5 Content Marketing Trends That Matter To Heavily Regulated Industries
The possibilities with content marketing seem endless. But for marketers in regulated industries, determining how to leverage the endless possibilities while remaining compliant is a delicate balance.
Now more than ever, marketers look to content marketing to drive leads, increase sales, raise brand awareness, and build an engaged audience across many different channels. For those in heavily regulated industries—think finance, health care, and education—approving and distributing content while remaining compliant with regulatory rules can be significantly more challenging. These brands are left to figure out how to best create content to scale, content that mitigates risk, and content connected to revenue while connecting with their target audience in a meaningful way.
Earlier this month, PerformLine hosted COMPLY2016, a conference focused on marketing and compliance and designed to promote best practices, unveil industry trends, and present case studies. Among the panels was “The Perils and Possibilities of Content Marketing,” composed of marketing innovators from NewsCred, Contently, Outbrain, and IMPACT Branding. They discussed how to do content marketing right and how to avoid costly mistakes in native advertising, such as with the recent Lord & Taylor issue.
Here is a closer look at five key trends, insights, and tips that came out of this panel.
1. Long-form content is here to stay: The panelists felt strongly that long-form content—800 to 3,000-plus-word research/data-driven papers and thought leadership pieces—is among the most popular formats for telling a brand’s story. The trick for marketers in more complex and regulated industries is to figure out how to best take that content and break it down into smaller pieces and across multiple campaigns. That is why more brands are using sequential storytelling to create an experience for the consumer.
For some brands, however, long-form content may prove more difficult to secure regulatory and legal approvals. Instead, shorter blog posts, videos or webinar with preapproved slides may be more viable options.
2. Real-time content offers possibilities and challenges: The panelists predicted that real-time content will become more pervasive across channels within the next six months. They are seeing companies increasingly use of messenger apps, such as Facebook Messenger and Slack, to share ideas in real time with their communities. These apps provide an important first point of contact, and their push notifications provide an opportunity to continue the dialogue. But in regulated industries, real-time content poses challenges, particularly when compliance and legal need to weigh in. Many companies may abandon the idea of real-time content to offset these obstacles and opt for content with a shelf-life that allows for a longer approval window.
3. Don’t forget about email and Facebook: Despite the ever-evolving world of content marketing, email is still the No. 1 distribution channel. However, Facebook also provides another important vehicle for content delivery. The panelists noted that B2B content on Facebook is making a resurgence, with more and more brands realizing that the social giant, with its 1 billion-plus followers, provides an opportunity to target content more effectively and efficiently.
4. Content marketing will become a total sensory experience: The panel predicted that content marketing will continue evolving over time, eventually becoming a sensory experience for the consumer. The panel spoke about video content playing a big role in this transformation, using examples of companies that use video to tell their stories in different ways (e.g., as weekly roundups and as supplement for published images and articles.).
5. Solutions are needed for compliance-induced slowdown: Many marketers complain that the need to get compliance approval on content slows their speed to market. Many best practices were offered by the panelists, including:
- Have a planned, quarterly editorial calendar that marketing, legal, and regulatory approve to help streamline the approval and workflow processes.
- Incorporate a “brand governance checklist” throughout ideation, editorial, and publishing approval processes.
- Don’t allow legal to comment or edit content; instead, ask for a “yes” or “no” response only.
- Create a center of excellence or working group with representatives from marketing, editorial, and compliance so that everyone is involved in the review and approval process from the very beginning.
- Use automated technology, such as a content monitoring system, to help identify and check for potential compliance issues.
- License content from other publishers (e.g., The New York Times) and publish on your own website.
Good content, in its most basic form, must tell a powerful story or share a compelling point of view. The possibilities with content marketing seem endless. But for marketers in regulated industries, determining how to leverage the endless possibilities while remaining compliant is a delicate balance. The good news is that as the world of content marketing continues to grow and evolve, marketers will have more opportunities to figure out what works best for their individual brands.