Molly Buccini

How is a content marketing agency going to understand your industry’s regulations? This is a question we get a lot from finance marketers who are worried about compliance.

At Brafton, our finance desk writers have specialties spanning insurance, wealth management, accounting, auditing, banking, payment processing and more – so we’re familiar with compliance issues. We also understand that industry compliance isn’t “one-size-fits-all.” Niche subsets can make managing regulations a tough – but top – priority for our writers and strategists.  

Compliance is among the main concerns for my advisory firm clients,” says Nick Olds, a content writer in our Boston office. “Advisers need to be careful that they do not overtly recommend investing in stocks because it violates SEC regulations.”

Meanwhile, other writers are familiar with the risks of even potentially overstating a loan officer’s expertise in certain areas. It’s a lot to consider, but it shouldn’t cause businesses to discount content marketing.

Why the finance industry is falling behind at content marketing

New data from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 78 percent of financial brands are using content – but of that figure, only 25 percent feel they are doing it successfully.

We suspect the low success rate has something to do with the following statistic: Only 37 percent have a documented strategy.

Content Marketing Institute Finance Stat

Documentation breeds success – and compliance

Creating a documented strategy complete with a content calendar is crucial for all industries – but it’s particularly important for brands in regulated industries, which may have longer production turnaround times as a result.

Documentation does two things:

  • It creates a centralized place where all content creators and compliance departments can share the most updated regulations that may impact whether content is fit to publish.
  • It enforces a calendar for production AND approval, and builds in revision time to ensure compliance. 

A subsequent third benefit of documentation is the confidence it can give your team. Here’s what one customer had to say about Brafton’s creative brief process and the resulting content:

“We’re a heavily regulated industry, so we have to be careful about what we say and share… Brafton gives you comfort knowing things are handled properly.”

Connecting your compliance team and content writers

Once the plan is set, the most effective way to tackle regulations is to establish lines of communication between your compliance team and content writers. Clear documentation is your first line of defense, but as new regulations arise, it’s helpful to let writers run things past the legal team directly to save time editing (or rewriting).

Some of our clients have article and white paper topics approved by an attorney or a compliance department before they’re drafted, then reviewed prior to publication to confirm there are no issues. This might sound highly involved, but it’s a smart way to avoid unnecessary risks without missing out on opportunities to have a competitive content marketing strategy.

3 Keys to compliant outsourced content

  • Be as specific about “approved” topics as you are about “off-limit” topics. Writers who understand why the green lit topics work will be able to make more informed decisions about future articles. You want your team to have clear guidance about what they can and cannot say, what resources to use and what the regulations require can work inside those parameters.
  • Add “editing time” to the content calendar. Writers understandably spend more time researching, writing and editing articles with compliance concerns. Make sure your production schedule allows enough time for writers to produce drafts and incorporate any edits you have.
  • Criticize early (and often)  for a good long-term partnership It’s important to provide thorough feedback from the start of the partnership so writers understand what details to include, what information they need to exclude and how to stay compliant in your field. A smooth workflow in the beginning can make or break a relationship and providing both positive and negative feedback that’s extremely specific is what’s going to help a writer understand how they can improve and get it right the next time.