Content Strategy for pharma: Maturing your approach in 2016

Liz Inskip, Adwoa Baah|26th January 2016

Content isn’t new. It’s something that the industry has been talking about for several years now, and the phrase ‘Content is King’ has been around for what feels like aeons. However, the way that many pharma and healthcare brands think about content strategy – the creation, management, storage, and governance of content – hasn’t matured in quite the same way as their multichannel marketing strategy has. And with multichannel marketing has come a common adverse event – channel stuffing to get around a lack of relevant content.

In this article, Consultant Adwoa Baah and Content Marketing Manager Liz Inskip take us through three things pharma can do to improve content strategy maturity within their organisations in 2016.

Define what content strategy is in your company

Content Strategy” can take many different forms, so what’s important first and foremost is that you take a look at how your brands currently work with content. If yours is like most companies, there won’t be an organisation-wide process in place. It will be down to individual brand teams to decide how they create, distribute, manage, and govern their content. This might work for some teams, but ultimately, you’ll want to ensure that there are best practice guidelines that teams can turn to.

For some companies, a content strategy might be a way to ensure that content isn’t created gratuitously and then lost in a database somewhere. For other companies, it will ensure that assets get through compliance and approval in a faster, more streamlined manner. What are the challenges around content your company needs to solve? Define those, and you’re off to an excellent start.

Think differently about content; both as an approach and a unit

When thinking about content, many people think that means the final deliverables - the posters or eDetails - but that’s an old way of thinking. Content for our purposes is modular - each piece of content is one element of an asset. An asset may use multiple ‘chunks’ of content within it to convey the right messages in the right format to the right customer. This is a different approach to content creation and delivery, and it requires a shift in thinking.

This type of content is also more flexible, and ready to adapt to a multitude of different channels and platforms. Pharma and healthcare are both industries where technology is driving change, but given that we don’t know how technology will change and evolve over time, or what the next iPad or Oculus Rift will be, it’s critical that we future-proof content as much as possible.

Content management and governance is more than choosing a CMS

Another misconception around content strategy is that the management aspect is handled entirely by choosing a content management system (CMS) and getting someone to upload content into it regularly. However, in order to keep track of all the content a company or brand has created, as well as track and measure performance, both a CMS and a content manager need to be in place. By ‘content manager, we mean someone to ensure that content is not only uploaded and accessible, but that all relevant parties know where to find it and how to access it, what it should be used for, and how it should be implemented.

Content management is a balance of the right tools and the right resources and skills. There is a new content paradigm coming into play, and it’s important to have someone on board who understands that shift so the company can move forward.

 

The bottom line for pharma is that developing and piloting a content strategy should be top of the list for 2016. How customers consume and use content has changed, and technology is constantly evolving – if pharma wants to stay ahead of the curve, it will have to adapt its way of thinking about content and get more strategic about creation, deployment, management, and governance.

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