Trying to execute a successful content marketing strategy within a highly-regulated industry can oftentimes feel like an uphill battle. Like a really steep uphill battle. Compliance and regulation teams seem to rain on the content marketing parade and reject many ideas that fall outside the safe editorial box. This makes it difficult to provide the content financial services or insurance industries feel their audiences actually need and want. Since there are no “going rogue” or “apologizing later” options in highly-regulated industries, we have to do the best we can. I oftentimes work with brands in highly-regulated industries who all face these similar challenges. From this experience, I’ve found a few best practices that make these obstacles a lot easier to overcome.
1. Get Your Do’s + Don’ts List Upfront
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise, but understanding what your limitations are upfront will only help you down the road. Ask your compliance and regulation teams for clear parameters on what you are allowed to write about and what is completely off limits. For example, financial services brands may not be able to publish an article that explicitly recommends investors to move money into a certain stocks, but they can publish an article that explains the importance of diversification. Create a “not this, but that” list and include other compliance editorial limitations within you editorial guidelines to ensure there is a clear understanding across your organization.
2. Licensed Content is Your Friend
This may come off as a shameless plug for NewsCred’s licensed content, but really, it’s an excellent option for highly-regulated industries. First and foremost, it’s legally licensed. NewsCred’s clients are indemnified for claims that arise based on infringement of intellectual property rights. In layman’s terms, it’s extra extra legal and if anything does happen, your brand is not liable. Second, you’re able to borrow the authority and accuracy from the publisher. Any piece of content that has been published by a premium branded publication has gone through extensive approvals and fact check processes. By licensing that content, you’re able to bypass that lengthy procedure. Third, there is a transparent audit trail. All licensed content is published through our software’s workflow that includes an audit trail, permission levels and the ability to gate who can approve and publish content to your site.
3. Submit Content for Approval in Bulk
No one likes to be constantly pestered with requests at work, and compliance and regulation teams are certainly not an exception. Of course every organization is different, but in my experience, these teams prefer to be engaged with on a regular, but infrequent basis. The best way to approach this is to plan your editorial calendar in advance and send your compliance team a bulk of content for approval on a monthly or biweekly basis. Don’t forget to include images in this approval process as well. By using this approach, you’re able to give them enough lead time to sift through the content and not press yourself to make tight deadlines. Obviously there will be exceptions with content that is intended to be timely, but in general this process will make everyone’s lives a lot easier. Again, since every organization is different, be sure to ask your own compliance team how they’d like to be engaged and find a solution that works best for everyone.
4. Don’t Make Compliance Feel Like the Enemy
Although sometimes it feels like compliance won’t let your content marketing have any fun, at the end of the day, they’re just doing their job. Let them know you want to work together and do what you can to create a positive partnership. If they don’t approve a piece of content, ask them to explain why and how you can obtain an approval in the future. Including them in your editorial process can be a great strategy as well. I’ve had several editorial workshops in which compliance team members have attended and were excited to give their input. Making them feel included in the process instead of a barrier between you and the publish button can completely change the tone of the relationship.
These are just a few tips I’ve found to be helpful with our highly-regulated industry clients. If you work in content marketing within a highly-regulated industry, I’d love to hear your suggestions as well!