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New York Life Is a True Believer in Organic Content

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The trend of brands acting as publishers has been around for years, but it’s an intriguing tactic for insurance companies, which typically rely on lead generation and other hard-sell tactics to drive business. Nevertheless, New York Life has embraced content-heavy marketing (with the help of Conductor) in the past two years. The company claims that twice as many lead generations come through organic content as paid content. Additionally, 30 percent of New York Life’s keywords rank in the top 10 Google search results and 5 percent of nonbranded keywords (terms like “insurance”) rank in the top three search results. “We’ve been able to achieve very high placement really just by rolling up our sleeves and focusing on the content,” said Erin Smale, corporate vp of Web management and strategy. In a recent interview, Smale explained how New York Life got into content marketing and identified the challenges ahead.

How long has New York Life been using this content-driven approach?

We’ve been concentrating more on this approach since our redesign in September 2012. Not that we didn’t use it before, but I think that exercise prompted us to reevaluate the quality of all of our content. [In the past] there wasn’t a lot of focus before on keywords. Our old model was we would promote product-centric keywords, and the idea was to drive all of the traffic to the website directly to a call-to-action. … When we started the redesign, we realized that a lot of our prospects were choosing to initiate contact in different ways. They weren’t just typing in a word like insurance—they were typing in keywords that had to do with their life stages or events in their life where insurance may play a part.

Can you give me an example?

Someone gets married or they have a baby or they buy a house or they get a new job—these are all events or stages of someone’s life where there are important questions to ask about insurance or the products that we sell and we want to be able to make sure that we’re being represented in certain search results for that kind of research that people are doing. The new model is customers will rely more on natural language queries as opposed to product-centric keywords, and they’ll use those queries to conduct research across a whole range of sites. When we’re optimizing content, we have to consider those language queries in the context of what we’re writing.

For more of this interview, check out the full article over at Adweek.

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