Skip to main content
5 minute read

Beyond content: Improving access and reach

Content strategists will tell you that “content is the user experience”. Relevant and informative content always plays a key role in building trust and retaining your audience, but is it enough these days? AI tools are now spitting out content faster than we can read it, and influencers are flooding social media with daily content...

by Thomas Michalak
04 July 23
  • Content strategy
  • UX Design

Originally posted in Pharmaphorum: 

Here’s how to make your content work harder, go deeper with your content strategy, and ensure the best possible accessibility so all this investment doesn’t go to waste.

Content might be king, but context is queen.

HCP journeys are not linear - their needs change daily with their environment and context. Monday can be all about team management, while the rest of the week focuses on surgery, outpatient clinics, or clinical trial design.

Buying a drill bit is a great analogy. We don’t want a hole in our wall; we want to hang a frame. HCPs don’t want to read prescription information, they want to better support their patient with their treatments. Always frame your content to match a real-life context.

Understanding and defining your audience should always be your first step. This will help you prioritise the format and topics for each channel. There is no need to aim to own all possible channels; rather, focus on excelling in a few. Just because you can create content for every channel doesn’t mean you should.

Once defined, create content that can fit multiple contexts by matching a channel’s typical interaction model or dialling up or down the level of detail, but always remember to contextualise your content using real-life events.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

You’ve managed to get your audience to your website. Your content is perfect, meeting and exceeding HCP needs and expectations, but how accessible is it to them? How easily can HCPs find, access, and consume your content?

Optimisation of your content and platform for high usability and accessibility is one of the lowest-hanging fruits on your prioritisation list and will provide the highest ROI. Investing in usability testing and an accessibility audit will identify blockers between your audience and your content. Actioning on usability insights is often straightforward and cost-effective as you focus your resources on specific problems in your journey.

Although crucial, increasing motivation is expensive as it requires a long-term investment in understanding your audience and its needs. On the other hand, reducing the effort in taking action will instantly increase access, as HCPs will require less time and effort to “just check if this is what I’m looking for”. For example, reducing the number of clicks to only one required action per step, following WCAG accessibility standards.

Consider using established benchmarking metrics such as Customer Effort Score or System Usability Scale to measure the accessibility and usability of your platforms or services. Measuring effort can be a great way to learn what works and apply it to other services or platforms.

It's easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back

Although branding within life sciences isn’t the same as branding for lifestyle brands, trust is still a fundamental part of building your brand identity. HCPs are still subject to behavioural science techniques - anchoring, rewarding, and loyalty still apply, and you should spend a healthy part of your budget developing your brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty in pharma isn’t only demonstrated through efficacy and reps. HCPs have to continuously acquire knowledge; it is a professional requirement. This ensures that they can make better medical decisions and improve their practice. Your capacity to support and help HCPs improve their skills and knowledge and feed their passion is an effective way to create a positive connection to your brand.

As Seth Godin said, “It's easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back”, which brings us to the issue of consent in pharma. A major blocker to putting relevant content in front of HCPs, at the right time, in the right context, is consent. Consent is the key to your omnichannel strategy: without it, there isn’t any omnichannel strategy, as you will be operating blind. Consent is the mutual agreement between two parties, and in the digital world, it materialises with an exchange of data. You provide an excellent service, and HCPs will pay with their consent.

Think about your profession: you are likely to be looking to improve at your job and learn from your peers. The same principle applies to HCPs. Position your brand as their best career partner, by creating services and products that help them progress, from improving their leadership skills to designing better clinical trials, or developing new skills with emerging technologies.

Show that you’re here to listen and support, lead with medical content, not commercial, and support the medical community, and consent will follow.

Remember that HCPs are also most likely to direct patients to your content, either to consume in their own time or to clarify its meaning during a consultation. Gaining HCPs’ trust will most likely extend your content reach amongst patient audiences, too.

Learn, create, measure, repeat.

You’ve learned your audience's needs, understood the context, and have a frictionless journey. How do you know what is performing or not?

Traditional digital marketing metrics are often defined by time spent on a page, bounce rate, or page views. Instead, think about content as an enabler. What are you expecting your audience to do next? Share patient material, order samples, prescribe to a different patient group, or debate with their peers?

Some metrics will only be accessible through qualitative research, but quantitative insights can still be collected with relevant calls to action or A/B tests within your content.

Final words

AI-generated content is about to change the rules of content strategies by taking over many of our tasks. Everybody will soon be able to release content faster than ever. The only thing left is our emotional intelligence, our capacity to empathise with our audience. Your ability to make every interaction genuine and relevant will create trust and consent, two values that will soon be the key to reaching your audience.

Interested in discovering more about optimising HCPs digital experience?

A medical professional with stethoscope round their neck sits at a desk and types on a laptop
4 minute read

How can pharma teams build trust with HCPs with their digital content and products?

  • Pharmaceutical
  • User research
  • Customer Experience
HCP using laptop and phone Design Systems Website image gallery
5 minute read

Creating easy-to-navigate digital experiences for HCPs with a well implemented design system

  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Design
HCP checks x ray on lightbox Medium
7 minute read

Conducting effective user research with HCPs

  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceutical
  • User research