5 tips for creating timely content in a highly regulated industry

Do you work as a content professional, content agency partner or copywriter in one of the UK’s top five strictly regulated industries?
– Financial Services
– Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
– Gambling & Gaming
– Food
– Advertising

Creating topical, newsworthy content can feel impossible.

When it comes to getting a blog live on your website, or a video live on LinkedIn, is it legal and compliance teams versus creative content marketers? Both sides are looking to say yes to content that connects with the customer and showcases the brand, but one is looking to limit risk and the other is looking to take some. Not a match made in heaven.

Can the relationship ever really work harmoniously enough for newsworthy content to become a reality? Or has the moment passed by the time you’ve fought the battle? That depends on the following…

1. What’s risky and what’s not?

Do you understand what might be considered risky content and why? It’s easy to assume that risky content is the obvious stuff, like criticising competitors or saying you offer something that you don’t. But it’s a lot more complex than that. In the words of watchmakers Audemars Piguet, “to break the rules, you must first master them”, so book in time with the legal teams to really understand content from their point of view.

Once you know the rules, you can look at agreeing where you can self-attest – this means it doesn’t go through the legal and compliance teams and you take responsibility for the content and the impact it has. This probably applies to any content that doesn’t talk about a product, service or offer, or that doesn’t mention rules or regulations.

2. Have you got a big cheese on side?

In any business big enough to have its own legal team, you can guarantee that hierarchy is rife and that job titles count for a lot. So, if you’ve got content ideas that need speedy approval, you’re going to need support from your leadership team or even better, an executive sponsor. Someone to tactically throw their weight around a bit when it comes to getting the legal team to loosen the reins and act fast.

3. Who’s your legal buddy?

Do you have one point of contact in the legal and compliance teams dedicated to your content campaigns and activity? If not, try and get one. It’s absolute gold to have consistency in this dance of a relationship. To get news content approved quickly, you need to understand what kind of things you can push against, what you know they just won’t budge on, and how to communicate with them to get them on side and to review your stuff within hours, not weeks.

4. Where does your role end and legal’s start?

There’s nothing more annoying than getting work back that’s been marked up with a load of comments that could either be reviewer opinion or legal facts, who knows?

Lay down ground rules with your legal teams and tell them you only want them to check things from a legal and compliance perspective, not from an editor’s perspective. When these rules are in place, you’ll know what you can push back on, and what you have to work around. It’ll make things a lot quicker.

5. Bring everyone on the journey

Being creative often means being spontaneous, but when it comes to financial services content, for example, if you want to write newsworthy, topical content that goes out within a day or so of you creating it, you need everyone to be on board. Time-consuming as it might be, get a business case together letting everyone know what you want to do and the tangible value it’ll add to the business.

Caroline Holmes, our Head of Content, created written, video and social media content for Barclaycard Business for more than 4 years. If you’re looking for financial services content, get in touch.

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