Writing With Legal Compliance In Mind

Category: On Writing Posted: January 27th, 2018

I’ve started a new job as a Senior Copywriter and now have to consider highly restrictive legal compliance as part of my regular marketing communications copy.

The regulations are there for a good reason, and I fully support them, but it does make my job a “challenge” (as explained to me in the interview process) and one I’m taking on right now. Anyone who makes a serious breach of these rules can end up with a massive fine or in jail, so it really has been an eye opener for how to go about writing word perfect copy.

Legal Compliance

There’s only one way to go about it, really, you throw yourself in with enthusiasm, think logically, and don’t do anything stupid. Day by day, week by week, you pick up the required skills and I’m on my way there, hopefully, but the industry certainly offers one of the biggest challenges I’ve come across.

Particular phrases aren’t allowed and having a detailed knowledge of the sector will also be enormously advantageous, but barely a month in and that’s not really possible yet.

As such, I have a trusty handbook on one side of some 500 pages. I’m not expecting to memorise that, but I do want to have the core products running around in my head by March of 2018.

Compliance

To help me along, there are two legal departments who have to check everything I write. This, as any copywriter knows, means your best efforts can come back scrawled in the legendary red for corrections.

Any budding copywriters have to get used to this quickly and not let it bother them – it’s a part of any form of writing, whether it’s journalism, creative writing (especially if you want to get published!), and the world of marketing.

This is an extra layer, however, as I have my line manager with his critical, knowledgeable eye ready to make corrections, plus two legal departments. It means the pressure is constantly on but, thanks to over six years’ experience now, I believe I can handle it! Regular cups of tea certainly help.

A New Industry

There is always that shift for copywriters when they start writing in a new industry – some businesses will hold out until they find a writer with experience in that field. This stops the need for training, but in finances there’s really not many copywriters who will have that experience.

It’s a learning process – you put the first few weeks in, correct your errors, adapt, and then move onwards to become a regular part of the team. It’s an enjoyable process – I knew from age 15 what I wanted to do with my career and, although I’m surprised almost 20 years have past since then, I’m glad I stuck to it!

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