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What Do You Think Makes a Successful Pharmaceutical Blog?

Posted by | 7:28pm on Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the Pfizer blog appears more authentic, where the others often come across as carefully crafted PR vehicles 

The other day I completed a survey evaluating pharmaceutical blogs, which got me thinking about the space. The questionnaire, from Andrew Spong, was difficult to answer because it asked about the success of these sites. While we can make assumptions, it’s hard to judge these blogs without knowing the intent, the traffic and how the creators are defining success. We also don’t know how much time and resources are invested.

In February, I wrote about the lack of comments to GSK’s More Than Medicine and they responded with a post indicating they are pleased with the blog. The GSK blog addresses interesting topics and is frequently updated, so I was surprised that it hadn’t generated more engagement in the form of comments.

Blog Traffic?
When I put the URLs for pharma blogs into Compete, I only got the traffic estimates for AZ Health Connections and JNJ BTW. J&J has the oldest pharma blog and in the past 13 months has averaged almost 3,000 visits per month. The spike in traffic over the summer was probably due to interest around the McNeil recalls.

Compete chart showing visits to AZ Health Connections and JNJ BTW blogs

Overall, pharmaceutical blogs appear to be communications vehicles to improve corporate reputations. Since they have continued, we can assume that the blogs are successfully serving this function. While the sites each have positive points, I think Pfizer has the most successful blog because it has a specific focus. It’s part of a website, Think Science Now, whose purpose is: “inspiring scientists, clinical researchers, doctors, veterinarians and other health care professionals talk about what they are doing with science at Pfizer and why they are doing it.”

The Pfizer blog has a variety of contributors who write on different topics of interest. The overall style is casual and reflects the tone of each writer – abbreviations and run-on sentences included. The title of this post provides an example: “Gene Expression Profiling Waayyyyy Over-Rated?” As a result, the Pfizer blog appears more authentic, where the others often come across as carefully crafted PR vehicles. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just slightly discordant when appearing in the format of a blog.

Andrew will be sharing the results of his survey, and I look forward to discussing this topic even more. In the meantime, what do you think makes a pharma blog successful?

(Image courtesy of Mike Licht on Flickr)

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

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