PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, represents leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies. PhRMA is devoted to advancing public policies in the U.S. and around the world to support innovative medical research, help patients access needed medicines today and provide hope for the treatments and cures of tomorrow.
Growing Readership and Reaching a Broader Audience for Organization’s Blog
One of PhRMA’s key channels for engaging with influencers and stakeholders is its blog: The Catalyst. A team of writers helps execute on the organization’s commitment to generate expert and in-depth content daily, making The Catalyst a top content site in the biopharmaceutical research industry.
With the consistent stream of high-value, new content posted on The Catalyst blog each week, PhRMA came to PR Newswire (a sister company of CNW) to find new ways to continue to develop its content strategy by attracting and diversifying their readership.
“Our goal with this campaign was to grow readership and reach a broader audience: people beyond our traditional readers or our followers on social media,” said Allyson Funk, director of communications at PhRMA. “We wanted a distribution strategy that would get our content to that broader audience.”
As part of an integrated content and marketing strategy, PhRMA worked with PR Newswire to begin sending out releases syndicating blog posts across PR Newswire’s industry leading content distribution and promotion network, with the overall goal of increasing blog traffic and brand exposure.
A Data-Driven Approach to Syndicated Content
In building out their plan, PhRMA’s execution and evaluation was all based on an A/B testing approach.
Over a span of four weeks, PhRMA syndicated blog content by distributing posts over PR Newswire’s network. The main goal of this approach was driving more traffic to the main blog page.
The following four weeks, PhRMA created and tested a strategy which they named the “Week in Review” release. This series compiled all published blog posts of the week in one release, highlighting them in a newsletter style format. The objective was to provide audience with a summary view and drive more traffic to individual blog posts.
For both tests, PhRMA kept a consistent strategy regarding the format of its releases following PR Newswire’s best practices. Headlines were short and eye-catching. Each release included a call-to-action early in the release, to drive readers to the main blog page or blog articles. PhRMA also included non-static, multimedia elements (photos and videos) in their content, which significantly improved release pick-up.
“We learned that a post with a graphic or video performed better, and link placement really did make a difference in generating clicks on a call-to-action,” said Funk.
All releases were sent to PR Newswire’s online distribution network, which includes industry targeting and more than 4,300 websites.
Following the A/B testing, PhRMA conducted in-depth analysis of what was driving clicks, what was successful and what needed to be modified moving forward.
PhRMA concluded that while both options worked well, syndicating their blog content was the better strategy. “Since we respond to time sensitive news and current events, and report on important industry news, we agreed that the best option for this campaign was to syndicate our blog posts,” said Funk. “This allows us to share content as relevant events happen rather than waiting to highlight it in the ‘Week in Review’ series, which we continue to utilize as a feature on our blog.”
Increased Readership, Broader Audience & Compelling Outcomes
Increase in media pick-up on blog post topics
Substantial increase in blog traffic from target audiences
High Industry Engagement Scores: Based on data retrieved from Visibility Reports, a comprehensive release performance report generated by PR Newswire, PhRMA’s trial content compelled readers to act. With an average engagement score of 80 (on a scale of 1 – 100) and a maximum score of 100 on a blog release with video, the content largely out-performed releases on similar topics within the industry.
High and steady level of online visibility (see graph below):
“We have definitely been successful in broadening our readership and reaching our target audience,” said Funk. “After distributing videos or infographics, we can see who is viewing those multimedia assets in our report. Every time we look at the report, it shows views by the exact audience we are targeting – we can see views from government agencies, companies and trade associations that we want to reach.”
Keep successful campaign in place and refine strategy through more testing
With the success of the trial, PhRMA plans on continuing to syndicate its blog content through the end of the year while working on perfecting the day and time of distribution through more testing and editorial planning.
Increasing the readership of a company or organization’s blog content is key to driving brand visibility and establishing a brand as a thought leader in its industry. Funk summed up the experience by saying, “PR Newswire is more than just a place to distribute news releases – they are also a partner who can help us drive traffic to our content and build awareness for our issues.”