Google introduced its Penguin algorithm in 2012 to combat dubious SEO tactics that delivered marginal search results, more
to do with keyword stuffing than real relevancy. Originally called the "webspam algorithm," Penguin is designed to reward
websites that offer genuinely valuable content. Google hopes it will improve its users' search experience by demoting websites
that won the rankings game but left searchers wondering what the page referred had to do with the search terms they had typed
Pharma should have a head start in this new, improved search environment; healthcare is an industry where high quality, expert-led,
evidence-based information has always mattered.
"Patients are going online to seek information about their condition and treatments they are considering or currently taking,"
says Chris Nelson, Senior Director, Strategic Services at digital marketing agency Intouch Solutions. "The topics can vary
across disease states and products, but the foundation of timely, relevant information persists across all of healthcare."
That doesn't mean, however, that the pharma industry has content marketing down.
Late last year, CMI held its Content Marketing World Health Summit. In his keynote address, Pulizzi released new research
on how healthcare companies are using content marketing. His big takeaway for the 200 healthcare professionals in attendance
was that marketers in the industry were two years behind their counterparts in other sectors.
"I see brand marketers struggling to create valuable content every day," says Nelson. "At the same time, I see them struggling
to engage their audiences by taking the broad stroke method to media buying." In June, on his Intouch blog, Nelson challenged
the pharma industry to up its content marketing efforts: Take 10 percent of your media spend and reallocate it towards content
strategy development and content marketing efforts.
"By issuing this challenge, I felt like it would help get attention to the topic and invoke a real change in their fundamental
approach going forward," he said.
Nelson didn't pluck the 10 percent number out of the air. He wanted the budget allocation to be big enough to make an impact,
but not to seem an impossibility to marketing managers that need to justify the spend. "I thought long and hard about the
amount of budget to shift. I felt like 10 percent was the right target as it gives the challenge enough weight to get proper
attention by brand marketers, but does not require a massive shift in the way they are spending budgets today."
Content Marketing: I Know it When I See it
"Unfortunately, most of our client's budgets have already been allocated for 2013," smiles Nelson. "This is shaping up to
be a 2014 challenge."
Time will tell if brand managers switch a tenth of their budgets to content marketing, but taking the content marketing challenge
isn't just about budget allocations.
"It's a company mindset that must be core to the mission of the organization—to truly solve the pain points of customers,
not just through the product, but through information," says Pulizzi.