the discussion.”1
  5. Be persistent with follow up. “More than one-third of (life insurance) shoppers said the producer should have followed up with them while they were still deciding whether to buy.”

To learn more about selling life insurance and sales strategies offered through Brokers Life, call us today at 866.528.7933 or visit

1 “Insure Your Love.” LIMRA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan 2014. < -2013.pdf>.

2 “Facts About Life 2013.” LIMRA. LIMRA. Web. 24 Jan 2014. <>.

©2014 Brokers Life Marketing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Pat Lanigan

Pat Lanigan, CLU & President, Brokers Life, has been with the company since 2001. He is constantly working to provide easy-to-follow life concepts and offer support and education to insurance and financial professionals that include life insurance in their practice.

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What works for Dean Listle

March 17, 2014 by

Listle-Dean_0138-4x5-(2) (1)Name: Dean Listle

Firm name: partner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI

Licenses: life, health, property, casualty

College: University of Wisconsin, bachelor’s degree in business administration


Dean Listle had built a solid career in sales and consulting when he decided that he’d had enough of working around the clock, and flying around the country.

Having had a long career that involved finance and corporate budgeting, he didn’t think it was too much of a leap to switch gears and move from helping companies with their money to helping people with their finances.

Two years later, Dean is settled comfortably. He’s a people person with a penchant for numbers, so helping people navigate important financial decisions has been a good career choice.

What have you learned since switching professions?
My background was mainly dealing with sports leagues, putting together products and services for them; or representing their companies. Talking to a board of directors is one thing. However, when you sit down and talk to someone who is ready to retire, and has a finite amount of money that means the world to them, you have to look at things differently.

What’s a good way to approach a conversation with a client?
I approach them one way all of the time. I lean back in my chair and fold my hands in front of me and let them know there is no right or wrong answers, because we’re swapping ideas and just talking. Then you can see them go from clenching their hands on the arms of the chair to relaxing.

What’s one thing you’ve learned from a mentor that’s been important to you?
What was brought up to me—and it’s not always an easy thing to abide by because we’re human—is to treat others like you want to be treated. When I am speaking with someone, I try to put myself in their shoes: “What would I think if I were on the other side of the table?” If you abide by that premise, you’ll be successful whether it’s in this industry or any other.

What do you like most about the work you do?
People. I’m definitely a people person. I always have been, and always will be. You can enjoy things with people. You can mourn with people. You can connect with people. It always comes down to people. I’m always amazed at how many people in a sales position need to talk more than the client or prospect. We have a saying in our office, “You have two ears and one mouth. You should always listen more than you talk.”

Travis Redfern

Travis Redfern is a Relationship Manager for Brokers International. He works closely with key producers to help identify products and services that they can use to grow their businesses. Travis has been with Brokers International since 2002. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, golfing, team roping, time with friends and family and escaping to his “man cave” to watch football. ADR-1263

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Make philanthropy a brand priority

March 13, 2014 by

One of the quickest ways to build brand recognition is to give back to—and make an investment in—your community.

But before you open your wallet for a charitable donation, or roll up your sleeves for some community service work, take stock of what it is you have to offer your community.

There’s a phrase called strategic philanthropy, and its definition is self explanatory: Choose your philanthropic ventures based on your business goals.

Doug Conent, the former president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, likens philanthropy to a method of conducting research and development for your business.

“I encourage companies to view philanthropic investments as incubators for promising ideas and a mechanism for understanding both community and corporate needs,”1 he wrote in an article for McKinsey & Company.

For financial professionals, it might be a great way to generate leads or help build credibility in your community. As a volunteer, you become a resource and partner in the community.

Here are some ways to practice strategic philanthropy:

  • If you’re a professional whose strategy is to educate customers, offer to provide free financial counseling to lower-income families or single parents.
  • If you’re looking for mass appeal, consider a larger donation to a group in your community that has a high profile. This increases the amount of promotion you’ll receive.
  • If your goal is to cultivate customers in their early retirement years, offer to give a presentation on the basics of using a 401(k) to a local young professional’s organization through the Chamber of Commerce or Jaycees.
  • Try not to turn away the school carnivals and after-prom committees. The amount they request is usually small, so try and support as many as you can. The parents asking for these donations need financial professionals.

For more ideas, read this article on the value of small business philanthropy.

Take a minute to think about how you can give back in your community. Because it does more than help you feel good on inside. It’s good for business.


Conent, Doug. “Why philanthropy is R&D for business.” McKinsey on Society Voices Expertise Our Practices Economic Development Social Innovation Education Sustainability Global Public Health Tools – See more at:

Rebecca Prescott

Rebecca Prescott joined Brokers International in March 2013 as a Marketing Project Manager. Before joining Brokers, she worked extensively on branding and product marketing. She also has a strong writing and graphic design background. Rebecca loves branding, grammar, swatchbooks, live music and her family and friends.

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It’s not a question of why, but how.

February 24, 2014 by

The best sales people often say that the key to success is building relationships. But have you considered how that translates into the digital world?

Facebook celebrated its 10-year anniversary on February 4. With that kind of milestone in the books, it’s evident that social media is not a passing trend. It’s no longer a question of why you should be using social media for your business, but how.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, 65 percent of adults age 50 to 64 are using social networking sites.1 Translation: More than half of the people that you should be targeting for retirement services are on one of the most affordable and accessible marketing outlets—social media.

So, how do you use social media for your business?

Social media is about strengthening existing relationships and cultivating new ones. If you focus on being a helpful source of information and knowledge, your connections will grow to trust you.

This won’t happen overnight. But if you work at it and post consistently, when your followers need a service you offer, you will be at the top of their mind (a.k.a. building a relationship).

To improve results, use a posting schedule and stick to it. Click here to download our social media schedule example.

If you post consistently, it can help you build strong relationships with new and existing clients. Make it a goal to post at least three times a week.

1“Social Networking Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Internet Project. Pew Research Center, 27 Dec 2013. Web. 17 Feb 2014. <>.

Katie Dunn

Katie Dunn is a graphic designer and social media writer. She joined Brokers International in June 2013. She is responsible for graphic design and the maintenance of Brokers International’s social media platforms. When not at work, Katie enjoys volleyball, golf, running, biking, graphic design projects, and cheering on the Hawkeyes. ADR-1372

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What works for Steve Hudziak

February 17, 2014 by

Steve Hudziak is all about the interview. He knows that the best way to figure out a client’s true needs is to respect the science of the interview.

That doesn’t mean that all Steve does is ask questions (even though he asks a lot of questions). But he also pays close attention to body language, and makes sure his reactions match their actions.

And he knows that the sale doesn’t come from the first appointment. It comes from subsequent meetings, and getting to know the person.

Most importantly, he’s built his success on referrals. He’s built a large clientele, and treats them all like family. And that’s why we’ve chosen him for our next installment in our agent interview series.


Steve-HudziakName: Steve Hudziak

Firm name: Co-owner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI

Years in industry: 24

Specialties: Annuities

Licenses: Life and health; member of the National Ethics Bureau, Better Business Bureau, and Financial Planning Association.

College: University of Wisconsin, Madison, bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance



1. Why do you choose to work with an independent marketing organization, like Brokers International?
At Brokers International, if you need them, they’ll come to bat for you.
From the first time we sat down with Brokers’ leadership, we knew almost right away that we would be moving our business. [Brokers employees] are more like us. We’re down to earth. We want to be fair to them. They want to be fair to us. We all want to do what’s right.

2. What are the methods that you use to get to know your clients?
If you treat clients sitting across from you like they are your family, and you’ll do anything for them, they’re going to come back to you.

I like to see how they sit in their chairs. We have round tables in our office, because when you have people sitting around, you’re not sitting across someone so there’s not a barrier. You feel like you’re in a family setting.

I always ask open-ended questions. If you wait, and ask the right questions, they tell you a lot of things, because you’re really digging into hot button issues.

I like to use the Sandler Pain Funnel strategy, which really helps me to get to know them.

3. Tell us about a recent interaction with a client where you really felt like you helped them.
A client that I’ll call Jane had just turned 60, and her husband had worked for 36 years at the Georgia Pacific Corporation in Green Bay. He was planning to retire, but got cancer and passed away suddenly. She had no one to help her with the paperwork that accompanied his death. They had made such an impact on me that I continue to work with her.

I will do anything for that lady and her late husband. He was good people. He would have her email us lists of people at Georgia Pacific that needed our help.

I recently met with her and her daughter last week to review her strategies. It was kind of a tear jerker just because I got close to him. And I thought about someone working his tail off for all those years and didn’t get to spend it and enjoy it.

Sometimes you get close like that. She’s already sending me more people. That’s just how we are here—we treat clients like family, like parents sitting across from us.



This material is being provided as a service to you. Please note that the information and opinions included are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Broker’s International.

Travis Redfern

Travis Redfern is a Relationship Manager for Brokers International. He works closely with key producers to help identify products and services that they can use to grow their businesses. Travis has been with Brokers International since 2002. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, golfing, team roping, time with friends and family and escaping to his “man cave” to watch football. ADR-1263

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Grow your business by asking yourself a few questions

February 10, 2014 by

January has come and gone, and you should have some questions about how to plan for a successful 2014. Those questions could be:

  • What have I done to plan for 2014?
  • Do I want to take my business to the next level?
  • How do I handle dormant clients?
  • What do I do with clients that are time consuming but are generating no revenue?

This blog focuses on the heart of your business—clients. Clients aren’t customers. Customers are a commodity.  Clients have a relationship with you, one that goes far beyond an inventory of their accounts.

If you have more customers than clients, you really need to take a step back and evaluate why they are not clients.  Dig into your database and identify the people that haven’t done business with you in a while. Ask these questions about them:

  • Are you building a relationship?
  • Are you truly helping them in a holistic manner?
  • What value are you adding to your client’s situation?
  • Are you just one of the people they go to for specific financial products?

Now that you’ve asked (and hopefully answered) these questions, you should start to see some opportunities to reconnect with your clients. In the next installment of this blog, I’ll go over some strategies on how to beef up your referral business.

If you need additional ideas, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help you dive deeper into your database and grow your business. Call me at 877.886.1939 or email me at



Kyle Pieper

Kyle Pieper is the Manager of Business Development for Brokers Financial. He joined the firm in March of 2013. Kyle is responsible for recruiting new advisors and representatives to the firm. He also assists with marketing and partner relationships. He has six years of insurance and investment-related experience as both an advisor and internal sales. When not at work he can be found on a golf course, hunting or in the gym. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Member SIPC, Panora, IA. Brokers International Financial Services, LLC and Brokers International, Ltd are affiliated companies.

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