How to create amazingly effective content in a ‘boring’ industry

Insurance is hardly the most exciting topic. There are many things I‘d rather browse on the Internet (keyboard-playing cats, the status updates of near strangers), before finding out how and why I should insure my life, things, or business against future disaster.

But that hasn’t stopped business insurance company Simply Business using multi-channel content to amass 40,000 Twitter followers, 3,000 Google+ followers, and tens of thousands of new business leads. Not bad, particularly when you’re fighting for a share of voice against the above-the-line campaigns of big insurers such as Direct Line and Hiscox.



So how did Simply Business do it? Jasper Martens (left), head of marketing and communications, revealed all at the Content Marketing Show – and we were there to capture his seven top tips for B2B content success. Turns out business insurance is not so boring, after all…


  1. Create a manifesto (with your audience): The first step was to create a manifesto, by asking small business owners what they thought insurance should look like in the future. These insights enabled the creation of a microsite and video, tailored around problems existing in the market.
  2. Get your content team in place and plan ahead: By keeping an editorial calendar, planned two months in advance, and supported by an editor, a copywriter and two designers (as well as an external content agency), Simply Business is able to make sure content continues to be relevant, high-quality and to deliver results.
  3. Build a ‘knowledge community’ to help drive traffic: Simply Business has a ‘knowledge and community’ section on its website, which is essentially a blog that hosts a wide variety of content. Again, the topics focus on how to run your small business, with guides and interviews with successful entrepreneurs. This section of the site makes up 60% of total traffic to the site.
  4. Think big with ‘hero content’: At one stage, traffic flat-lined. To continue driving traffic to the site, the marketing team had to think big. They created interactive guides such as The Small Business Guide to Google Analytics (pictured below) and The Small Business Guide to Linkedin, all driving relevant traffic to the site.
    Screenshot 2014-07-23 11.55.45
  5. Outreach to influencers: Looking to increase brand awareness, Simply Business (a technology-led company) decided to do an interactive infographic on tech buyouts: ‘Hungry Tech Giants’, a visualisation of the staggering scale of acquisitions made by the five largest tech companies. The infographic got picked up by many sources, including and Computer Weekly, and deservedly so – it does an amazing job of showing the scale and strategy of the featured companies’ acquisition policies. This was obviously great for SEO – and resulted in Simply Business having to purchase more bandwidth! Was the traffic relevant though? Yes, a good deal did come from America, but in the following months, an increase was seen in IT contractors, and technology related trades in the customer base, showing valuable conversions were being made.
  6. Dive into data for big, PR-ready stories: Simply Business cleverly tapped in to existing customer data of more than 40,000 retail businesses in the UK to create the ‘High Street Tracker’. The media campaign created around this was so successful (it was picked up by Mary Portas, champion of the UK high street, and covered on ITV daybreak and BBC Breakfast) that this is now published every year.
  7. Make more of Google+ Hangouts – after the event: In the office, one of the conference rooms doubles as a studio once a month. Simply Business hosts a Google + Hangout, and while live audience numbers aren’t huge, other uses are found for the content generated. Instead of focusing on insurance, experts in entrepreneurialism are invited in to offer other business advice, like how to set up your own business and how to market your business. All customers are sent an invitation to join the Hangout ­– but the value comes from how they chop up and repurpose the content after the Hangout is over. It is used to provide Q&As, published on YouTube, shared with customers through newsletters and through social channels too.

What does content marketing success look like?

As a result of its content marketing activity, built around the seven tips outlined above, Simply Business now has 40,000 twitter followers, 3,000 Google+ followers – and its search visibility has increased greatly. Out of 60,000 quotes given, 19% of them are SEO related – which the brand puts down to its content marketing strategy. This means search is now a better source of traffic than PPC for them – great news, as PPC is relatively very expensive.

Content has had a positive effect on customer retention as well as customer acquisition. A control group of customers did not receive tailored email newsletters (as is the standard for most Simply Business customers), and the renewal rate was found to be 5% higher in the group that did receive the content (this is big stuff in the insurance world).

And most importantly, 95% of customers think Simply Business is doing a good job, and the company has received overwhelming support and compliments through the comments sections on its site.


Three more content brands that have taken on the ‘big boys’ in their sector with innovative content marketing strategies:



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2 thoughts

  1. Great write up. One thing. Our SEO revenue is not 90% of the total, it’s 19%. Still impressive. However, our other tactics (direct, partners and paid) are important too.

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