Delivering thought-provoking, high-quality written content is an important way we provide value to clients and prospects while demonstrating our expertise and burnishing our brand.
This content can take the form of blogs, social posts, executive briefings and infographics, etc. It can illuminate a niche topic of interest to our target audiences, or it can put forward really fresh and innovative thinking about the big, meaty topics and macro trends set to shape the life sciences markets of tomorrow.
Regardless of format, our content represents DRG’s brand, and so it is essential that it is consistent in style and excellence, and embodies our company’s values.
Client-centric, high-quality expertise
For all content, please inform your thought leader rep and marketing manager up front.
Quality content should be:
Aligned to the audience and DRG
- Content topic or angle hits the following criteria:
- There’s value in it for our audience: We’re addressing an audience need in a way that’s actionable for them – either in response to questions they ask us or telling them something they should be asking about.
- It’s a topic on which we can speak with authority: We have the right expertise, proven track record and / or data to do this well.
- It’s well-differentiated: Content will stand out from competitors and industry because we’re sharing something better and unique.
- It’s relevant to DRG: Content is relevant to DRG’s overall objectives – whether tied to a priority business initiative, strengthening our overall positioning, or demonstrating our partnership to clients.
- We have a clear and aligned understanding of audience and objective
- We understand our goals: Why are we creating this content and what measurable outcomes are we aiming to achieve?
- We understand our audience: Who are we creating this content for / intended end audience (e.g., buyers, influencers – are they in business intelligence groups, data teams, brand teams, management teams making decisions, etc)?
- We’re speaking to an audience need: What do they care about, what do they need to know, how do they want to consume it, and how will they use it?
- We’re speaking to them at the right level: What’s their knowledge level and altitude (i.e., how deep do we need to go?).
- Content relates to the audience and their day-to-day challenges:
- Content is premised on real world client insights: We’ve talked to clients to understand their challenges related to the topic.
- …and features real world scenarios: Ties insights to real life situations for the audience – is not too abstract and removed from their lives.
- We feel their pain: Our tone is empathetic and content is offered in the spirit of partnership – audience feels we understand their situation and are “in it with them.”
- We’ve considered synergies across the business
- We’re on the same page with relevant colleagues: Who else is talking about this topic at DRG and are our points of view aligned?
- Everyone with expertise is looped in: Are there experts beyond a single team that we should be pulling in to add value to the topic?
- We understand where it fits into the big picture: Is there an opportunity to integrate this into a larger, cohesive initiative or series of content vs. a standalone piece?
Compelling and differentiated
- Quality content has something new to say, and can say it with confidence:
- We have really fresh insights to share: Clients don’t want to read “water is wet” content – let’s make sure we’re saying something distinctive that might prompt an “a-ha” moment.
- We’re not wishy-washy: Good content takes a position, rather than just repeating facts and dancing around the elephant in the room.
- We’ve done our homework: Before we create content, we want to be sure this is not information the audience can easily find elsewhere. Unique insight gives clients a competitive advantage they wouldn’t have otherwise, and positions us as valued partners with deep expertise. Scan competitors and digital space to ensure we are truly differentiated.
- It’s actionable for the audience:
- It covers The What, Why and So What. Use this formula in constructing your piece:
- What: Brief intro of the topic (keep it brief!);
- So what: Why it matters, supporting data;
- Now what: Actionable advice and takeaways, what to do next
- It covers The What, Why and So What. Use this formula in constructing your piece:
- It features a compelling hook – including the title:
- Grab their attention with a snappy title that tells them why they should care: Headline/title and intro should make a strong case for why the audience should keep reading or watching – we’re clear about the value they’ll get from your piece.
- Tips for effective titles: Keep them short, simple and approachable; Make it worth clicking on and show value; Use elements that resonate, like numbers (e.g., “5 keys to commercial excellence), ‘How,’ ‘Why’ and ‘What’ headlines, and company names (but be sure your post delivers on it).
- Optimize for search and social platforms: Think of how it will appear in social and search; Move the topic / keyword to the beginning.
Clear and logical
- Clarifying, not confusing: Quality content makes the complex seem clear and straightforward; The audience leaves feeling knowledgeable and empowered, not confused and encumbered with unnecessary details that don’t add value to their jobs.
- Bring reciepts: Our perspective should clearly supported by measurable data, facts, or trends, and we should strive to include unique DRG data when possible.
- Show, don’t just tell: Engaging content incorporates visuals. Wherever possible, text-based insights should be supplemented by conceptual and/or data visuals to help the reader digest your content more easily. In keeping with our brand guidelines, imagery and photography should add value to the piece, be professional, have an executive feel, and be “true to life” rather than seeming staged.
- Keep your arguments concise: Main points should be limited and focused, so that we’re prioritizing 1-3 key points we want to get across to the audience, rather than overwhelming them with too many messages.
- Be deliberate in structuring your story: Good content has a clear and logical story structure and flow, with a distinct intro, middle, and end. Structure should be built around the focused main points you’ve identified above. Outline your piece and vet it with colleagues or a manager before proceeding to content creation.
Easy to consume and credible
- Keep it clear and simple: Good content is easy to read and view, with an approachable reading level. State your point up front and use short paragraphs, with descriptive subheads, bullets and clear takeaways.
- Brevity is the soul of engagement: Keep it succinct and to the point. Content length will vary by type and purpose, but in general, B2B audiences prefer concise, visual, and engaging content versus long-winded pieces. Don’t add length for length’s sake – ensure that all parts of your content add value to point you’re trying to make. For blogs: If it can be answered quickly, general rule of thumb is to aim for no more than 500 words. If we’re aiming to be a “definitive post” that dominates a certain term for search, work with your marketing manager and digital analyst to optimize.
- Vet for accuracy, readability and typos: Make sure content is accurate and grammatically correct, and that data and insights are verified. Copy should be proofread by an editorial team (if available), direct manager, or other resource before publication.
- Don’t sound sales-y: Mixing promotional language with our expert insights risks losing credibility. The unbiased expertise and insight we are sharing in the piece is the best advertising for DRG – let your content substance demonstrate why DRG is an industry leader. For pieces that are supported by marketing, your marketing lead can help with campaign/promotional aspects.
True thought leadership
True thought leadership is no easy task – not all of our content will be thought leadership (but should always be expert-level and high quality). It takes a lot of time – thinking, client discussions, vetting, etc.
True thought leadership should hit the following criteria that take quality content a step further:
- Forward-looking and/or predictive;
- Provocative and challenging conventional thinking;
- Holds potential to generate dialogue, buzz and influence among thought leaders and influencers beyond DRG;
- Inspirational and energizing around this way of thinking;
- Presents novel ideas that can lead to breakthrough results
Read more about true thought leadership attributes here: http://www.theconversioncompany.com/forresters-10-attributes-of-thought-leadership-and-why-mostlinkedin-articles-are-not/
DRG values and reputation
We want our customers to know us by our core values of integrity, excellence, and partnership, as well as for our commitment to helping them make a valuable personal impact within their organizations. In short, our brand is about bringing people and data together to make connections that drive value.
- Integrity motivates us to find innovative solutions that work for our clients.
- Excellence drives us to define motivations and rationale for everything we work to achieve.
- Partnership inspires us to go the extra mile to understand our customers’ needs, and deliver
These values should guide and shape our content. Our content is a very visible way our values show up in the market.
Specifically for content, we should remember:
- The patient is always at the center: In today’s value-driven landscape, commercial success is becoming ever more aligned with patient outcomes and our clients are motivated by helping patients. Therefore, patients should be at the center of all content we create. Ask yourself:
- Does the audience action that the content inspires tie to commercial activity that benefits patients?
- Would a patient read your piece and feel like dehumanized or faceless in the healthcare system?
- Could we use “patient / health outcomes” instead of “financial gain”?
- Are we talking about patient data in a creepy way that they’d feel their privacy violated?
We don’t need to avoid controversial topics, but if we do comment on them, we should make sure we’re adding value to the conversation – not just reporting what happened.
Let’s be sure that we’re being sensitive to all players involved (e.g., patient advocates, physicians, government, etc.), and not just our clients.
Tip: Give it The New York Times Test — would you be comfortable with your article and name published on front page of NY Times?
Tips for writing blog posts
- Length: Take as much room as you need to convey your ideas, but keep it concise – readers will lose interest and stop reading if your piece is repetitive or unnecessarily wordy. Always review your draft and ask yourself:
- What does the reader really need to take away from the text? What’s the ‘So what,’ and does the piece clearly capture it?
- Are there redundancies within the text or between elements of a larger piece that can be cut?
- Are you providing the reader adequate background information but not overdoing it and detracting from your main point?
- Structure: Blogs offer a measure of freedom in terms of structure – they can open on an informal anecdote, for example, or follow a more reported style. But in keeping with an economic approach to post lengths, we want to respect our readers’ attention by thinking about and prioritizing what information we want to share, and structuring our posts accordingly. Journalistic writing utilizes an ‘inverted pyramid’ model, with the most important information at the top, followed by key details and then by general and background information. Before you draft, consider outlining to determine what you want to say, and in what order you can best say it.
- Format: Use bullets, subheads, bolding and line breaks to make your post more scannable and digestible for busy readers, giving them visual “footholds” to locate content of particular interest and pull them further in. Keep your sentences short and crisp – if, on review, a sentence seems long and complicated (or you find yourself winded reading it aloud), break it up into discrete sentences for clarity.
- Voice: There’s an informality written into the DNA of blogs. However, given the b2b context we operate in, we don’t want to be too informal. In keeping with our brand voice, aim to write with a tone that is sincere, knowledgeable and approachable. DRG blog posts should be smart, sober, friendly, and inquisitive.
- Conclusions: Wrapping up a post is often trickier than starting it, and writers sometimes resort to pushy, promotional-sounding Call To Action statements (e.g., “Learn more about our X offerings”). This can undermine the reader’s confidence in your unbiased expertise and may leave them with a bad taste in their mouths rather than pulling them deeper into the funnel. Consult your marketing manager if you’re stuck for an appropriate CTA, or consider ending on key questions for readers to ponder, along with a link by which they can talk to an analyst.
- Images: Incorporate charts and visuals showcasing DRG data in the body of your piece where possible, as these can really make a post pop and keep readers reading (consult our design CoE for help visualizing data). When sourcing Shutterstock or other sources of stock photography for the ‘hero image (the top image that will appear with your headline on the main page and in social posts that link it), here are some best practices from our visual identity guidelines:
- Don’t use photos that are obviously posed or feel staged;
- Don’t use conceptual photos of objects or photos that feel fake and/or have been Photoshopped;
- Do use photos with strong lighting and narrative, and a real-world feel (e.g., photos depicting medical professionals or scientists in action).
Tips for writing social posts
- Voice: Share, don’t sell. Our posts to Twitter and LinkedIn typically aim to persuade potential customers to view a piece of content, catch a speaker/book a meeting at an upcoming event, or explore a service we offer. However, we don’t want to come across as pushy and self-interested. The Internet is a ‘pull’ medium, and we want to position ourselves as prospective partners offering audiences something of value (that incidentally demonstrates our expertise or advertises our abilities) – not sharklike vendors hawking a product.
- Format: The use of images in social posts greatly boosts engagement. This can be accomplished by linking to a piece of content (and thereby pulling through the hero image), or by collaborating with our design team on a bespoke image or page (ideal for events, webinars, and snackable data and insights).
- Hashtags and keywords: Standing out in a cluttered, fast-moving news feed is tough. Using keywords of interest to our audiences can help (e.g., market access, immuno-oncology, patient journey).
Hashtags offer a means of flagging topical content and rendering our posts searchable, but they are often misunderstood and frequently overused. There are two major use cases for hashtags:
- For very narrow, highly-specialized topics of interest to our customers, and that we might imagine potential customers searching on (e.g., #TAVR or #HER2)
- For timely events (conferences/congresses, or major news events that people may be following using hashtags – e.g., #ACC2020 or #Coronavirus).
Before using a hashtag, we should:
- Ask ourselves: Would our customers be searching on this term? Is it a narrow enough topic to warrant a search (e.g., #HER2, as opposed to #cancer)?
- Plug it into the search bar and see what pops up. Are other posters using that hashtag? Are they all vendors? Is it being used in connection with a different topic entirely (for example, #MDR can refer to EU Medical Device Regulations, but also to cybersecurity, credit card, and stock car racing terms)? Check and use your judgement.
General rules and glossary
- Use COVID-19 (all caps), following AP Style, and make sure any references to the pandemic conform to Clarivate’s content and messaging guidance regarding this topic. Per AP: “As of March 2020, referring to simply the coronavirus is acceptable on first reference in stories about COVID-19. While the phrasing incorrectly implies there is only one coronavirus, it is clear in this context. Also acceptable on first reference: the new coronavirus; the new virus; COVID-19.”
- Use active voice, not passive voice (e.g., “The FDA issued a warning letter to Wyeth,” not “Wyeth was issued a warning letter by the FDA”).
- Use U.S. English, not British English (e.g., behavior, not behaviour; analyze, not analyse; center, not centre; PCP, not GP, unless referring specifically to British doctors).
- Pharma and medtech should not be capitalized, whether referring to individual companies or the industries collectively.
- Use Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, not Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3
- Country/superstate/regional abbreviations: U.S., U.K., EU, EMEA, APAC
- For American states, follow the two-letter postal abbreviation (e.g., NY, MA, WI, TN) and not the sometimes longer traditional abbreviations.
- Sentence case or title case: Use title case (in which all words are capitalized except prepositions, articles and conjunctions) only for report titles, but prefer sentence case (in which only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized) in all other instances including headlines (e.g., Duodenoscopes go digital).
- Use payer, not payor.
- Use a serial comma (AKA Oxford comma) in a series of three or more items with a single conjunction (e.g., The leading competitors in this market are Edwards Lifesciences, Medtronic, and St. Jude).
- Ampersands: Use only when absolutely necessary due to space constraints, or when commonly used in a specific term (e.g., P&T committee) — in all other instances spell out ‘and.’
- Before you publish, double-check:
- Company, drug, and plan names;
- Data or interpretations of data and any other numeric reporting
- Findings and results from studies, initiatives, or programs
- Quotations – check notes, transcripts, or recordings for accuracy of quotes and/or vet them with their sources as appropriate.