Cancer vs Communication. Helping Advocacy Organizations Win the Battle

There’s an immediate and urgent need to advocate for cancer research and for services for families affected by the disease. Fortunately for patients and caregivers, there are innumerable national and international advocacy groups dedicated to cancer research and support (see a partial list at the end of this article). But each of these groups faces the challenge of fighting through multichannel clutter to reach, engage, and persuade their government, academic, and public audiences. A Google search for “cancer advocacy groups” returned 19 million potential links. To succeed, advocacy groups must apply state-of-the-art communication strategies and tactics.

Searching Patient Advocacy on GoogleFrom the patient’s perspective, advocacy groups provide intuitive, informative content that helps them and their caregivers find and coordinate the best available care. For a family in crisis with a new diagnosis or recurrent disease, answers and solutions must be accessible and at their fingertips quickly and without struggle.

Supporting patient and professional advocates

Advocacy groups have their work cut out for them, which is why Arteric works with them to enhance their digital marketing capacity.

For the second year in a row, I had the good fortune to be invited to lead multiple workshops for advocacy group representatives attending the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The 2017 workshop, titled SEO: Exploring the Boundaries of the Possible in Online Patient Advocacy, was designed for staff leaders with responsibilities in digital marketing, communications, and Web channels.

Prior to the workshop, attendees completed a questionnaire about their organization’s online marketing strategy and website assets, including competitor information, to ensure that the workshop addressed each organization’s real-world challenges.

What the audiences learned

Throughout the sessions, the audiences learned best practices and strategies for leading-edge digital marketing, Web development, and SEO. We reviewed each organization’s goals for its Web presence and assessed how effectively its website aligns with these goals. After spirited and insightful conversations, I worked with each organization to help them align their goals with their website tactics and reviewed how to quickly and effectively identify issues that may degrade their sites’ performance in search results. The conversations ranged from YouTube and video search optimization to the implementation of an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbot care navigator.

What I learned

Similarities and differences

These workshops exposed me to a broad spectrum of advocacy organizations — some with 30-page websites that attracted 200 visitors per month, others with thousands of website pages and millions of annual visitors. Their questions were similar:

  • How do we draw more traffic?
  • How can we outrank our competitors?
  • How can we more effectively engage our visitors?
  • How can we make our content easier to navigate?
  • How can we structure and execute on our content strategy?
  • How can we use analytics to decide what kind of content to develop?

The differences lay in each organization’s digital marketing and communication maturity, its available resources, and its vision for how it can best serve its audience. What was consistent was the workshop participants’ commitment and enthusiasm. Their questions drove us to discussions about how to set goals for digital marketing, how to measure progress, what innovative/transformative technologies are available to deepen their engagement, and practical next steps. I was deeply impressed by what small organizations can accomplish with limited resources and how much they’ve learned and progressed from year to year.

Small organizations

I believe that the biggest area of opportunity for small patient advocacy groups is to clearly define their content mission and the measurements they will use to determine if their strategy is working. Then, every 90 days, the group should review both the execution of their content strategy and their key performance indicators, adjusting what they are publishing online based on how well the content is performing. This analysis should be combined with insight mining of their pay-per-click (PPC) performance, search-terms report, and query data from Google Webmasters Search Console. I suggest this analysis because the data often provide inspiration for content that should be published and because Google offers advocacy groups PPC grants based on their status.

Large organizations

I was impressed by the willingness of the exceptionally large and successful advocacy groups to consider new ideas and technologies. Specifically, they have an opportunity to leverage their large content sets (thousands of pages) to build automated/guided experiences for visitors who are seeking answers. Thousands of user-generated discussions about disease, quality of life, and treatment create unique and interesting data sets to train AI. One discussion included the question “Do we hire a team of chat operators to interact with visitors or do we hire a team of chat operators to supervise a chatbot that is being trained to interact with visitors?”

Personally, I find it deeply frustrating to chat with a person online. I send my question. I wait 2 to 3 minutes while the person looks up the answer. I lose interest, switch to another window, waste the operator’s time, and the session dies. I prefer to ask the AI a question, get a pretty good answer, and then have the option to trigger a live chat session if my question wasn’t answered. It’s faster, and I prefer to fail faster.

My day with our advocacy partners reminded me about the breadth and depth of the challenges that they face, as well as the need to provide a variety of tailored solutions to their problems. It inspired me to think deeply about how we can do more with less and about the symbiotic relationships among consumers, advocacy, and brands. I was reminded that our healthcare system relies on a balance of partners — and, that patient advocacy and professional advocacy are essential in connecting stakeholders to the health information patients need to live longer, healthier lives.

Lending a hand

Working with advocacy groups that educate patients, caregivers and professionals is a privilege, but it’s also a natural fit for Arteric for two reasons:

I’m pleased that Dr. DeVita feels that the medical community is gaining the upper hand on cancer and that we are moving toward a world free from cancer; but for the foreseeable future, people affected by cancer will need advocates on multiple fronts. Arteric will continue supporting these organizations. If you want to join the effort, check out the domestic and international advocacy groups listed at the links below.

Push your digital engagement to the max

For two decades, Arteric has developed digital marketing strategies, websites, mobile apps, and Web applications that drive growth for healthcare brands and advocacy organizations. If you’d like me to lead a workshop for your organization, or if you would prefer to schedule a 15-minute conversation to discuss how Arteric can maximize the impact of your digital communication programs, please contact me at 201.558.9910.



Cancer Support Advocacy Groups

References

  1. The growth of the cancer e-patient and their thirst for control. The growth of the cancer e-patient and their thirst for control. info. January 2014 survey. Blog article available at https://www.patientpower.info/blog/2014/04/04/the-growth-of-the-cancer-e-patient-and-their-thirst-for-control. Infographic available at https://www.healthworkscollective.com/cancer-patient-use-internet-medical-information/. Accessed July 9, 2017.
  2. Katz B. Launch planning in a new customer reality. Decision Resources Group. Page 12. Available at http://www.drgdigital.com/ebooks/launch-planning-in-a-new-customer-reality?NoGate. Accessed July 12, 2017.
  3. DeVita VT, DeVita-Raeburn E. The Death of Cancer: After Fifty Years on the Front Lines of Medicine, a Pioneering Oncologist Reveals Why the War on Cancer Is Winnable—and How We Can Get There. New York, NY: Sarah Crichton Books, 2015.
  4. Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute Web site. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics. Updated March 22, 2017. Accessed May 17, 2017.
  5. World Health Organization Web site. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/. Updated February 2017. Accessed May 17, 2017.

 

Heather Eckhaus Promoted to Group Account Director

Arteric, a digital healthcare marketing agency that fuses exceptional software development skill with healthcare marketing expertise to help brands connect patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals with the health information and tools that patients need to live longer, healthier lives is proud to announce the promotion of Heather Eckhaus to Group Account Director.

For more than a decade, Ms. Eckhaus’s digital-first approach has helped clients such as Celgene, Moberg Pharma, J&J, UCB, GlaxoSmithKline and BMS conceive and launch successful multichannel marketing campaigns on time and on budget. Whatever the therapeutic or product area —oncology, immunology, infectious disease, medical devices, Rx or OTC, Ms. Eckhaus formed strong partnerships with all her clients.

Ms. Eckhaus explains. ”It’s essential to put in the time in to learn about a clients’ specific needs, including the organization’s culture, business objectives, past successes and challenges, and the nature of the consumer and competitive environment. I draw from experience, but always craft individualized, strategic recommendations and tactics that align with my client’s specific situation.”

Sean Carr, vice president, account director, shares his thoughts. “Heather has been a great member of the Arteric team. She’s brought invaluable experience and insight to Arteric. Her energy and passion have been instrumental in growing our portfolio and I couldn’t imagine where we would be without her.”

Ms. Eckhaus’s promotion after joining Arteric in February 2016 reflects her impact on strengthening and expanding Arteric’s client base. Arteric president Hans Kaspersetz adds, “Heather inspires confidence from her clients with a friendly, professional approach and a laser-sharp ability to quickly identify what REALLY matters to the success of a digital healthcare marketing project.” Mr. Kaspersetz continues. “At Arteric, everything we do is by design. Heather’s client-centric vision helps ensure that what we develop is what the client truly needs.”

Regarding her time at Arteric, Ms. Eckhaus shares, “It’s an exciting time at Arteric. With several new business wins, strong, long-standing client relationships and innovative, challenging work, I’m thrilled to be a member of the senior account team.”

Arteric Sponsors Digital Pharma West

Arteric, a digital healthcare marketing agency that fuses exceptional software development skill with healthcare marketing expertise to help brands connect patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals with the health information and tools that patients need to live longer, healthier lives announced today that they will again be a major sponsor for the 2017 Digital Pharma West Conference taking place in San Francisco from June 13 to June 15.

Digital Pharma West is one of the healthcare industry’s most eagerly anticipated events. Thought leaders from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies meet with their counterparts from the strategic marketing and marketing technology companies that support their efforts to engage patients and healthcare providers. Representatives from academia and government healthcare offices join these groups to discuss the spectrum of opportunities and challenges that digital technology creates in the healthcare space

Jayson Mercado, head of digital events for ExL Events and lead organizer for Digital Pharma West comments. “We’re happy and lucky to partner with Arteric annually on our Digital Pharma events. Whether it’s how to integrate new technologies, improve patient and HCP communications, or strengthen broader digital strategy, they have their finger on the pulse of the topics being discussed at our conferences. As a digital agency with a deep roster of life science clients, they can weigh in on many of the issues being discussed from multiple perspectives.”

Digital Pharma West is the largest healthcare digital marketing conference on the West Coast, yet is highly regarded for its intimate environment that cultivates frequent, highly productive conversations between attendees from every aspect of pharma development and healthcare marketing. “Arteric’s mission revolves around connecting patients and healthcare providers with life-saving and life-enhancing information — which aligns perfectly with the broad collection of speakers and thought leaders who attend.” states Hans Kaspersetz, Arteric’s president and co-founder. “The opportunity to connect with a broad array of commercial pharma and biotech leaders provides invaluable insight that I can take back and integrate into our client work.”

Attendees will have much to discuss — the comprehensive agenda includes strategy and tactics that affect every stage of the pharma product life cycle and the patient journey. Topics include delivering an end-to-end digital experience for customers and end users, assessing omnichannel user experience, driving digital transformation, and content development technologies. In addition, social media strategy, tactics and technology will be discussed in a separate full-day session.

Mr. Kaspersetz continues, “The variety of topics and the ease of connecting with thought leaders working through challenges similar to those facing our clients creates a tremendous learning opportunity for our team. Meetings like this, Digital Pharma West in particular, give us a sense of what’s being talked about, and more importantly, why it’s being discussed.”

Learn more about Digital Pharma West

Live From New York — It’s MM&M Awards Judging Time!

In June, a small gathering of highly regarded healthcare marketers will meet in a Park Avenue conference center in Manhattan to face a daunting task — select recipients of 2017 MM&M Awards.

These jurors will debate the merits of hundreds of incredibly clever, meticulously planned and exquisitely designed campaigns and their assets to determine who wins these highly coveted awards at the October ceremony. I’m honored and humbled to have been invited by MM&M to serve as a live juror at this June gathering.

The MM&M awards are among the most respected in the healthcare marketing industry. Agencies from around the world compete in nearly three dozen categories to determine best-in-class media and brand programs, outstanding visual and strategic creativity, and exceptional performance within agency teams.

But, I must step back for a moment.

My feelings about awards are somewhat conflicted, and I’m not alone. Award ceremonies generate diverse opinions:

  • “Awards sell tickets, and they’re a clever publicity stunt.” Actor Tony Randall
  • “Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old you are.” Actor Alan Alda
  • “I win my awards at the box office.” Director Cecil B. DeMille

I thoroughly analyze the contestants’ data and creative to evaluate their impact and how the campaigns and tactics moved the needle for the brands and consumers. This performance-driven philosophy is fundamental to what I do every day at Arteric. Everything at Arteric revolves around driving results that truly matter to our clients’ business needs. It’s why we focus on determining which data points and KPIs matter most to our clients’ businesses and then build assets to deliver on them. We believe that our work should be measured, analyzed, and judged against real-world results.

As we become better, more-efficient, more-creative communicators, we ultimately enhance the entire industry’s ability to connect with patients and healthcare providers.

One point is unequivocal — there’s tremendous value in gathering with talented peers to analyze the industry’s latest thinking and gauge where it’s heading. Selecting the best work and celebrating at an event puts everyone on notice to the new standards. The cliché is that a rising tide floats all boats. As we become better, more-efficient, more-creative communicators, we ultimately enhance the entire industry’s ability to connect with patients and healthcare providers. As jurors, we establish new baselines and drive innovation and creativity industry wide.

I’ve served as an online juror for the MM&M awards since 2014. The experience was exceptionally rewarding. Discussing and debating the approaches behind the next generation of best practices in person with the industry’s creative and strategic elite is undeniably icing on the cake.

For these reasons, I enthusiastically approach next month’s gathering of jurors and the earth-shaking ideas that will be my privilege to evaluate. Would I love to see more awards on display at Arteric? Sure, what agency wouldn’t? But even then, my favorite awards will remain those that don’t sit on a shelf or hang from a wall — it’s knowing that the work we do every day improves peoples’ lives and helps them to live longer, healthier, and happier.

Arteric Welcomes Kristen Giordano as Interactive Art Director

Arteric (http://arteric.com), a digital healthcare marketing agency that fuses exceptional software development skill with healthcare marketing expertise to help brands connect patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals with the health information and tools that enable patients to live longer, healthier lives is pleased to announce that Kristen Giordano has joined Arteric’s Creative Services team as an Interactive Art Director.

A graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, Kristen has helped transform strategic vision into award-winning websites, physician portals, interactive training materials and print materials for consumer and healthcare professional audiences. During Kristen’s near decade of increasing responsibility with Ogilvy CommonHealth, she created multichannel campaign assets that helped build and launch multiple brands, among them, Bydureon®(AstraZeneca), Skula®(Bayer), Xarelto®and Yondelis®(Janssen) and Flonase®(GSK).

“Competition is fierce for creative talent with a proven track record of exceptional design and UX (user experience design) skill applied to healthcare campaigns.” states Hans Kaspersetz, co-founder and president of Arteric. “Adding Kristen’s top-tier agency experience to our expanding Creative Services team further enhances our ability to create transformative experiences for our client’s healthcare brands and campaigns.”

Arteric’s Creative Director, Ross O’Shea, who worked previously with Ms. Giordano at Ogilvy CommonHealth, adds, “We’re very excited to have Kristen join the team. Her work ethic is like no other, and her exemplary design and user experience skill is already creating unique, transformative experiences for our clients.”

Mr. Kaspersetz adds, “Arteric’s mission is to help clients explore the boundaries of what’s possible. To do that, we search for people who aren’t afraid to step up, propose what hasn’t been done before and then find a way to make that happen. Kristen’s track record highlights her ability to do just that.”

Bydureon is a trademark of AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP
Skyla are trademarks of Bayer Pharmaceuticals
Yondellis and Xarelto are trademarks of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Flonase is a trademark of GSK

Arteric Technology Utilized in Hypertension Medication Adherence Study at Baylor College of Medicine

OnTimeRx® Automated Reminder Service Tested in Stroke Prevention Program Targeting African-American Women

Arteric is a digital agency, but ultimately, we’re in the life extension business. By blending exceptional software development skills with healthcare marketing expertise, we help brands and healthcare organizations connect patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals with the health information and tools they need to live longer, healthier lives.

Susan Torrico, a career pharmacist and medication-adherence pioneer, is also in the life extension business. In 2000, after watching too many patients lose their transplanted organs because they didn’t follow their anti-rejection treatment regimens, Susan began experimenting with mobile technology as a method to improve medication adherence. As Susan explains, “It was devastating seeing so many people, especially teens, miss out on an opportunity for a healthier life simply because they didn’t take their medication. At that point, I developed the concept that became OnTimeRx®.”

In 2005, Arteric teamed up with Susan to develop the OnTimeRx® Automated Reminder Service — mobile technology that provides Web-based reminder-scheduling and notification messages that are delivered by text message, phone call or email. The Automated Reminder Service is the most recent addition to the OnTimeRx® adherence software collection, which include apps for the iPhone® and iPad®, for Android smartphones, and for Windows® desktop computers. These software apps provide reminders in the form of alarm sounds and/or on-screen notices as an alternative to text messages, phone calls or email.

We’re very interested in determining if the automated phone and email reminders sent by OnTimeRx® improve medication adherence in this at-risk population. Preliminary results from a very small patient population look promising.

In addition to transplant patients, OnTimeRx® technology has been applied in adherence studies involving HIV treatment in young people. It was inspiring to learn that OnTimeRx® software is now being evaluated in a population at risk for hypertension.1 African-American women are more prone to hypertension than non-African Americans — 47.5% vs 28%.2,3 Medication non-adherence can cause these women to develop a decreased threshold for stroke development or an increased progression of cardiovascular disease.

To address this issue, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine are implementing the OnTimeRx® Automated Reminder Service in a pilot study investigating the efficacy of smartphone-based services to improve medication adherence.4 The study is funded by The Lone Star Stroke Consortium, which is a Texas-based collaboration of major stroke centers, and the Texas Nursing Association-District 9.

Study researcher Vanessa Monroe, Clinical Assistant Professor at Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing and PhD Candidate at Texas Woman’s University-Houston, shared these thoughts with us. “We’re very interested in determining if the automated phone and email reminders sent by OnTimeRx® improve medication adherence in this at-risk population.” Vanessa continued, “Preliminary results from a very small patient population look promising. We’re in the midst of adding more patients to the study.”

We’ll keep you informed about Vanessa’s progress, because non-adherence remains a vexing challenge, with rates ranging from 30% to 60% depending on the condition, the treatment, the patient and the setting.4 Medication error rates are just as worrisome — 20% to 80% of patients make mistakes and up to 60% of patients stop their medication too soon.Non-adherence also creates an economic burden. The cost of drug-related morbidity and mortality in the ambulatory setting in the United States has been estimated to be as high as $136 billion.5

Nonadherence has many contributing factors, and so presents a moving target. But mobile communication technology is continually evolving, and we’re evolving our platforms and extending OnTimeRx® functionality to help patients and healthcare providers meet the challenge.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ONTIMERX

Software solutions  from apps to enterprise

Arteric connects patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to the health information they need to live longer, healthier lives. We achieve this by finding and filling unmet needs with intuitive well designed technologies. However needs change and technology evolves, count on Arteric to combine infinite curiosity, what if? thinking and unstoppable software expertise to develop life-changing custom mobile apps and out-of-the-box-ready enterprise solutions for pharma, biotech and life science marketers and the people that they help

For information about OnTimeRx® products, contact Jon Fisher at 201.546.9902.
For information about the clinical trial, contact Vanessa Monroe at 832.971.8682.

OnTimeRx is a registered trademark of Arteric.
Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation                                             iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

References

  1. Monroe V, Dello Stritto R, Langford R, Young A. (2017). Texas Woman’s University-Houston. Testing a Smartphone Application Intervention to Improve Medication Adherence in African American Female Clinic Patients with Unstable High Blood Pressure: A Two Group Randomized Control Trial. Presented at the Southern Nurse Research Society Symposium. Dallas, Texas.
  2. Taylor J, Peternell B, Smith J. (2013). Attitudes toward genetic testing for hypertension among African American women and girls. Nurs Res Pract. 2013;2013:341374. doi:10.1155/2013/341374 
  3. Still C, Craven T, Freedman B, et al. (2015). Baseline characteristics of African Americans in the systolic blood pressure intervention trial. J Am Soc Hypertens. 2015;9(9), 670-679. doi:10.1016/j.jash.2015.06.012
  4. Gottlieb H. Medication Nonadherence: Finding Solutions to a Costly Medical Problem. Medscape. Available at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/409940_6. Accessed May 3, 2017.
  5. Johnson J, Bootman J. (1995) Drug-related morbidity and mortality. A cost-of-illness model. Arch Intern Med (18):1949-56.

Arteric President and Founder Hans Kaspersetz Featured in Life Science Marketing Podcast

Veteran SEO Speaker and Panelist Discusses Foundational and Leading-Edge SEO Tactics for Life Science and Biotech Marketers

SUMMIT, N.J., April 28, 2017 — Arteric (http://arteric.com), a digital healthcare marketing agency that fuses exceptional software development skill with healthcare marketing expertise to help brands connect patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals with the health information they need to live longer, healthier lives announced today that Life Science Marketing Radio, the pre-eminent podcast for life science marketers, published How to Establish Authority by Helping Google Understand Your Niche, presented by Arteric President and founder Hans Kaspersetz.

We need to be thinking about where our users will be down the road, in six months, 12 months, 18 months, and where we think Google’s going to be down the road, in six months, 12 months, 18 months. Then, we need to build content strategies that look that far out.

Following the recording of the radio show, Mr. Kaspersetz said, “Connecting laboratory scientists, clinical research teams, students and clinicians with information about protocols, equipment, reagents, scholarly work and all the other components of their research accelerates discoveries and drives profits for the businesses supporting them. We are driven by the fact that their primary research is transformative and leads to people living longer, healthier lives.”

Mr. Kaspersetz continued, “Digital strategy, content strategy, Web publishing and search engine optimization are essential to breaking through the confusion and noise online and delivering a clear, persuasive educational signal. We’ve been fortunate at Arteric to educate brands, researchers, clinicians and scientists on how to achieve remarkable results online. Our techniques work in pharma, biotech, life science and advocacy communication that requires the marriage of high science and technology. We believe that information should be democratized. Sharing our two decades of Web development and SEO wisdom is the core of our beliefs.”

How do we tell better stories? How do we satisfy users’ query intent more accurately? The best place to start is to see what people are actually searching for.

Chris Conner, founder of Life Science Marketing Radio and former head of global marketing communication for life science instrumentation companies, cites the demand for SEO strategy. “When I led marketing communication teams, I saw the impact of thorough, research-driven SEO and SEM strategies. I also observed the limitations of incomplete SEO, which is why I’m anxious to share Hans’s 360-degree approach to leveraging and applying search engine research.”

Mr. Kaspersetz adds, “Supporting the efforts of the life science community is a natural progression for a healthcare agency like Arteric. As a member of the board of directors for an organization that’s advancing the application of personalized medicine, I see how rapidly research tools like genetic analysis technologies are entering clinical use.”

If you would like to connect with Hans Kaspersetz about your brand or digital communication needs, you can find him at:

  • MM&M Awards, New York, October 2017 — Mr. Kaspersetz is an in-person juror
  • ASCO, Chicago, June 2017 — Mr. Kaspersetz is an invited Coach at Celgene Patient Partners Learning Labs
  • Digital Pharma West, San Francisco, June 2017
  • Digital Pharma East, Philadelphia, October 2017
  • PubCon, Las Vegas, November 2017

Listen to the podcast here:

LEARN MORE AT LIFE SCIENCE MARKETING RADIO

Blogs Don’t Draw Traffic, Content Draws Traffic

Blogs Don't Attract Traffic, Content Does

Recently, I delivered the second in a series of webinars for patient advocacy groups on how to increase traffic. The title of the webinar was Breaking Through the Clutter to Inform Your Audience. This webinar focused on content marketing and content management for patient advocacy.

The presentation covered fundamental content marketing ideas, such as:

  • Alignment of the corporate mission with the editorial mission
  • Alignment of the editorial mission with key measures of success
  • Technical content management and production guidelines for search engine performance

My main thrust was to provide a set of guidelines for evaluating the audience’s content-marketing maturity and evolving their content strategy. My hope was that they would be emboldened to make the hard decisions necessary to focus on their niche and to improve the depth and quality of their content so that they can achieve greater audience engagement.

After the presentation, I was asked,

Do blogs help advocacy organizations drive more people to their Web site, and if so, how?

A nice jargon-filled answer that breaks the rules of content marketing is:

“Yes, a narrowly targeted blog that has high-quality, semantically dense, holistic content and has installments published on a regular basis and that is supported by a multichannel promotional effort will draw traffic and engage the audience.”

However, I think that the question may miss the mark. A blog is a publishing channel. It is a technology and thus will not draw traffic on its own. The choice to use a blog to distribute your organization’s content should be made only after you have developed a content-marketing strategy that includes longer-form content that is published on a temporal basis and after you’ve decided that you will leverage other channels, such as social media, video, or offline events to promote the blog. Blogs don’t draw traffic, content draws traffic.

“Blogs don’t draw traffic, content draws traffic.”

After we ponder the question a bit, it becomes clear that we need to answer some fundamental questions. I want to share some of our thinking on how we approach content strategy.

Questions to Shape Content Marketing Strategy

  • What is our corporate mission?
  • What is our editorial mission?
  • What are our most important goals? (fundraising, engagement, volunteerism?)
  • For whom we publishing for?
  • What do we want our audience to do?
  • How will we know whether we are being successful? What should we measure?
  • What is our budget?
  • What resources can we commit to publishing? Over what period of time?
  • Do we have the expertise to create the content at a sufficient level of quality and depth to compete and rank?
  • Have we looked at the sites listed in the search results that we are targeting?
  • Is there really a need in the market for us to publish on this topic?

If you use melanoma as an example, your answers may sound like this:

Our mission is to publish medical information about melanoma for patients and caregivers.  Our goal is to educate people on the prevention of melanoma and, in the unfortunate event of a diagnosis, to guide people to the most effective available treatment, so that they can stop the progression of their disease and possibly achieve remission.

Our corporate and editorial missions dictate that engagement is our most important goal. So we measure and analyze time on site, number of pages viewed, and unique visitors.

We have a sophisticated budgeting process and have an established annual budget that supports multiple content team members. So we organize the team’s effort and investment to advance toward our written goals.

Finally, there are no other Web sites publishing content with the quality that we will achieve on the topics for which we have the deepest expertise.

While this scenario is an ideal example, achieving this level of finish is a lofty goal that most advocacy groups will not reach.

Creating the Content

Answering the questions above will create the foundation needed to determine your effective strategy.  We decided that our most effective strategy will be to identify topics that would benefit our audience and provide enough information if articles are at least 1200 words long.

Example Image of What 1200 Words Look Like
Effective content for a patient advocacy blog should be roughly 1200 words.

We will ignore the technology as we develop the articles. Then we can put the information on the platform that best suits our strategy. The articles will be highly structured so that sections can be broken up into lists, quotes, infographics, and paragraphs that can stand together or on their own, depending on how we disseminate the content.

Image of well structured content
Structured content is a strong quality signal.

The final draft of each article that we produce, should be written by a professional writer and edited by professional proofreader. The content will be supported by infographics that help convey important information.

Now that the content has been developed we must identify the optimal channel.

Our avenue for publishing may include any of the following: our Web site; our blog; a traditional journal, periodical, or news outlet; an allied publication; a video; a podcast; or a webinar.

Possible channels for distributing content.
Possible channels for distributing content.

Promoting Your Content

To maximize your investment, you must plan the timing of your published content and sharing of your content with news cycles, seasons, or relevant current events to increase traffic.

Once we choose the outlet and the ideal publishing date, we plan our social media and promotional strategy. Social promotion may include teasers to Facebook and Twitter. Making the most out of the content, we also publish the infographics to Instagram or Pinterest.

This effort creates awareness of the article with our audiences and key influencers/connectors.

In order for us to understand which channels are best, we actively monitor their performance.  Our future focus will be on the most productive channels. We will ignore the unproductive channels.

Durable content is created that remains relevant for readers is called evergreen content. When articles fall into this category, we will repeat the promotional efforts every few months or in response to currently trending topics.

Reusing evergreen content will significantly increase the ROI/ROE per article. We can even substitute an old article into the cycle if there is a shortage of topics to publish about.

The key idea is that we created a content asset that can be used in many different ways. We broke it down into reusable components, we published the main asset on our blog, and we used the component pieces across promotional channels to draw the audience into the main asset. We measured as much as we could, and we evaluated the results in the context of our editorial mission and our corporate mission. Through this process, we gained important insights, which then inspired new content and helped to direct our future investments.

Competitive Advantage in Content Marketing

This example is very sophisticated. Fewer than 4% of nonprofits report achieving this level of planning, integration, and execution.

Image Results of Non Profit's Self-Assessment of Their Content Marketing Maturity
Source: 2016 Nonprofit Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/Blackbaud/

This is great news. It means that you do not have to be perfect at content marketing to compete and win your audience. Your organization will be measured along a continuum of content-marketing maturity, and your operational excellence will vary over time. If you take the time to answer the questions I listed above, your performance will likely improve significantly and you will outperform your competitors. You will achieve greater ROI and improve on your key measures of success, whether they be engagement or fundraising.

“Just start, and then build the momentum.”

My advice is to just start, and then build on the momentum. If you are not sure where to start, call Arteric. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you evolve your content-marketing strategy in order to advance your goals.

ARTERIC APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY

Fast-growing pharmaceutical and biotechnology digital agency broadens its digital healthcare capabilities with 15-year veteran.

Summit, NJ (PR.com)- Arteric (http://arteric.com) is pleased to announce that Jon Fisher has joined the company as its new Director of Technology. Jon has worked in technology and digital marketing for 15 years and has spent the past 9 years working in a healthcare marketing agency.

Jon has played a key role in the development of digital strategy for multiple pharmaceutical companies, including Gilead, Astra Zeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Alkermes, Biogen, Abbott, and others across many brands, from pre-launch to full promotional launch.

Jon is well versed in the development of Web sites, customer relationship management programs, mobile apps, e-commerce sites, and digital tactics across the board. Jon is always looking for innovative yet practical solutions to problems in the healthcare environment, while always keeping the end users in mind.

Hans Kaspersetz, co-Founder and President of Arteric, comments:

“As Arteric grows, it’s essential for our teams to have the appropriate mix of skills and experience necessary to grow our business for the long term, and Jon certainly brings that mix.”

Jon has experience across an array of therapeutic categories, including cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, infectious disease, psychiatry, and rheumatology. He says,

“I’m excited to join the team at Arteric. Because of my wealth of experience in digital solutions for so many therapeutic categories, I can help Arteric deliver top-quality work to our clients.”

Jon is from upstate New York, has a passion for travel, and lives by the motto “try anything once.”

About Arteric

Arteric is a digital agency for pharmaceutical and biotechnology brands. Arteric has leading-edge expertise in launching new drug brands and growing corporate brands. Arteric creates inspiring strategies and technologies that improve peoples’ lives.