Creating Content That Doesn’t Require Your Legal Department

Michael Brenner on Mar 20, 2019 in Content Marketing

Over the years, I have worked with companies who are used to having their legal department review all of their content before it’s released to the public. When I tell them that by shifting what they write about, they can ultimately speed up their internal processes and start getting better results from their content marketing campaigns. Their responses vary but here is what I can tell you: content marketing can be done without your legal department getting involved.

I’ll pause for a moment while you list the reasons I’m wrong. (I’m not.)

When done right, content ideation can be one of the most fun parts when developing a content marketing strategy. Here are several tips and ideas to help your content marketing flourish while keeping legal out of it.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Keeping your industry standards in mind and put in place appropriate branding and content guidelines accordingly.
  • Understand how your product or service will impact people in different ways.
  • Authentic content is necessary in an increasingly tech savvy, socially aware, and informed world.

Know Your Industry

What works in one field may not work in another. For example, the rules around what can be said in an automotive repair shop’s content versus the content for a healthcare equipment manufacturer are going to be drastically different. Healthcare equipment manufacturers have to be careful about making bold claims, i.e. “this scanner will detect cancer.” However, for an automotive repair shop, they are not beholding to the same laws and are able to claim, “Changing your oil every 3,000 miles will help extend the life of your vehicle.”

My point is that before you start, you need to know your industry standards and what can and cannot be discussed without a legal review.

Rethink Your Target Audiences

It is easy to get tunnel vision when you think about your target audience. However, I encourage my clients to think outside the box when it comes to this.

If you are a healthcare equipment manufacturer, the ultimate goal is for hospitals and clinics to buy your products. However, the purchase decision maker is just one of many people who are impacted by your equipment and may be interested in what you have to say.

Here is what I tell my clients to examine:

Think about the patients who rely on your technology to get a diagnosis and what their experience is like. As for the medical professionals, consider the technologists who operate the machines daily. Furthermore, dive into what kind of knowledge a referring physician needs to order a test for a patient.

For the medical professional, ask yourself what their day-to-day is like at work. Is their workload overwhelming? Are they burned out? When thinking about patients, think about the last time you or a loved one had to go get testing done. What information would have been useful to ease your experience?

Once you have an idea of the peripheral information that your audiences may be seeking, use it as a starting point to create content that answers their questions.

Types of Content to Use

As the world becomes increasingly tech savvy, brands cannot afford to ignore the need to produce authentic, useful content. Without it, they risk a lack of customer engagement and ultimately a decrease in revenue.

That’s why using the types of content listed below can help you create an authentic feel while helping you avoid the need for approval from legal.

Behind the Scenes

A behind the scenes look at your company is a great way to introduce people to your brand.

Major online shoe retailer Zappos has done this with articles such as “My Time As An Intern: Life Outside Zappos” on the company’s blog. Former intern Josh Levine details what it was like for an intern to live in Las Vegas while interning for the company; thus giving readers an inside scoop into the company culture and what it’s like to live near their headquarters.

This is more than just good content for prospective interns. A behind the scenes look gives everyone a feel for what it is like to work for and with your company.

How-To Guides

A how-to guide can cover anything from how to set up your product to how to talk to your doctor about your health concerns. It does not have to be product specific.

In fact, ZDNet’s David Gewirtz updated his how-to guide about Amazon’s Echo in 2017. He gives readers 12 tips on how to get the most of out of their devices.

Company History

Another way to provide authentic content for your audience is to tell your story.

Even if you are a major brand, there are elements of your story that are not well known to your customers.

Luxury fashion company Burberry did just this with their 2016 The Tale of Thomas Burberry video, detailing the life of their founder.

Hint: this makes excellent #ThrowbackThursday content on your social media platforms.

A Buyer’s Guide

Help your customers make purchasing decisions with a buyers guide. By providing information about your product or service, you can help them decide what they need to best fulfill their needs. If they choose another brand, you will still leave a favorable impression in their mind for providing unbiased, useful content.

Overcoming Obstacles

If you are facing push-back from your legal team about the content you created, you are not alone. In my years as a Chief Marketing Officer, I had similar obstacles to overcome when creating an effective content marketing strategy.

Now I take pride in helping clients do the same.

If you’re interested in getting more traffic and leads for your website, or documenting your content marketing strategy, check out our Content Builder Service. Setup a brief consultation and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books!

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 2 comments
  • Dave Parks

    Michael, great article. Most of us product and content marketers have had to deal with this situation at some point. Another thing that I’ve found helpful in avoiding the need for legal review is to be proactive with your legal team to develop a library of pre-approved language you can use in your content when dealing with sensitive topics like roadmap items and marketing statistics for cost reduction, revenue increases, time savings, etc.