The phenomena known as content marketing has taken the branding world by storm. It is an effective method of informative and promotional communication that aims to engage your target market through the creation, disbursal and amplification of relevant content.
The purpose of this marketing tactic is to educate a prospective customer about the niche in which he seeks information and to help him make better informed decisions.
Whatever your overall marketing objective maybe: brand awareness, lead generation, customer education etc, content marketing is a powerful tool to attain it. Unfortunately, the diverse applications of content marketing also come with a range of legal issues.
In this day and age, where user content is constantly shared or spun by others-a fine line exists between originality and copyright problems.
One has to be extremely cautious as the utilization of content marketing is primarily for business reasons and if used wrong, then could hold financial implications for your commercial venture. To evade such a situation, it is imperative to know the litigation boundaries to operate within when designing your content marketing strategy.
1. Intellectual Property Issues
According to The Callahan Law Firm Unless you are promoting or sharing content that you created with your own resources, it is vital that you be aware of the intellectual property rights given to the content usage. No matter what the format: videos, infographics, audio, photographs, etc-there will be a framework of law that it will fall within. You and your brand team must ensure that you have the permission to use someone else’s content assets such as hashtags, logo etc. Not only that, you will avoid lawsuits if your marketing agency and your workforce are familiar with the following steps:
Publish Legal Content
Now when we give the above statement (to share legal content), what we mean is that you must distribute information that either you have created or that you have the written consent and support of the original author to disburse. Of course, you must give due credit when required as well. It is important to understand that all content has been drafted by someone and is owned by them. In order to share it on your own marketing platform, you must identify the author and make sure you touch base with him. Get his blessing to publish it and when you do, acknowledge him as the original creator. However, if you are unable to identify the author of a content piece, then the recommended route is to not share it.
Today’s society devours content at an incredible rate. Your target audience is probably no different and demands high quality content frequently. Of course, as a content marketer, you will have other responsibilities and not be able to churn out enough content. It is a norm to hire remote freelance writers or independent contractors to serve this need. When you draw up a contract with them, insert a clause that you own any content generated by them for your company. General copyright law requires this. Then, you can recycle any content created in different formats as you wish.
Accumulate Licences for Images
A lot of stories have circulated on the Internet where well-meaning bloggers published pictures on their sites and were slapped with unanticipated license premiums or even lawsuits for infringing on copyright law. Now, you do not want this to happen to your or to your customers. Acquire and monitor all associated licenses and permissions with any visuals that you wish to share. Remember there may be limitations to this as well and it is important that you function within those parameters.
To demonstrate that your content marketing practices are legal, give due credit to any content format that you republish. The majority of content creators are open to their work being re-shared, however as long as their hard work is acknowledged.
Have a clear branding guideline that you and your team can follow for content marketing purposes. Whenever necessary, ensure that you publish pertinent disclaimers when utilizing trademarks that belong to other players in your industry.
2. Advertising Compliance
Content marketing is a class of advertising only as the purpose is to generate leads and sales conversions. As such, then the laws of advertising do come into place as well.
If you are aiming to share content with a customer segment group that is sensitive in nature, then you must take additional measures to ensure your message is honest and not misleading. These customer groups can include seniors, children or people with special needs. Remaining ethical when marketing to such segments is of the utmost importance as is to maintain content transparency.
As the Brand Manager, if you make any claims about your product, do make sure they are true. If you claim your shampoo is the number one in its category, please do your market research to substantiate this claim. We recommend that you avoid tall stories such as that! Hire an external third party if you must, to verify the marketing claims that you make.
3. Customer Testimonials
Getting existing consumers to sing your brand’s praises is an effective content marketing strategy. it can make a powerful impact on your prospect’s decision and be the difference that pushes him over the purchase line. When engaging in such a practice, it is essential to implement the following.
Do not create customer testimonials that exclude vital information about your brand. Even if it is negative feedback, make sure you share the whole picture.
If you are exchanging anything in material for a customer testimonial (tickets, money), that must be disclosed. For example, if you are a restaurant owner and sponsor a food blogger to write a review for you, then you will need to share that openly.
Get your in-house legal department to provide you with the required guidelines to avoid any content marketing problems. Draft policies and checking procedures that will help you stay on top of your game and will ensure that no hassles come your way.