Has the thought of compliance ever put your podcasting hopes on hold?
For many advisors, compliance can feel like a time-consuming (and costly) price to pay for any new marketing endeavor – but what if it didn’t have to be?
In our latest webinar, we teamed up with Kyle Happe, Founder and Compliance Specialist at BackStop Compliance Consulting, to learn more about compliance requirements for financial professionals. With more than a decade of experience in the compliance world, Happe knows the ins and outs of podcasting compliance – including where advisors usually get it wrong (and how they can get it right!).
Read on to learn our top eight takeaways from the webinar.
One of Happe’s first tips? Focus on providing information and context rather than recommending specific investments.
“Don’t talk about scenarios or solutions on subjects that you’re not an expert on,” he explains. “Even if you are very well-versed in tax strategies or estate planning, remember to keep it educational to avoid being seen as offering tax advice or estate planning advice.”
Like all your marketing endeavors, anything that could be construed as advice may land you in regulatory trouble. Therefore, ensure your podcast hosts and guests avoid making any overarching, must-do recommendations.
“Be the expert on the areas that you are the expert on,” Happe advises.
In the financial realm, it’s best to avoid discussing topics where you lack substantial knowledge. If you’d like to bring in different perspectives or ideas, a guest-expert is a great option. Of course, you’ll need to vet these guests thoroughly to ensure they can provide valuable and compliant insights, and reflect well on your brand both now and in the future.
Compliance loves planning – and podcasting is no different.
“A great way to make sure you’re keeping everything in line is to have some form of content calendar, so you know what you’re going to talk about before [pressing record].”
A content calendar also helps to ensure you avoid unscripted material and stay on topic throughout the episode(s).
Related: 3 Important Parts of Building Your Advisory Firm’s Content Calendar
Just as you want to avoid giving advice outside of your wheelhouse, you’ll also want to make sure your material is factually accurate. To that end, be sure to use accurate and well-researched data when discussing numbers or strategies.
“To be the most compliant, you really want to plan out your topics in advance so you can research those topics and write an outline,” Happe says. “Compliance loves outlines. You don’t necessarily need to go into so much depth that you’re going to write your witty intro and anecdotal stories, but you want to have an outline showing what you’re talking about.”
Related: How to Find the Right Topics for Your Audience
This tip is likely the most obvious – and maybe the most important! Always edit and review podcast episodes before publishing to ensure compliance.
“The best way to catch errors is to edit and listen to your podcast before you hit publish,” Happe says.
“Ask yourself, ‘Did I provide enough context so that nobody believes I inflated a number? I might have accidentally suggested this is a guarantee or implied that just always be on the safe side.’ Get in there, edit it out and re-record if you need to.”
“A podcast is no different than a newsletter, no different than your website, your emails – it’s communications with the public, and regulations require that you have your proper disclosures on it,” Happe explains.
As a reminder, the SEC dictates that you clearly disclose any relationships or conflicts of interest, even if they seem minor.
Regulatory bodies require that you maintain a well-organized archive of marketing materials, including podcast episodes.
“Archiving helps not just for compliance in this case, but also to help grow your business and reach clients. Keep your archives, of course, readily available. If you have recordings like video, keep those with it. Keep in mind, it is marketing, so therefore it is under regulation.”
Lastly, the most important thing you can do to ensure compliant podcasting is to have open and frequent communication with your compliance department. Before you even begin recording, start with clear compliance guidelines and understand the regulatory requirements before beginning podcasting.
Compliance should also review your podcast episodes and any related materials before you publish them.
With these eight tips in tow, you’re on your way to successful and compliant podcasting.