Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Tips for Pharma Content

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This post was authored by @MikeMadarasz of the Institute for International Research

Strategy behind content creation is a favorite topic among many industry blogs. On a given day, there are numerous articles on best practices for cultivating content that matriculate through social media. From a high level, most are in agreement on the best practices in social— Provide content of value, reciprocate engagement with your audience, balance promotional efforts, etc.  The issue is many want to apply these strategies in a sort of “cookie cutter” approach.  For example, to say there is a “best time to post” for certain networks may be a little bit of a stretch. Yes, there are peak traffic times for these sites but that doesn’t mean your specific audience is most willing to engage in that same window. 

The reality is that in a perfect world, social media should be considered on a case-by-case basis or at the very least, an industry specific basis. This brings us to the pharma industry where everything is so highly regulated it’s often difficult to draw comparisons across other industries. Sam Stern of Modallic recently looked at content marketing specifically through the lens of the pharma space. Says Stern, “Not too long ago… digital health firms only needed to create content when they had something new to say… Those days are long gone. To succeed now, mHealth firms need to constantly produce new content.”

Stern cites the hardest part of content creation as coming up with relevant, interesting and lively content— No easy task in a niche industry such as pharma. So what are some of the ways content marketers can do this?  Glad you asked.

       1. Follow Industry News

         Keeping up with a constant flow of information can be an intimidating task especially in                            today’s noise-filled world. There are ways, however, to help the right content find you.
  • Set up RSS feeds from relevant industry bloggers and news outlets that provide the content you want and need.  A couple of our favorites are Fierce Pharma and The Pharma Times.
  • Subscribe to industry newsletters that cover the niche areas you’re interested in, your vendors, and even your competitors.
  • Create Twitter lists of pharma thought leaders to help keep a pulse on the industry.  Some recommendations for pharma would be @pharmaguy, @Alex__Butler and @drwalker_rph.

2. Monitor Social Conversations

Social gives your patients and customers a voice and provides real-time feedback. This a great way to informally take the temperature of the sentiment around your product. Any trends you see in feedback provide an opportunity to produce content that you know will be relevant and meaningful to your audience.

3. Repurpose Content

Producing new content is big challenge for everyone especially when factoring in limited time and resources. There’s no reason you can’t get more mileage out of content already in your library as long you present it in a new, fresh way. For example, a YouTube video doesn’t have to live as a standalone clip. Develop a blog post around it and pull some key findings from the video that will get your audience thinking. You may even be providing a fresh perspective on that piece. Isn’t that one of the ideas of social anyway?

4. Conduct Original Research

By nature, those generally involved in the pharma and healthcare space both desire fresh information and are willing to educate. Those two things lend themselves to the consumption of original research. As Stern says, “You don’t need an army of clipboard-toting researchers to produce exciting, interesting new data.” Tools like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo offer free and paid services where you can quickly craft surveys about topics of interest to your customers. This kind of research can easily be shared through press releases, blog posts or Twitter and can be a great step in presenting yourself as a thought leader in the space.

5. Look Beyond Your Industry and Audience

Yes, content needs to be specific to your audience to ensure you are driving the right kind of traffic but that doesn't mean you can’t get creative by stepping outside those boundaries occasionally. People want to share interesting pieces and if you can give a unique take on something by relating it to current events or the latest blockbuster hit, you’re one step closer to that. And trust me, you wouldn't be the first person to spoof Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar selfie.




New addition to this year's ePharma West 2014: A full day dedicated to content marketing. What it is, how to match it to specific channels and how to re-purpose what you already have.  We've got more information here.

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