Content Curation: A Path to Pharma Social Media Success?

"Content is king." "It's all about the content." "All good social media efforts start and stop with good content." No matter what tired, overused cliché you use, the prevailing thought is that without creating killer content, your social media efforts are doomed.

It's a valid line of thought; content is the currency of social media. At the same time, content is one of the most challenging and time-consuming aspects of an engagement. The burden of producing consistently good content is enough to halt social media efforts before they ever get off the ground.

For pharmaceutical companies, the content burden is even more pronounced. Not only do they face the same demands on content frequency, they also have the added pressure of dealing with strict Food and Drug Administration regulations. This not only limits what healthcare companies are able to say via social media, but also how compelling the content winds up being by the time it's stripped down to comply with existing regulations. It's not an impossible task, but it adds a layer of complexity not faced in all industries.



In highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals or financial services, is there a role for a "content curator" as opposed to a content creator? Is it possible to add value, build relationships and stay engaged if your company is not responsible for churning out content?

Absolutely. If your social media engagement is stuck on content creation planning -- change your plan. Your company can still add value as a content curator. In the pharmaceutical industry, patients crave reliable information that helps them manage their health and feel a sense of community. Healthcare companies can achieve both objectives without ever penning a single blog.

When it comes to health, pharmaceutical companies have added authority. The patient population would welcome their help in identifying content that a credible expert deems reliable.

Did a recent article on managing diabetes appear that offers useful insight? Retweet it. Come across a video on YouTube on how families with a cancer-stricken loved one can best provide support? Share the link. Read a blog post that offers fresh advice on how to safely lose weight? Comment on it, and share it. The patient population will recognize your efforts to sift through the noise and identify factual content, backed by your authority as a respected pharma brand.

Being part of a community does not just mean churning out content. Healthcare companies can engage with patients and identify useful content put out by other reliable sources. Is it a perfect social media engagement? No. But in a space that is beholden to regulations, like Pharma, it's a step on the path to a full social media engagement strategy. So what are you waiting for? Go move some content!

This Just In: Top Pain Relievers
1 Advil
2 Bayer
3 Aleve
4 Motrin
5 Excedrin
6 St. Joseph's
7 Tylenol
Source: Brand Keys Customer
Loyalty Engagement Index 2011

4 comments about "Content Curation: A Path to Pharma Social Media Success? ".
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  1. Johanna Skilling from NYU-SCPS, February 10, 2011 at 8:09 p.m.

    Chris, great article. I'd like to see pharma do everything you suggest and go one step further, thoughtfully curating great content through their portals ... helping patients really make sense of the 8 million or so hits they see after they google their condition. When the model becomes better patient service and advocacy, everyone wins: content creators, pharma curators, and concerned patients and families. Thanks for getting the discussion going!

  2. Chris Iafolla from WCG, February 11, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment Johanna--much appreciated. You hit on a key point: the model has to be about better patient service and advocacy. This creates a far better framework for decision making and keeps pharma companies pointed in the right direction.

  3. Jon Thomas, March 4, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.

    Great post Chris. This reminds me of the emerging title of "Chief Content Officer". That's exactly what pharmaceutical brands need, even if they're simply curating content.

    We featured your article in our recent newsletter ( and webinar (

  4. Rishi Shah from, July 8, 2011 at 7:50 a.m.

    content curation is effective for our gift ideas and gadgets site.

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