Pharma marketers, publishers, and agencies agree: Content is key to standing out in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Recognizing the significance of content, brands have historically invested in resources on their owned and operated sites, social programs, and publisher sponsorships. Yet content marketers are at a loss when it comes to calculating the holistic impact of their investment. Publishers rely on proprietary methodologies and benchmarks, while the different teams managing paid, owned, and social channels often fail to share learnings, overall resulting in inconsistent measurement and insights.

Successful content marketing requires understanding how content influences behavior throughout the patient journey. Only through holistic measurement and strategic distribution can pharma marketers ensure that they are investing in content that will drive bottom-line impact for their brands.

Understand What Works

Brands need to standardize measurement across all of their content programs in order to understand the impact on their audiences. Creating a singular baseline for performance will help pharma marketers tap into what types of content drive online engagement and patient actions, and therefore what they should continue promoting and creating.

Content creation then becomes a conversation about quality, not quantity, rooted in understanding what truly forges a connection with consumers. “Great content connects with consumers, and connection establishes trust,” says Kate Greengrove, Senior Director of Content Strategy and Operations at GlaxoSmithKline. Identifying what influences consumers throughout the patient journey—topics and themes that attract attention, formats that drive engagement, and calls-to-action that inspire treatment requests—will enable brands to create data-driven content that builds a meaningful relationship with their patients.

Reach Consumers Where It Matters

Jonathan Perelman, formerly of BuzzFeed, said it best: “Content is King, but Distribution is Queen, and She wears the pants.” In today’s world of empowered health consumers, brands need to go a step further than creating the right content. They need to get it in front of the right people in the right channels and environments. That means having a distribution strategy that recognizes that patients are more than their condition; they’re parents, athletes, chefs, world travelers…they’re people. And they visit sites other than health publishers.

Distribution across categorical sites like food & drink, travel, or beauty enables brands to meet patients where they are, and empowers consumers to lean in when engagement is driven by interests other than treatment. The diabetes drug sponsoring “5 Type 2 Diabetes-Friendly Dinners the Whole Family Will Love” on Saveur just saved one mom’s week—and maybe prompted her to sign up for a weekly newsletter. The travel enthusiast researching Fodor’s Travel Guides will save “Managing a Migraine on Vacation” and may ask his physician about treatment before his next trip. And not only will the beauty influencer click into JustLuxe’s “8 Celebrities with Psoriasis Share Their Best Secrets,” she’ll probably share it on her story, too. This type of content complements, rather than replaces, condition-specific info on endemic sites, and connects with consumers in a more personal and authentic way.

Pharma marketers will always be challenged to help their brands stand out in a crowded and complex landscape. The key to doing so is storytelling that is informed by a true understanding of how content aligns with the patient journey and patient actions. Holistic measurement will enable pharma marketers to identify their most influential stories, while powering strategic distribution that helps brands tell their story where and when it will have the most impact.

  • Jill Jacobson

    Jill Jacobson is an Account Director at Nativo, where she leads the Health & Pharmaceutical vertical, including consumer and HCP strategy and sales. Jill launched her career at Everyday Health, where she worked across EDH, MedPage Today, Mayo Clinic, and What To Expect, gaining an education in the digital health space. At Nativo, Jill is carving a niche for native content in pharma marketing by helping brands leverage their own content and Nativo’s unique formats to achieve their business goals.


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