Content Strategy: What Is It and Why Does Every Pharma Need One?


Pharma target audiences ranging from healthcare providers (HCPs) to patients want valuable content that can help them make better decisions — and it's no secret that they are going digital to get it.

Unfortunately, pharmas that can’t deliver valuable and engaging content to the right audiences through the right channels risk losing brand loyalty and market share to competitors that can.

To satisfy the content needs of target audiences in today’s digital age — pharmas must be able to develop and execute effective content strategies.

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What Is a Content Strategy and Why Is It Important?

Let’s start by making the distinction between a content strategy and a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy involves tactical level execution — the creation and distribution of content that builds brand awareness, engages target audiences, and drives actions that satisfy business objectives (e.g. mobile app downloads, eP2P meeting attendance, and other online “coversion” goals).

A content strategy on the other hand involves strategic level planning — assessing editorial and technical input from key stakeholders in order to achieve a holistic understanding the company’s capabilities, goals, and content lifecycle management.

Developing a cohesive strategy that satisfies an organization’s content needs is important for the following reasons:

1. To achieve company-wide alignment on the goals and purposes of content
2. To improve the quality and efficiency of content produced
3. To produce the right content for the right target audience(s)
4. To enhance brand awareness and loyalty
5. To generate interest in the brand’s products and services

What Do Pharmas Need to Create Effective Content Strategies?

Creating a content strategy is a team effort that requires keen editorial knowledge, technical input, and a thorough understanding of the content lifecycle.

In short, creating a successful content strategy is dependent on aligning the following perspectives:

The Editorial Perspective
The editorial perspective comes from subject matter experts (SMEs) involved in the content creation process such as an organization’s content marketer, writer/editor, marketing manager, and/or social media marketing manager.

Editorial input provides answers to the following questions:

  • How many target personas/audiences should content be created for?
  • What content types, topics, and channels do target personas/audiences prefer?
  • What business objectives should content support?
  • What content engagement goals and “conversion” metrics should be tracked?
  • How will content be used to engage and funnel target audiences through user journeys on digital assets such as mobile apps, interactive visual aid (IVA), and websites?

Editorial SME input is crucial for ensuring that quality content is created that engages and satisfies the needs of target audiences through the channels they prefer.

The Technological Perspective
The technological perspective comes from SMEs involved in user experience (UX), user interface (UI), digital analytics/SEO, and digital/social media marketing.

Technological input provides answers to the following questions:

  • What tools will be used to measure and improve content effectiveness?
  • What content types and topics perform the best among different target audiences (e.g. infographics, IVAs, and articles)?
  • What content distribution channels are most effective at delivering different types of content (e.g. Facebook, blogs, and forums)?
  • What behaviors and technologies enable customers use to complete key “conversion” tasks such as downloading a mobile app, filling out a form, or joining a pharma-owned HCP/patient community.

Quality content is nothing without the channels to share it and the tools to measure and improve it. That’s why UX/UI design, digital/social media marketing, and analytics insights are crucial for a developing and maintaining a successful content strategy.

The Content Lifecycle
The content lifecycle is the driving force behind every successful content strategy. A successful content strategy cannot be implemented without understanding the content lifecycle — the continuous process through which content is planned, created, managed, measured, and optimized.

Here are the four stages of the content lifecycle:

1. Planning: Create a content strategy that outlines what kinds of content will be created, who will create that content, if the content will be localized for other markets, SEO optimization of content, channels for publication, and what goals should be achieved (e.g. drive mobile app downloads).

2. Workflow: Implement a content workflow that clearly defines the processes and responsibilities for creating, editing, approving content for publication.

3. Management: Manage the publication, storage, and revision of published content. Having a good content management system (CMS) can simplify many of these processes.

4. Optimization: Monitor the performance of published content and optimize by determining which channels, devices, and content types/topics drive engagement and conversions.

The most important thing to remember is that lifecycle management is a constant process — insights gained from the optimization phase of the content lifecycle should always be incorporated into the planning phase to create a continuous process that adapts to changing audience preferences.

What’s Your Content Strategy?

Developing a content strategy can be a daunting task, especially for organizations lacking the in-house editorial, marketing, and technical expertise required to create one.

Finding the right personnel to fit these roles can be a time-consuming process, but it’s possible to hire freelancers with the right skills needed to get the organization’s content strategy off the ground.

Another option is to partner with an experienced digital innovation agency that not only understands how to create engaging content for target audiences ranging from HCPs to patients — but how to measure and optimize content performance too.

How has your organization benefitted from developing a content strategy? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment box below!

Image Credit: Pixabay