Compliance in heavily regulated industries
Within the manufacturing industry, marketing teams need to be careful with how they craft their content. Bound by laws and regulations, marketing materials can’t over promise or embellish. Manufacturing compliance includes legal, technical, and corporate requirements. So, when companies market their products, they have to be aware of the rules and regulations.
This is made even more challenging for manufacturers that operate in multiple countries, with varying compliance standards from different government agencies. The global nature of the manufacturing industry — and the complex supply chains that support them — has also made quality management of content tricky.
In a blog, Siemens highlight the different compliance areas that impact manufacturing companies:
- Product safety
- Health, safety, and environmental impact
- Data protection
- Export controls
- IT safety and security
- Fair competition
- Employment law
With so many compliance issues at play for manufacturing companies, you need to make sure your marketing campaigns are high-quality and compliant. The good news is that we’ve compiled the steps you need to make sure your content meets industry standards and marketing compliance laws.
Let’s dig in!
Step 1: Stay updated with regulatory changes
Regulations in the manufacturing sector are dynamic — and by that we mean they’re constantly subject to change. And remember: the responsibility of keeping aware of and compliant with these regulations falls on your shoulders.
So not being clear about a new law or regulation isn’t an excuse when it comes to compliance failures. And the consequences of non-compliance can be extremely costly. Your enterprise needs to stay informed about regulatory updates, across all the regions and jurisdictions that you operate in, and take advantage of your dedicated compliance teams.
Step 2: Create a list of words, phrases, and approved messaging
It’s no surprise that compliance requirements are different across countries, locales, and industries. So documenting important terminology and messaging that must be used or avoided is a pivotal step in meeting compliance needs. Depending on your industry, your writers will need compliance guidance on:
- Logos, branding, and taglines
- Alerts and warnings
- Absolute language
- Customer testimonials
- Product claims and outcomes
With Acrolinx, you can bring your terminology guidance into the authoring environments of your writers. You can set preferred, unsuitable, and content-dependent terms to keep your content creators compliant:
Likewise, you can also determine pre-approved messaging for marketing too. Take a look below to see how you can configure your preferred messaging
Step 3: Develop comprehensive content guidelines
This is an obvious one: Your enterprise needs to have clear and detailed content guidelines. This is where your list of approved terms and messaging are essential in mitigating compliance risk. These guidelines, typically captured in a style guide, need to include policies and standards around:
- Correctness (grammar and spelling)
- Company-specific terminology
- Approved messaging
- Tone of voice
If you want to learn how to develop your own content style guide, check out our comprehensive guide. Plus the image below shows how you can configure your style guide with Acrolinx:
Regardless of compliance constraints, you need to be sure your content creators are consistently and accurately using company-specific words and phrases. Not only will it reduce customer confusion, but it will provide the unified customer experience that builds trust within your customer base.
It also provides clarity around your product descriptions, which is vital when you take into account the regulations around product safety.
Step 4: Conduct regular compliance audits
It’s also important to conduct periodic compliance audits of existing marketing content. This can be done in-house through self-audits that focus on identifying potential areas of non-compliance and risky content. From there, you can prioritize which content you need to address first and focus on ways to improve it based on your findings.
Acrolinx customers have a number of ways to check published content for compliance issues. The Content Analyzer is a great way to spot check a content repository quickly. The Content Analyzer will provide Acrolinx Scores to help you understand which content pieces have compliance issues. This is a fast and easy way to analyze any content gaps.
For a more strategic approach, and to support your content governance strategy, Acrolinx can continually check your content every week for compliance and quality issues. Published web pages receive Acrolinx Scores for quality. The system can then prioritize issues by type, including compliance, and export and send detailed information to the content team. These details include the type of content, its location, the specific issue or problem, and a clickable replacement to fix it.
Step 5: Educate and train employees
Training also has a role to play here. Remember all those pesky compliance courses that employees need to complete? They’re very important when it comes to sharing compliance knowledge and information.
And you shouldn’t stop at compliance training. Think back to that content style guide we discussed. You also need to educate your employees on your content guidelines. And no, this doesn’t mean sharing out a PDF document and expecting your employees to memorize it. Instead, you need to bring your guidelines to the authoring environments where your content writers work.
Acrolinx’s authoring assistant Sidebar has over 50 integrations and provides immediate feedback to writers to make sure their content is compliant. Regular checking with the Acrolinx Sidebar encourages a compliance-oriented culture too, so you’ll notice the benefits reverberate through your organization if you roll out Acrolinx enterprise-wide.
Step 6: Implement technology solutions for compliance
Introducing Acrolinx into your organization helps you streamline your marketing compliance efforts. By quality checking both pre-existing and newly created content, you prevent the publication of non-compliant and risky content. By checking your content against clarity, consistency, correctness, inclusivity, and terminology standards, you can rest assured your content meets your expectations.
In conjunction with tools like compliance management software and automated approval processes, you’ll be in a strong position to secure enterprise compliance.
Acrolinx automated checks integrate into different stages of your content process and let you automate scans throughout the content lifecycle. For example, you could set up a quality gate, blocking the publication of content until it meets your business objectives and your content standards. Acrolinx gives you both insight and actionable feedback on your content’s strengths and weaknesses.
Manufacturing + Acrolinx = compliance
Every manufacturing company needs to take precautions to protect from non-compliant marketing content. In fact, this extends beyond the marketing department — all departments within a manufacturing company need to be creating compliant content.
It starts with staying up to date with regulatory changes, conducting audits, building a content style guide, and educating employees. But the final step never ends in successful organizations: harnessing technology to fuel compliance.
The security that quality-checking content provides a manufacturing company is invaluable. New products, research, and regulation changes are constantly requiring manufacturing companies to review and update their existing content – leaving many exposed to compliance issues. Acrolinx reduces these risks by giving manufacturing companies like yours the ability to flawlessly manage your editorial process. Let’s talk if you want to learn more.