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Metadata, Online Listening, and Knowing Your Audience

Posted by | 5:07pm on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quality metadata will help ensure that your content gets to the most relevant audience 

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: the fear of long words. It’s a stroke of irony that may leave you wondering who comes up with these lengthy, impossible-to-pronounce terms. But those of us who work in pharma marketing have no choice but to face our fears and accept these multisyllabic beasts as inevitable. We have to embrace tongue twisters like agammaglobulinemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Try saying that five times fast.

Confusing medical terminology presents a number of interesting challenges for digital healthcare marketers. How do you optimize content for search if a disorder is known by more than one name? Are patients likely to search for different keywords than healthcare professionals? What if you are writing about a group of diseases that actually includes a number of related but separate disorders? Read on to see my tips on writing effective metadata and getting your content in front of the right audience.

Clarify the Conversation
Quality metadata will help ensure that your content gets to the most relevant audience, even if online conversations are muddled. When Siren began working on a disease state website for hypoparathyroidism, we discovered through online listening that many of the discussions in the community did not actually focus on the term “hypoparathyroidism.” Rather, many patients associate themselves with “hypocalcemia” or “low calcium,” two of the hallmark characteristics of the disorder. Knowing this, we were sure to use “hypocalcemia” and “low calcium” as keywords in our metadata, thereby increasing the chances that our target audience would find the site even if they were not knowledgeable of hypoparathyroidism.

In a similar case, Siren was building an awareness website for familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disorder that leads to high cholesterol at a young age. Not surprisingly, we found that people in this disease community were much more likely to search for more common terms like “heart disease” or “high cholesterol.” Naturally, we included these terms in our keywords list to make the site more search-friendly to our audience.

The key in these instances is tying your online listening into the creation of metadata. You have to know your audience well in order to get your content in front of them. How do they interact online? What is their vocabulary like? What are their attitudes? Once you answer these questions, you should have a good idea of how to target relevant populations with effective metadata.

Target Specific Populations
Another potentially confusing situation arises when an individual disease actually belongs to a group of related diseases. Primary immunodeficiency (PI), for example, sounds like a single disease, but it is actually a group of over 100 distinct conditions. So when a client asked us to create an educational website on PI, we had to pump the brakes and learn more about our audience. Which PI conditions are we interested in? What distinctions exist between the individual disorders, and how can we organize information to make it easily searchable for the target audience? These are all questions we answered before developing metadata and website content.

Information on rare diseases is scarce to begin with, and when you consider the cluttered online conversations and puzzling terminology, it’s easy to see why patients struggle to find relevant materials. It’s up to the marketers to meet the patients halfway with effective metadata and search optimization. Remember, the best metadata is fueled by insights gained from online listening. Get online, learn about your audience, and make it easy for them to find your content. Hopefully you don’t suffer from hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

About Justin McLeod

As a Content Developer, Justin assists the content team with defining a consistent and engaging tone for healthcare professional and patient audiences, creating content, conducting audience research and upholding regulatory compliance. Previous to joining Siren, Justin honed his content writing and editorial skills while working in both educational and medical fields. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois.

View other posts from Justin

  • http://twitter.com/Neil_Rubenstein/status/368428204706394112/ @Neil_Rubenstein

    RT @SirenInteract: Knowing how your audience talks about #raredisease is key to reaching them. Read our new post on Siren Song: http://t.c…

  • http://twitter.com/BBKWorldwide/status/380035977915695105/ BBK Worldwide (@BBKWorldwide)

    Metadata, Online Listening, and Knowing Your Audience http://t.co/riLqvtnezI #pharmamktg #hcsm #clinicaltrials

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