Content is King…But is it Enough?

Over the years, I have been asked by countless clients ‘how do I make my platform engaging using content?’

The first questions to ask are:

  1. Have I established a need?
  2. Am I meeting that need?
  3. Can I scale up the content so the readers come back?

Establishing a need?

What is your readers’ need? Do they need to be educated about your product, idea, service or platform? Why would they be interested? What value are you providing to them on your website?

If a doctor looks online for information on the latest drug to treat schizophrenia, they need to be educated on how the drug works; the safety profile of the product; how it performed on the
trial etc. before they prescribe the drug. These are your readers’ needs. Make sure you know what they need; establishing a need is the first step, and is critical. Make sure your content matches the need – very simple. If you provide key papers or content meeting the needs of your readers, you have done a good job. Nice star.

Am I meeting that need: what else can I provide?

The doctor in this example will perhaps read the content, or perhaps take key messages from snippets of information depending on how busy they are. They are not necessarily taking in the messages you would like them to; but if they are, great. But how do you know? Are you providing enough of the right stuff to create real engagement?

Providing opportunities for the readers, in this case the doctor, to truly engage and learn is important; assessing the readers’ needs and matching content to it is the first step; getting quantifiable  engagement is another.

That’s why providing things like learning points around key messages in the form of a quick e-learning module for each piece of content is powerful and can provide you with great feedback on whether they are taking away the right messages.

By continuously reviewing the unmet need of your readers, your research will show you that doctors are always looking to learn and top up continued medical education (CME) points…you should look into how to make this official…is your content good enough to get formally accredited? This would be good for the doctor, good for you and ultimately for the patient…the doctor needs to top up their education…you are simply meeting the need.

Once the content is consumed and the questionnaires are completed, the doctor has their certificate for CME and you have now created engagement; great, but where do you go from here?

How do I scale up the content so the reader comes back?

Strategy is important. We call it sweating the content. We use one simple unmet need, such as education and information around a drug and run with it.

So the doctor has engaged in clinical trial data, safety profile data etc. and has passed the test. What now — how do you get them back? You run more content, for example — case studies of how that drug has performed in certain scenarios outside the trial. Then we mix up the medium. Content is all encompassing; a video series with a key opinion leader highlighting the key learning points doctors should take away from these case studies would be useful; perhaps have live Q&A to increase engagement?

To scale up, you will need a publication plan for your website. Map out the readers’ journey to assess what need they will have first, second, third and so on. Once you have your map of the readers’ journey of education and discovery, you can match your content accordingly — remember to create content that requires the reader to participate and engage.

There are publishers and agencies who can advise you on content strategy and publication planning…I work for one such company. It would be great to talk to you.


Joe has been an Account Manager at Wiley for a number of years, coming from a background in advertising sales. His main focus at Wiley is to help pharmaceutical companies market their products better, drawing on his experience of medical communications, digital projects and brand awareness.

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