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Thought leadership

Creating Effective Content: Make It Useful, Make It Usable

Courtney Bryson, Evoke Associate Director, StrategyBy Courtney Bryson, Associate Director, Strategy

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We see it time and again—pharmaceutical brands with an overwhelming abundance of assets with little strategic direction, optimization, or measurement plans behind them. We’ve seen this range from underutilized unbranded resources, to a full website that hasn’t been optimized in over a year, to content that’s been copied across a multitude of channels. Brand and business objectives shift, positioning statements change, and research reveals the most impactful messaging for core audiences. Generating great content that has a clear business purpose starts with a clear content strategy.

What does content strategy actually mean?

Content strategy is the creation and governance of useful and usable content.

  • Useful content is based on a direct customer insight or need and is in line with a brand business or strategic objective.
  • Usable content means deploying across formats that are easily accessible throughout the course of customers’ day-to-day activities.

Content strategy is a buzzword in marketing, yet in a recent CMI survey only 33% of marketers reported actually having a documented content marketing strategy.

When it comes to developing your own content strategy, we have identified three key steps to help ensure more meaningful, measurable, and effective content creation in the future.

Step 1: Audit & Categorize Your Content

Pharma clearly does not struggle to develop consumer and HCP-facing materials (sales materials, disease awareness-level resources, social content, print pieces—the list goes on). The best way to parse through and audit this content is through a content management system, a basic spreadsheet, or even the wall of a conference room. There are several ways to categorize or organize content as you move through the audit. A few different lenses include:

Target Audience Segments

The way in which you identify your core audience is an important means of organizing existing content and developing new content. For example, you can quickly identify a content gap if “Stanley the Skeptic,” has an inordinate amount of content that pertains to his needs, but “Larry the Loyalist,” is not being addressed.

The Brand Story

Key elements of a brand story, such as disease state, efficacy, clinical trials, and dosing, are often told throughout multiple assets. Organizing content by these elements, with the added overlay of target audience, allows for a more accurate understanding of which areas of the story need to be emphasized in future content creation.

The Customer Journey

Key moments of influence can be pulled out as a way to categorize content that influence the journey and eventual Rx decision.

As you move through this process, you may identify content you feel should be revised or removed entirely. If this is the case, consult Medical/Regulatory to ensure that removal of these pieces align to any existing brand requirements.

Step 2: Conduct a Gap Analysis

Organizing content through the audit and categorization process above allows you to accurately identify what pieces you’re missing, need to update, or remove. And a gap analysis can provide a clear picture of what does and does not align to brand and business objectives and provides essential information for the next step: content planning. Within the gap analysis, identify:

  • What needs to be created
  • What needs optimization
  • What needs to be reduced

This gap analysis should be prioritized based on alignment with brand objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Step 3: Finalize Your Content Plan & Strategy

Having a documented content strategy aligns assets to business goals and establishes trust in a brand by meeting patient and HCP needs and improving their experience within a disease or condition. Great content strategy can also improve SEO, drive inbound web traffic, and create efficiencies if your brand experiences a change. A documented content strategy outlines the following:

  • Mission statement and goals
  • Definition of target audiences (including unmet content needs), and brand story
  • Content channels, cadence, and topics
  • Content calendar (if applicable)
  • Content tone, voice, and style
  • KPIs

There’s a clear difference between creating content and creating effective content that truly propels your brand forward. Content planning like this can help you share information that helps both patients and physicians gets answers more quickly. And the best way to start, is by ensuring there’s a full understanding of what’s been created in the past to inform an optimized and improved experience in the future.

The Evoke Center of Excellence on content marketing helps pharmaceutical and healthcare marketers enhance the value of their programs. Our cross-disciplinary experience includes staying abreast of best practices, exploring new and unique channels to engage with both physicians and consumers, and alerting our clients of newsworthy alerts as they happen. To request case studies or more information, contact