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How to keep legal from killing your content

Legal & Compliance: Where good content goes to die.

Few on the marketing or PR side would argue with that statement. But just like we're trying to do our jobs as content marketers and communicators, our pals in Legal and Compliance are just trying to do theirs. And, btw -- this may come as a shock to you -- their jobs are not to ruin our good writing any more than our jobs are run afoul of laws and regs.

I started my career working in health insurance, and I've contracted for and consulted with many pharmas and biotech cos. I know what why this tension exists. And I also know it doesn't have to be so dad-blamed adversarial.

Creating content with Legal and Compliance

Truth is, we need to be working together to create the most effective and engaging content* possible within the restraints and requirements of the industries in which we work. This collaboration doesn't have to come to fisticuffs for feel like a duel, either. Consider this:

  • What if we loop in our friends in Legal and Compliance the next time we're planning a content or communications project?
  • What if we show them how and why we make the decisions we do and help them understand our purpose?
  • What if we made them a part of the team instead of a necessarily evil?

More effective, less time-consuming

The few times I've done this, it's enabled Legal and Compliance to provide more actionable feedback and understandable changes. It saved cycle times because we were clearer on what would and wouldn't work before we started writing, making all sides more efficient. And even with the time Legal and Compliance spent with us up front, they ended up spending less time overall on our project. We also reduced the amount of back and forth, not to mention anxiety, frustration and under-the-breath name-calling.

Dare to give it a try? What could go wrong? (Seriously. I'd love to know how/why you think this wouldn't work.)

Here's another approach from Heidi Cohen for creating content that's less likely to get Legal and Compliance's briefs in a wad: How to create content your lawyers will love.  She and I were speakers at the Insurance and Financial Communicators Association annual conference in Scottsdale this week, so this issue is top of mind for both of us.

* Download my ebook on audience engagement.

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