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Content Strategy for Pharma: Choosing the Right Content Type

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Determining the right content type will be the key to successful content strategies for pharma

What is the purpose of a content strategy in pharma?

It is important for pharma marketers today, to have dedicated a content marketing strategy for every brand, supported by a content marketing budget that caters to today’s digital-savvy customers. 

Content is KING in the digital world.
Which means you will be using content to
create awareness, drive conversions and sales!

Content is going to be the bait when marketing the pharma brands – it is the thing that provides the MOST VALUE in the digital world – and this will be the way to impress our customers.

Did you know?
Content is 62 percent cheaper and
generates 3x more leads than outbound marketing

So here is a tip: When you pitch in for an agency. Talk more on content strategies and what kind of differentiated content can be offered to the audience.

The pharma marketers today not only have to work on creating content for the doctors, but also the consumers. And not all of them are going to have the same content needs.

Content marketing rule
Do not create content that only talks about your product.
We are creating content to solve customer problems and address their needs.

Healthcare marketers need to primarily approach content marketing with this mindset. Because it is not about their products or even their brands – it is only going to be about the CUSTOMERS !

Importance of content marketing

We want to create content to address our target customers’ concerns, genuinely.
Only when we identify with the customer’s pain points and their REAL needs, can we be able to,

– capture their attention
– get them emotionally involved and
– offer them solutions to their problems

Then the customer is ALL YOURS, ready to TRUST YOU with your unique product offerings!

What is the difference between content strategy and content marketing?

Often terms like content strategy, content plan and content marketing are used interchangeably. But they are quite different.

Content Strategy

Content strategy is the foundation on which a successful content marketing is built. Here the marketer is basically answering questions like –

Why are you creating a particular content?
Who is the target audience for this content ?
How will you measure the content marketing success ?
Where and when to publish the content ?
How to promote the content once it is published ?
Which channels will you publish the content ?

Content Plan

Content plan will be the subset of the content strategy. It is the tactical part of implementing the content strategy. And it looks into important aspects like –

Choosing relevant topics for the target audience and
Deciding on the content types.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the result of a well-thought-out content strategy to reach the target audience and inspire them to take a specific action. It is a marketing approach to creating, publishing and distributing content for the target audience.

What should a pharma content strategy include?

1. The first step is to define your goal – Why do you want to create a content marketing plan ?

2. Define the target audience for the content

3. Determine what problem you will be solving for your audience

4. Brainstorm and make a list of content ideas

5. Determine what makes your content unique

6. Decide on the content formats

7. Develop a content plan and the editorial calendar

Related Article: 9 Essential Audience Research Tools for Pharma Marketers (interested to know about their target audience)

Knowing your audience is key to pharma content marketing success

What will help, is creating a detailed profile of your different customer segments, which we call Avatars.
Each of these avatars will have different content needs.

Once you study and build your avatars, it is then you would truly understand your customers. And you will then know what to plan in terms of content.

→ Related Article: Creating the Customer Avatar in Pharma

But for now,
let’s concentrate on content as such.

Content is not only about writing blogs. As you will come to know – there are many ways to present the content. So what do you exactly mean by content and how do you choose the right content type?

How do you decide what new forms of content your brand needs?

For this,
Let’s first understand the concept of the SALES-MARKETING FUNNEL

The funnel will help you move the prospective customer (traffic) through a sales process. And your objective is to convert as many customers, by offering them something of value or selling them at every stage of the funnel.

The Digital Marketing & Sales Funnel comprises of 3 stages

Pharma Content Strategy: The 3 stages of sales and marketing funnel

Every product or category will have its unique funnel.

– Each of its stages will have a specific objective with different content needs

– To drive the desired objective, the content type and format of presentation will also differ at every stage

– You can upsell in the ascending stages


1. TOFU – The Awareness Stage

The traffic at the TOP OF FUNNEL will mostly be the paid and organic

Customer behavior
– The visitor at this stage is in the researching stage. They are problem and solution unaware.
– They will be like strangers to you. This will be your widest set of audiences with high resistance to convert. 

Marketer’s goal
– Bring in as much attention, interest, and engagement

The plan
– Increase website traffic
– Generate leads (obtain contact info)
– Conduct retargeting

What is retargeting?
Suppose a visitor clicks on a YouTube ad. A cookie is placed on their computer. Next time when the visitor happens to be on Facebook, the cookie will direct a Facebook ad to the same visitor.
Wow! Yes, something like this is possible.
Combining your paid ads with re-targeting is an effective way to get higher conversions.

Content objective
– The objective at the Top of the Funnel is to facilitate Awareness (educate and solve a specific problem)

The different content types that will work in pharma

1. Blogs

2. Social media posts: Where your post will drive people to your website/blog page

3. Infographics / Creative images

4. Video content, Audio podcasts: Great for awareness building and engagement

5. Digital magazines, ebooks

6. Newsletter, guides, checklist

2. MOFU – The Evaluation Stage

At the MIDDLE OF FUNNEL, the marketer would have generated leads and grown the email list

Customer behavior
– The customer is problem and solution aware. The customer is more engaged and is now researching different solutions.

Marketer’s objective
– Nurture the leads generated
– Convert them to sales qualified leads
– Initial customer acquisition on some of these leads

What is a lead?
A person who has shown interest in a brand’s products or services, through the ads/posts or published content. Who is not yet a customer, but who has the potential to become one. The primary goal of any company is to generate as many leads as possible.

The plan
– Nurturing leads with email marketing campaigns

Initial customer acquisition: With the leads that have been generated, some of these leads can convert into customers quickly. You can offer a highly discounted (low priced) irresistible offer.

Grow retargeting list: Those who did not become leads in TOFU stage (i.e., the ones who visited your page but did not enter their contact details you can start re-targeting them with ads and entice them to come back to your page and fill in their contact details so that you grow your leads.

Content objective
– The objective at Middle of the Funnel is to facilitate Evaluation and Consideration

The different content types that will work in pharma

1. Educational resources: Case studies, white papers, free reports, free guides, catalogs, free ebooks

2. Useful resources: Brochures, cheat sheets, toolkits, resource lists, FAQ sheets

3. Free samples

4. Webinar / events

5. Quiz / survey: For example quick interactive quizzes like “Know your risk of developing diabetes?”

6. Discount / coupon / loyalty club

7. Email campaigns 

3. BOFU – The Conversion Stage

At the BOTTOM OF FUNNEL, customers are ready to buy or prescribe

Customer behavior
– The leads have reached the stage in which they can make informed purchase decisions. The customer will now be comparing solutions before making the final purchase.

Marketer’s objective
– More customer acquisition: Inspiring conversions of the sales qualified leads
– Increase retention and loyalty 

The plan
– Close the qualified leads

– Customer nurturing campaigns of the newly acquired customers

– Maximize immediate customer value: Cross sell/upsell high value products

– Increase buyer frequency 

Content objective
– The objective at the Bottom of the Funnel is to facilitate Purchase Decision that will help in Conversions

The different content types that will work in pharma

1. Demo/ free trial: For example, if the product is a glucose monitoring device, then you can create videos or have a live demo of how the product performs

2. Customer reviews and customer satisfaction stories

3. Comparison sheet: Creating a features-benefit and price chart versus your competitor brands. Prospect may want to understand detailed information about the product, which will help them make a decision

4. Webinar/Expert advisory sessions: Talks by key opinion leaders (KOLs) will help move the prospects in BOFU

5. Mini-class: For addressing common objections around the product. Use content that will help teach about the product in an educational way, and help the customer move through their objections to buying at the BOFU.

6. Free trial period: Customer can be offered to purchase and try the product with money-back guarantee if not satisfied

7. Targeted email campaigns: For nurturing of the newly acquired customer

Pharmaceutical Marketing Funnel Example

See how a biopharmaceutical company, Alkermes created a market for their addiction drug, Vivitrol by adopting the fundamental concepts of the Marketing Funnel Strategy – From Awareness to Patient Conversion.

So when doing content strategy, we need to begin with a strong understanding of the audience and develop a Funnel applicable to the pharma product/category.

By clearly defining the objectives and expectations at each stage in the Funnel, one can then never go wrong in choosing the right content type!


Leveraging on the right content type with a well-thought-out pharma content marketing strategy can be a total game changer for healthcare brands.

Related Article: Content Ideas for Marketing Pharma and Healthcare brands during the novel coronavirus

Content Strategy for Pharma: Choosing the Right Content Type

Inspiration & credits: Digital Marketer

Content Strategy for Pharma: Choosing the Right Content Type

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