How to use content marketing for pharma

  • Content marketing when compared to paid search, gets three times the leads per dollar spent.
  • Web sites publishing 16-plus posts a month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than businesses publishing zero to four articles.
  • 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
  • Online health seekers are overwhelmed with the mount of online health content and 85% would prefer to get all their questions answered on ONE site.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The key to good content is an in depth understanding of your audience’s needs when it comes to health information.[/inlinetweet] The best way to do this is through good old fashioned qualitative research.  A great example was the research I led for a company for an asthma drug product.

Research with asthma suffers indicated that they wanted more information about how to live with asthma, what to look for when it comes to serious asthma attacks and how others were coping with a loved one who had serious asthma.  With this information at hand, we asked some of our thought leaders if they would be willing to write some content for the website and to my surprise the three we asked said “yes”.  In addition, they wanted to know more about what type of information, patients wanted and needed.

We gave a thought leaders a summary of the key findings from the research and asked them to write an article that was not more than 800-1000 words.  We also told them that we did not want the material to be “promotional” in nature and that it had to be edited by our legal, media and regulatory people.  They submitted ideas and within two weeks we had three articles ready to go.

The next step was to contact third party providers like John Hopkins Medical School, Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic to inquire about licensing content.  Due to our legal and regulatory people we had to ensure that they would allow us to edit the content and although they wanted to review the edits they agreed.

Keep in mind that I was able to get this through MLR by working closely with them and informing them as to why we should use 3rd party content. I shared the insights from the research with them and earned their trust by working very closely with all members of the team.

The results were almost immediate.  Within one week of going live with the 3rd party content we found that the pages were among the top 10% of all page views and time on each page was over 4 minutes which in Internet time is a small miracle.   Analytics also indicated that people were  sharing the information with other asthma suffers.  A pop-up controlled survey clearly showed that people rated the content 4.8 on a score of 1(not valuable) to 5(highly valuable) but the real payoff occurred when a sales person sent out a group voice mail saying that he had two physicians within his area who said patients brought in the pages to talk about asthma and new treatments.

To me the key was an in depth understanding of my patients needs along with being able to convince a Marketing Director to free up some dollars for qual research.  We shared what we had done via a lunch and learn and I believe it was a win for our audience and for the company.

Today you can of course listen to your audience on social media, but you still need to quantify informational needs and that is where some good qualitative research comes in.  Over time we refreshed the content and our bounce rate declined at the same time that return visitors increased.  Will this work for all products and health conditions?  I’m not sure, but good ground and pound marketing are sure to identify some great opportunities.