By Holly Celeste Fisk, Content Operations Manager
‘Developing effective storytelling in highly regulated industries can be a challenge.’
Marketers in fields such as healthcare, law, and financial services can feel hamstrung by the laws and regulations that restrict their efforts. Violating those regulations and being cited for false or deceptive marketing can cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
The added difficulties don’t constitute a free pass to give up on content. You simply can’t afford to forego the same benefits other industries are realizing from content marketing. In fact, you could challenge yourself to bypass competitors who continue to focus on the struggle rather than embrace the opportunity. Those who navigate the regulations and carve out positions as trusted leaders in their fields are truly winning at content marketing.
Here are three ways to make content marketing easier in a highly regulated industry.
1. Befriend All the Lawyers
It’s easy to take an adversarial approach to the legal team that seems to be thwarting your every move. You’ll be much better off if you understand and appreciate the value they bring to the company. Get to know one another, and talk about how you can both come out winners through collaboration.
Establish a clear, agreed-upon content review process that sets reasonable expectations and timelines. If possible, build a small library of approved templates, disclaimers and a style guide that helps you follow the rules without the legal or compliance department constantly having to intervene. The cleaner the copy you submit to them, the less painful the review process will be for everyone.
2. Develop Your Brand Voice
Striking the right tone is just as important and valuable as knowing what you can and can’t say. Your brand’s voice is a critical element in the success of your content marketing strategy, and it’s worth spending some time and attention on getting it right.
Are you in a position to tell your audience what they can and can’t do, or are you in more of an advisory role? Define those parameters and don’t waver from them.
Always keep your target customer’s pain points front and center. When you understand what makes them decide they need your product or service, you’re better able to craft content that’s aligned with their needs and interests. Draw distinct lines between their pain points and your solutions, how they address regulations or how they help customers adhere to those regulations.
3. Lean on Experts
Influencers are valuable tools in industries with lots of regulations to navigate. Working closely with lawyers, professional associations and other trusted sources offers some hefty benefits. First, they’re likely to be quite familiar with what they can and can’t say and how best to say it, and second, their name recognition lends credibility to your brand and increases the perceived value of your content.
Rely on facts, reference data points whenever possible, and back up what you say with surveys, research and key findings published by regulatory agencies. Cite your sources. You can still tell a creative story but building it on a solid foundation of facts and data will keep you in safe territory.
So, take a stand and talk about the difficult topics in your industry. Address the latest changes in state or federal regulations in a way that helps your audience. If you work with your legal team, enlist industry experts and design your content marketing to speak in a well-defined brand voice, your customers will quickly learn to turn to you when they need help.
Looking for new ways to develop your content? Ask a Content4Demand content strategist how we’ve helped our clients stand apart when developing content for highly regulated industries.