With most consumers and physicians actively looking online for health information, pharma companies should embrace content marketing like other industries, [writes Michael Maher is a former VP at Precisioneffect and president at ID Health]. Such intense interest in health content is a rich opportunity to engage, inform, support, and motivate key customer constituencies.
Why content marketing? The declining effectiveness of traditional interruption advertising requires better-performing approaches to reach and engage a target audience. Content marketing's pull editorial strategy delivers relevant information that customers look forward to receiving, unlike so much advertising they prefer to avoid. It enables marketers to communicate with prospects and customers without selling, by building a loyal audience that is ultimately motivated to reward brands with their business.
Here are five of the most effective content media vehicles:
- Content modules: A form of paid media, this robust, targeted, and interactive brand content is integrated into relevant publisher sites where customers often seek information, like WebMD.
- Native advertising: These paid ads “are so cohesive with the page content…that (the) viewer simply feels that they belong,” like Facebook in-feed ads. They are very effective, especially on mobile, but can deceive consumers, so be sure to clearly disclose that it's a paid ad.
- Sponsored links: Firms like Outbrain and Taboola blend sponsored links into publisher content, often titled “Around the Web” or “You May Like,” and readers click to advertiser web sites.
- Video: Maximizing video opportunities requires distributing content off the brand site, including a YouTube channel, social media placements, and video ads such as pre-roll.
- Distributed feeds: Content distribution feed options abound, including social media like LinkedIn and Twitter, blog integration and sponsorship, or brands' e-newsletters and RSS feeds.
Healthcare lags some two years behind other industries in content marketing, claims the Content Marketing Institute, because it overrelies on print and underutilizes digital. As a result, healthcare information seekers, whether patients or HCPs, too often make important decisions without essential information.
Pharma can help fill this void by expanding the content they provide, which too often is limited to dosing, drug interactions, and vaccine information. Since most doctors use search to inform clinical decisions, richer content will better meet their needs, and reach many HCPs inaccessible to reps. Similarly, as patients take more control of healthcare decisions, despite low health literacy, pharma can empower consumers with information that is helpful, clear, and accurate, without confusing jargon.