Here at Pinney Insurance, we use a focus topic calendar to drive content & social media creation.
No time to read? Watch our video overview:
What's a focus topic calendar? It's a 12-month cycle where every month has a pre-assigned focus topic. Most of our topics play to our strong suits (life insurance), but a few dip into related topics (disability income insurance, long-term care insurance).
We’ve been using this system for over five years now, and we highly recommend it. It’s a big help in focusing our marketing efforts. If you’ve ever wanted to diversify the types of products you sell, refine your audience into a niche, or just get more organized with your marketing, a focus topic calendar could be just the thing. You can always deviate from your calendar if bigger subjects come up, like a pandemic...but if you stick to it, it will save you time, give your marketing direction, and help you become seen as an expert in your focus topics.
To help you create your own, we made a brainstorming worksheet and calendar template just for you.
The Benefits of a Focus Topic Calendar
For us, a focus topic calendar provides just the right level of organization. It’s not as burdensome to create or implement as an exhaustive 365-day calendar. But it provides a lot more structure than a generic bullet point on a to-do list: “Create marketing campaign.” It hits that sweet spot right in the middle, providing a plan with plenty of wiggle room.
Sure, some topics overlap, but they each have a distinct angle that lets us highlight specific products or strategies. Here are few examples:
- January: Life insurance as an asset class
- March: Using life insurance for retirement planning
- July: Life insurance as a component of financial freedom
Life insurance is the common factor here, but since that’s a huge topic, we break it down specific aspects. For example, life insurance as an asset class is all about introducing permanent life insurance to clients and prospects who don’t know that life insurance goes beyond a simple term policy. The March topic goes even deeper, showcasing specific ways cash value life insurance can help make retirement planning easy, from policy loans to hybrid life/LTC policies. Similarly, our financial freedom topic expands to include specific policy types like IUL.
Our brainstorming worksheet will help you flesh out your topics so you can create distinct topics, subtopics, and audiences, too.
Focus topics remove some of the guesswork about what to write and post about. How many times have you stared at a blank page (or screen) and wished someone would just tell you what to post? Your focus topic gives you a starting point. If you use our template, you’ll notice that we also include room for subtopics. If you include four subtopics for each focus topic, that’s a whole year’s worth of topic prompts at your fingertips.
Breadth & depth of coverage
You can change your topics every year, or you can revisit them yearly. If you revisit them (like we do), it gives you a great chance to produce a solid library of content on your focus topics. Just refresh your materials every year to keep them timely and relevant. Or, if your materials are already evergreen, choose a different subtopic or go deeper into a previous subtopic that interested your audience. Adding to a focus topic year-on-year is also a good way to break down complicated topics into small bits your audience can digest easily.
How to Create Your Focus Topic Calendar
Okay, so now you’re ready to create your own calendar. Where do you start? First, download our free worksheet and calendar template (printable PDF or fillable PDF). We’ll walk you through each step in the worksheet below.
Start with a list of products you sell, or services you provide. Easy!
Add in a list of subtopics, components, options, add-ons, or related products. This is a great place to talk about hybrid products, riders, complementary types of insurance, or other products that might not merit their own month in your calendar, but that you want to work in somewhere to make sure they get some coverage.
Look for ways to spin your topics for particular groups – either clients you already serve, or niche groups you could serve in the future if more of your content were optimized to reach them. Here are just a few examples: small business owners, women, single parents, freelancers, etc.
Do you have partners whose products or services you could cross-sell? How would those products fit into an existing focus topic…or could they become a stand-alone topic?
Look for awareness months that tie into your products, services, or subtopics. For example, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month would be a great tie-in for long-term care. Financial Literacy Month is a killer tie-in for, well, pretty much any insurance product or service. Here are a few go-to sources to find these awareness months:
- Healthline.com: Health awareness calendar
- Health.gov: National health observances
- Wikipedia: List of month-long observances
- Motivators.com: Awareness event calendar
BONUS: If you tie your focus topic in with an awareness month, look for ways your community also participates. You might be able to get a little extra publicity by hosting a related webinar or workshop in your area at the appropriate time.
Look for holidays or important dates you can tie into a topic. Don’t overlook the obvious holidays because they’re tailor-made for easy social media posts. Everyone will already be posting about Christmas, for example, so why not tailor content around a topic you already know will be trending? Your holiday-related subtopic might be unusual Christmas gifts (life insurance), family budgeting during a season known for spending, or valuing what’s important (family). All of those angles can be easily tied back to life insurance. Here are a few resources to check as you fill out this part of our worksheet:
- TimeAndDate.com: List of US Holidays
- Wikipedia: List of holidays (includes religious and non-US holidays)
- NationalToday: National day calendar, by month
Think about professional groups whose content your audience might find relevant. Since we’re writing for you (agents), we turn to groups like NAIFA, MDRT, and NAILBA for information you might find helpful. But since your audience is probably consumers, think about groups like AARP, the USO, or professional societies that serve your niche audience.
Now re-read the list of ideas and groups you’ve put together. Which ones make sense together? Select your 12 “big picture” focus topics and fill in as many as four subtopics for each. That calendar can drive your content and social media creation for years to come!
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Create a list of resources for your clients on each focus topic (that’s what our monthly sales kits are!).
- Turn frequent client questions into newsletter blasts, FAQ downloads, etc.
- Take your existing web content or presentations and shorten them into drip email campaigns based on your focus topics.
- Take stats you find in support materials and turn them into social posts.
- Host a webinar on your focus topic - post clips as teasers on social media.
That’s our look at why you need a focus topic calendar!
We hope the worksheet and calendar template are helpful – if you liked them, drop us a comment to say thanks or suggest another template you’d like to see. We’ll do our best to make it happen.