5 Mistakes Pharmas Should Avoid When Creating Patient Education Content

Patient education materials can provide patients and their caregivers with the information they need to make better healthcare decisions — especially when it comes to medications and treatment.

For pharmaceutical companies, this is a valuable opportunity to deliver engaging disease and treatment messages that can improve their brand awareness, perception, and reputation among patients.

When it comes to creating patient education materials, there are several mistakes pharmas should avoid:

1. Creating Content That Is Too Wordy

Every pharma wants to provide patients with the best possible information. However, some pharmas mistakenly believe that "longer is better" when it comes to creating content.

While long-form content is more suitable for a medical audience, patients and the general public don't have the time and patience to read wordy content, especially if they are mobile.

So instead of creating content that is over 1,000 words, features no images, and is written in long blocks of text — do the following:

  • Break down long blocks of text into smaller paragraphs of 2-3 sentences each
  • Break down long lists of items into bullet points (like the list you're reading now)
  • Include relevant, high-resolution images within the text to make content more attractive
  • Turn data into charts and graphs to make it easier for readers to understand complex information

2. Being Overly Promotional

A major mistake some pharmas make is to create patient education content that is too promotional in nature. This can not only get a pharma in trouble with regulatory authorities, it can also damage a pharma's credibility and reputation among patients.

The bottom line is this — patient education content should always focus on the patient's needs and health, not on the pharma's products.

The only thing pharmas need to "sell" to patients is their disease and treatment knowledge. By successfully delivering high-quality, patient-centric content that engages and enlightens audiences, pharmas can build positive relationships and improve brand awareness.

3. Not Planning Your Content Ahead of Time

Creating patient education content on short notice is not a situation pharmas want to be in.

That's because content that is created quickly with minimal or no lead time for editorial and design revision is more likely to have errors — and publishing subpar, error-ridden content can hurt a brand's reputation over time.

Pharmas should plan content by at least one to three months in advance, and create an editorial calendar that maps out what content will be published, who will be responsible for its creation, and when it will be published.

Remember — planning content in advance with an editorial calendar is also a key to developing and implementing an effective pharma content strategy.

4. Not Utilizing the Power of Social Media

It's no secret that more patients are using smartphones to consume and share valuable content through mobile social media.

The convenience of being able to access information "on the go" coupled with the ability of content to go "viral" make social media a valuable tool for expanding a pharma brand's reach online.

Unfortunately, not every pharma is jumping at the chance to develop their social media presence, due to a lack of familiarity or expertise.

However, with the right talent to develop social media guidelines, manage engagement, and create content — pharmas can maximize the power of social media to grow brand awareness online.

5. Not Updating Materials In a Timely Manner

There is no definitive rule about how often you need to update your patient education materials.

However, with digital and medical technology changing rapidly, it's important to adapt materials to the evolving needs and habits of patients.

For example, patients are increasingly going mobile to consume content, leading more pharmas to develop mobile apps to deliver patient education to people on the go.

Meeting the Challenges of Delivering Effective Patient Education Materials

For pharmas in today's digital world, delivering patient education materials is about more than just creating engaging content — it's also about ensuring target audiences receive that content through the channels and devices they prefer.

Of course, the needs and preferences of patients can vary by market, which is why it's recommended to conduct in-depth market research before replicating a patient education delivery strategy.

Otherwise, pharmas risk missing their target audiences by not adapting their content and distribution channels to meet the needs of local audiences.

What do you think is the biggest challenge pharmas face in creating effective patient education materials? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below!

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