One of the advantages of being an independent agent, is the freedom of expression and the creation of my own marketing materials. (Within reason, of course: Keep it conceptual, don't promise performance, rates, or discuss specific policies without running it by that company's compliance department.)
I have spent a lot of time (probably WAY too much time) on internet discussion forums related to investments and insurance. Every once in a while, I would get into a heated argument with someone about the merits of what I sell, while they use the same old "legendary" attacks that don't hold any merit and don't show much evidence of thought behind them.
My blog saves me time: Eventually, I found that I was continuously repeating myself over and over again. And when I visited another online group and saw the same "myths" being touted, I knew there was a severe lacking of understanding of the true nature of cash value life insurance.
My blog forces me to articulate facts:
In the image above, I truly believe this. Study to teach. Study a subject well enough so that you can teach it. Now, to be a credible teacher, you have to cite your sources. And as much as I do appreciate great 3rd party writings, I also go to the source of that material - ideally to academic textbook writings or Government published resources (IRS, Social Security, FDIC) or other credible sources, like investopedia, and other similar sites in order to back up my writings.
My blog helps me to save time:
I don't have to regurgitate every single argument by re-typing what I've already outlined previously. I can just find the appropriate link for the article and copy/paste.
My blog is a great reference resource:
When a prospect or a client has a question, it's one thing to be able to answer it in person or over the phone. But there is SO much mis-information out there, that can overwhelm a person with their half-truths (or outright lies) that it's more difficult to combat all of that. But having a written response is a fantastic way to save time AND to be more articulate with someone. It allows them to read things "in my voice" so to speak and read it on their own time.
For agents, my blogs have been a valuable teaching tool against many of the "half-truths" out there (like "the life insurance company keeps the cash value and only pays out the face amount" kind of stuff). For other agents that just want to argue... my blogs are great material for a "mic drop". I can drop a ton of information and not engage much further with someone who is just seeking an audience to argue.
The accumulation of these articles is a testament to expertise:
I was looking at some of my old marketing platforms (that never went anywhere and I've finally deleted) and realized just how great it is to have a resource for me to articulate my ideas and have such an expansive resource! I may combine many of these blog posts into a book to be published at some later date! It's certainly nice to see all my writings in one spot and with currently 80+ articles to speak of.
For a side note:
I have a tab on this site called "Helpful Strategy Links". Did you know that I created that as a resource for me? I have links directly to IRS publications (and other sites) that the IRS (or those other sites) will update FOR me and I don't have to do anything about it (except make sure the links are still valid)? And yet, it also helps to show that I know where to reference things for others? It saves me time and promotes me as a credible resource for others!
The challenge of writing:
Well, it's not so much of a challenge, as it is to craft a response to certain things I read about. Certain "excuses" (excuses are objections with a lack of character. See? I just made that one up!), objections, or myths are a challenge to write about to see if I can unravel where they came from and determine if there is a new 'truth' to expose and promote. I enjoy that.
This whole thing was created for my own self-interest.
Save time, articulate my thoughts, teach others (agents and prospects alike) , and promote an expertise that is rarely found elsewhere. This whole experience over the past 2-3 years I've had this site has brought me (and many others) great clarity in this industry where there are so many "half-truths" out there.
Now, I have this great site which is tangible evidence of my professional knowledge and standards! It's a great resource for others as well as myself. I can't imagine still trying to be a professional in an industry with tons of "mis-truths" without this site - and just keeping all this knowledge "in my head". It's far nicer to have it all out there ready to be used as needed. If you have a topic you'd like me to write about that's related to finance, please contact me. I feel like I'm running out of material to write about!