How marketers can be both creative and compliant

For regulated Marketers, regulatory compliance is as important as content creativity.

But the two can often seem polar opposites – the innovative, imaginative Marketer versus the detail-oriented, risk-averse Compliance team.

It is possible, though, to successfully marry creativity and compliance, as a recent article by contently.com explains. Here, we look at how your marketing content can be both creative and compliant.

What are the challenges in balancing regulatory requirements and content creativity?

Regulatory compliance is a non-negotiable element of the marketing process if you work in a regulated sector.

And in fact, even if you don’t – all UK firms, even if not governed by an industry regulator, need to abide by rules set by the Committee of Advertising Practice and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority.

If pressed, many Marketers might see the need to take compliance considerations into account as a hindrance. Doesn’t it just temper creativity and slow your ability to produce new content?

Not necessarily.

There are ways to ensure you can maximise creativity without incurring the wrath of your Compliance team – and having to make time-consuming and admin-heavy edits before you get the all-important approval. Here are 5 steps to creating compliant content.

1.  Be prepared. Planning ahead is crucial

The contently article compares marketing to the writing of famous people’s obituaries for the New York Times. The paper’s success in getting tributes written quickly isn’t down to their immense writing speed – more, it’s the fact that much of the research and leg-work has been done ahead of time, leaving only the final details to be added when someone dies.

You can take a similar approach in producing marketing content. Much of the structure of many elements of content – press releases, for instance; web pages – remain the same regardless of actual content.

Get these ready in advance and once you have that crucial deal to promote, or new product to add to your website, you can finalise and send copy for Compliance sign-off asap.

2.  Get to know what your Compliance team is looking for

Understand what will get your Compliance colleagues’ approval – and what will have them reaching for the red pen. Our blog on writing copy your Compliance team will approve has some useful tips. This will reduce edits needed, minimising the time you waste on admin and enabling you to produce quality content in less time.

3.  Collaboration is key

Or, as the contently article puts it, ‘Make friends’. The article suggests that Marketers ‘develop good professional relationships with the compliance team. They’re doing what they were hired to do, so don’t hold it against them. If you get along with them, maybe they’ll give you a break or two’.

It’s good advice; collaboration can be the secret ingredient when it comes to producing compliant and creative content harmoniously. Read more tips on how you can collaborate effectively, especially when working remotely.

4.  Get the Compliance team involved earlier

In a similar vein, the contently article advises going a step further. It suggests you invite a member of your Legal or Compliance team to your editorial meetings, say once a month.

This will enable you to get their input at an early stage of shaping your content – and weave it into your planning. In this way, you’ll both short-circuit any ideas that would never be approved and ensure that anything you do produce is rapidly signed off.

5.  Speed your approvals process

One of the big gripes when it comes to Compliance team approval is the delay it can impose on publishing marketing content. But if you can make your approvals process quicker, it stands to reason that you have more time to spend making your content as creative as possible.

For more advice on speeding your approvals, you can read our 6 ways to improve the efficiency of your marketing and tips for making your approvals process better.

Introducing an element of automation to your marketing projects can help here, reducing cost as well as increasing efficiency. Read more about how approval workflow tools can make the process quicker and more robust.

Unlock the secrets of creative, compliant and timely content

It can be a big ask to create marketing content that is engaging, timely and meets regulatory requirements. Hopefully these tips will help you to create copy that speaks to your audience – as well as getting the seal of approval from your Compliance colleagues.

As we mentioned above, more and more firms – particularly regulated ones where Compliance team approval adds an extra step to the content cycle – are turning to automation.

You can read more about how automation can help speed and improve approvals processes, and remove admin and rework from the content production cycle, in our whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems. It’s free and you can download a copy here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.