You worked so hard on a fabulous piece of content.
One that inspires, is share-worthy, and does an incredible job of showing how you, your product, service, or company can help the reader – your future customer.
But wait, it’s been sitting in compliance review for a week.
And when you finally get it back, it’s bleeding in a sea of hot-pink comments, deletions, and suggestions. Picked to the bone, with no semblance of your original writing.
If you’re having a tough time getting your financial content through the compliance bottleneck, read on!
We ♥ compliance
In this series, we’re going to provide content tips and best practices for ways to appease our favorite gatekeepers: compliance people.
They keep us in check whenever we promise results, give specific financial advice when we shouldn’t be, or guarantee something that we simply can’t be sure of 100%.
At Finance Studio, we’ve worked with every kind of financial content and compliance team—no matter the size of the financial company or which governing body oversees their promotional content (including the entire owned content library of articles, blogs, whitepapers, and more—we’ve narrowed down the best ways to avoid delayed compliance approvals.
Our advice: stop giving advice
Depending on the size of your firm (and this is assuming that you’re writing for more than a one-man operation) it’s important to avoid giving too much advice.
One common pitfall that sinks many RIAs, broker-dealers, financial advisors, and other financial writers is giving overly specific financial advice given the context and type of content deliverable.
For example, one-to-one financial advice looks very different from a general overview of industry trends or top-performing funds in a promotional newsletter.
You may wonder how you can be viewed as a credible voice of authority without giving advice.
While advising clients is an integral part of financial writing, it’s not practical when communicating with the masses.
A skilled financial writer can navigate messaging in general terms.
“Here’s how to maximize your money:
You want to avoid unnecessary fees. Earn a competitive interest rate.
And don’t hold on to more liquid money than you need, move it to another account that will pay better interest rates than your checking account.”
“There are plenty of ways to maximize your money. Check that you’re not getting hit with unnecessary fees. Make sure that your savings are earning competitive interest rates. Try not to hold on to more cash than you actually need. If your current accounts don’t pass muster, then consider switching over to different accounts.”
5 best practices for compliant content
Your role is not to dictate what’s best. It’s simply impossible to know the best financial interest of any group of people without knowing each unique situation.
Make sure to:
1. Take an objective or 360-degree perspective
2. Present pros and cons, and focus on general benefits
3. Speak to larger groups with “if/then” statements and hypothetical situations
4. Use “could” or “consider” in lieu of “can” and “do,” respectively
5. Discuss your product or service, company, or recommendation without guaranteeing it will solve all their problems.
The central idea guiding compliance is that the advice you provide has a direct and suitable relationship for the individuals receiving the advice – including where they are in life and their tolerance for risk.