Whether It's Paid Or Owned, Health Content Is King

Everyday, healthcare marketers and agencies make decisions about how to use content – where to place it, what it should be, when it should be deleted, what tone it should convey. Typically, this involves a few folks – a media planner, a content strategist, and a copywriter -- working against very specific requirements in clearly defined roles. Let’s take a look at two of these: the content strategist and the media planner.

Your media planner is tasked with developing a strategy for where, when, and how much you should be making ad buys to get the greatest impact for your brand.

Your content strategist is taking stock of all the content assets you possess – on and offline – and developing a strategy for what to use how and where to make the biggest impact on engagement with your brand.

Hmmm…it seems like what we’re talking about in both cases is managing the syndication and distribution of content to drive patient and HCP engagement. Yet, all too often content strategists and media planners don’t work together because of a latent assumption that media planners only deal with paid assets and content strategist only deal with owned assets. 



While this traditional setup can work, it’s shortsighted. The way that healthcare consumers get their information today has changed. Most patients use a mix of search, curated content (e.g., WebMD, and pharma sites to get information about conditions and treatments. Then, it is common that they would gravitate towards an owned asset. Hence, the ever growing mix of paid and owned assets requires the attention of both of these content experts working together to get the right mix for the customer engagement you want for your brand. Closer collaboration on where and when content should be placed is necessary to push your customer engagement and associated performance metrics beyond current levels.

Here are ideas for how to get these folks working together in two common scenarios. We’ll use the example of our client as an e-marketer marketing a diabetes product.

Scenario 1: Client says “Hey, I have more budget. What media should I spend it on?”

Old-school method: media planner examines current media performance, makes recommendations for how and where to shift budget across paid placements. Recommendations may include turning the volume up on some ad networks and down on others. May suggest content sponsorships on WedMD or EverydayHealth or rich media placements on appropriate lifestyle outlets, such as More or Family Circle and updating the frequency of messages about the need for understanding their A1C.

New-fangled approach: media planner examines current media performance and provides content strategist with all currently running media, including content sponsorships. Meanwhile the content strategist is updating assessment of owned assets, such as the branded website, unbranded website, a glucose monitoring mobile apps. They get together and take a look at what they have, making decisions about where to invest in new media placements and what content areas of the branded and unbranded website and mobile app should be expanded to better support their diabetes patients. 

Scenario 2: Client says: “We’re shooting product demo videos for our new insulin pump, where should we post them on our site?”

Old-school method: Content strategist or information architect assesses the branded site. Makes recommendations for appropriate placements. May also recommend creating a YouTube channel. 

New-fangled approach: Content strategist assesses the unbranded and branded site(s), mobile assets, as well as social media channels. Media planner assesses current paid media mix, including sponsorships and any rich media placements. The two then work together to determine the best use of the video assets. The result is a plan with a mix of posting videos to the branded site, creating a YouTube channel, and Facebook video posts with recommendations for targeted rich media buys on dLife, paid search placements, and Facebook ad buys. They also suggest a Twitter strategy with promoted trends on A1C awareness to drive to the new videos. 

As the lines between owned and paid media continue to blur and converge, it will become increasingly more important for healthcare marketers and their agency partners to re-examine the traditional roles played by content strategists and media planners. An agency partner is no longer charged with simply curating an owned asset or buying impressions. Its task is far greater: to truly understand the right mix of content across channels to support patients and HCP across the continuum of care. Putting your media planners and content strategists in the room together might be just the place to start.

1 comment about "Whether It's Paid Or Owned, Health Content Is King ".
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  1. Josh Wildstein from Bespoke, May 15, 2012 at 3:25 p.m.

    I find that the biggest issue for Pharma and agencies is that the content that they run media against - regardless of its form - mobile, video, etc. - stinks. Every health website has the same content - in many cases literally licensed from the same source.

    Why dont the agencies and Pharma realize that deeply engaged consumers - the kind they covet - want better. Why dont they use unique content as a way to differentiate their brands and campaigns?

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