Your Guide To Thriving In The Life Science Content ‘Matrix’

Life Science Content Matrix

By now the phrase “content is king” is a cliché but it summarizes an increasingly vital concept that in order to attract customers companies must provide content that appeals to them. Web content management systems (CMSs), myriad online media tools, and the wealth of life science resources available represent an amazing opportunity to leverage materials such as scientific publications, news, and applications. However, it can also be daunting to live in the “content matrix” as companies might not know how to best to create, use and repurpose materials for today’s digital-focused world. By treating this matrix as such and realizing the relationships between the items in your marketing mix, you can get the most out of your efforts. Here we outline the process we both use and suggest to our clients.

  1. Set up RSS feeds. First you’ll need to review the content available on the web for several reasons: to develop a niche for your own content, to find materials to share or review, and to connect with the digital influencers in your area. We’d suggest you start with Google Alerts and also look for blogs of interest on sites such as ResearchBlogging and ScienceSeeker. Normally we’d then suggest that you use suggest Google Reader (GR) to aggregate their respective RSS feeds, but because it is ceasing to exist on July 1st, try this list of alternatives (and we have heard that Feedly is the current front runner to replace GR). Additionally, our Custom RSS Life Science Media Monitoring Service can be set up to send you daily emails, see this example.
  2. Find your keywords. There is no way to say this without sounding repetitive: finding the right keywords is your key to finding and developing life science content as well as making sure that others discover it easily. If you want to know where the web is heading, check out the semantic web and the linked data project, and you’ll see why it’s especially important in the life sciences. Peer reviewed publications, one of the richest sources of content for life science marketers, have MeSH terms to help you categorize and connect them to other content and your products. What does it mean to you? Focus on your important keywords in writing content and linking information. An example can be seen in the Comprendia tag cloud shown in our sidebar, which links to content relevant to our most important keywords. One of our most popular blog posts here tells you how to use Google Analytics data to determine your keywords.
  3. Take asset inventory. As we discussed in back in ’09, and more recently, life science companies have many existing assets which can be leveraged for content. Although it may sound pedantic, we suggest you start with a spreadsheet grid similar to the image below to take inventory you have (rows) and the distribution channels you have (columns).Life Science Content GridThis is a brainstorming as well as an organizational exercise, you’ll likely realize ways to reuse content, and this spreadsheet is a precursor for the uber spreadsheet you’ll create in #5.
  4. Create “intelligent” content. You want to optimize all content for repurposing while you’re creating it. For example, when producing a video, use SEO principles when writing the script, and reuse this text in other marketing materials. Have blog authors write excerpts for every blog post so that you can easily slip them into your newsletter. Your website’s CMS can also help you to make your content smarter by categorizing and tagging your online entries. The best option is to align all of your categories and tags to match universally (e.g., products, blog) and to use the terms search engines like best (also another important reason for doing keyword research). By doing this, you’ll also set yourself to track more metrics in the future.
  5. Make the uber spreadsheet. Yes, there are myriad social and digital media marketing tools which will claim to simplify your planning. However, in our estimation there is no ‘killer app’ for this and a shared spreadsheet will work wonders. Starting with the spreadsheet from #3, add action items for each piece, deadlines, filenames and links. Of course, this must be a shared and living document to guide real time sharing. While you’re at it, you can set up some metrics to see what content gets the best response. If you don’t have time to set up separate landing pages to track metrics, use URL shortening services such as

Living in the content matrix is a bit like the movie in that you’ll find a new world of opportunities to gain exposure and generate leads. I won’t promise any epic midair battles, but your marketing will become more powerful when you are able to leverage your efforts more effectively by living ‘in the matrix.’

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