Strategy

How to Speed Up Your Content Review Process & Master Marketing Compliance

“Investment banking is just glorified content marketing.”

That’s what Walter Chen, SEO of Sacra, a financial research platform, said on Wistia’s podcast in April 2021.

Chen’s right. Everyone in finance wants help, whether they’re a first-time trader or a Wall Street pro. They want new data, better data, and superior advice. In banking, you’re selling your unique insights. The longer it takes you to communicate those insights, the more likely it is that someone will beat you to the punch.

Since the pandemic, the world of finance has drastically changed. A subreddit upended the stock market, and Bitcoin almost got to the moon🚀. Most importantly, COVID-19 led to a wave of financial uncertainty.

As a result, the way financial companies talk to the public had to change as well. When global markets fell, millions of jobs were lost, and countries across the world plunged into a recession, the public craved financial guidance from professionals who knew what was going on. For many financial services companies, that meant not only switching their content strategy, but also adjusting their marketing compliance process to quickly address fast-changing challenges consumers were facing.

One of our favorite examples of this comes from MD Financial Management (a Contently client), that serves 130,000 physicians and medical learners in Canada. In March 2020, MD Financial was finalizing its Q2 marketing plan when “our world flipped,” as VP of marketing and communications Shawna Dennis put it.

The company came up with an entirely new strategy to address COVID. Within six weeks, they had launched a COVID 19 hub, published 49 new pieces of content and even launched a podcast. Because of that response, MD Financial’s audience doubled, and conversions to product pages increased 3x.MD Financial Management content approval

While financial services has been one of the earlier and most enthusiastic adopters of content marketing, they’ve historically tended to prioritize publishing evergreen content, like personal finance and investing tips that aren’t tied to any particular news cycle. This makes sense; compliance approvals for content marketing are a notorious challenge in the industry.

However, we saw a shift on that front in our 2021 report on the state of finance content. More finserv companies were publishing timely content tied to a news cycle. Overall, news content accounted for 12 percent of all the stories in our dataset, which is about the double what we saw in our last finserv report.

B2B companies accounted for 191 pieces of news content, like this 2021 outlook on global GDP and economic recovery from Morgan Stanley. In fact, almost all of Morgan Stanley’s stories had a news hook, and they performed extremely well. The investment bank had 96 of the top 100 B2B pieces of content in our analysis. Their stories averaged 1,330 social shares.

Meanwhile, fintech and cryptocurrency companies contributed 115 pieces of news content. For instance, the online bank Ally quickly analyzed how vaccine trial updates were affecting S&P 500 growth.

finance content news stories

Interestingly, finserv publications targeting a B2C audience largely ignored news. Only 22 out of 780 stories were classified as news content. Their content still aimed to be helpful, but most of it fell into categories like personal finance and general consumer resources. Some of the resources even mentioned COVID-19—like this Mass Mutual story about restoring financial wellness—but these examples tended to offer more general advice for what people could do after the pandemic.

Creating newsier content could be a big opportunity for B2C content teams searching for inspiration. For instance, Bank of the West, which won two Webby Awards just 8 months after launching its content hub Means & Matters, invested in longform stories that tied into timely social and environmental issues. They don’t just piggy-back on news stories; they create news from scratch through their reporting, like with this feature on the importance of the Blue economy.

Whether you’re looking to cover news or just publish content quicker so you can address timely topics, here are important steps that will set your organization up for success.

Start with executive support

Change happens a lot faster once leadership gets involved. When RBC (another Contently client) wanted to launch a new strategy for small business owners during the pandemic, the first thing the content team did was secure executive sponsorship so others would be committed.

Brainstorm a surplus of ideas

As soon as RBC had everyone on board, the team organized a weekly cross-functional meeting for ideation. Members from marketing, comms, and sales contributed to a long list of story concepts and angles. Also, part of the plan included anticipating future developments like policies and lockdowns. It didn’t take long for RBC to have a reserve of timely content ready to go.

Invite compliance into the creative process

We covered this universal truth in our last finserv report. The content review process improves when you’re proactive (and have technology that can help streamline production.) Ask the legal team to vet ideas before you start creating rather than waiting till the work’s been done. Agree to a requirements checklist that saves both sides time. For RBC, making an effort upfront helped reduce approval times to days instead of weeks or months.

Big takeaway: Develop those fast-twitch content muscles to speed up the review process and create timely work before your competitors.

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Image by Runeer

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