Reader Comments

Content Marketing for Pharma and Healthcare: The MAT Release

by Horinda Mascato (2018-06-05)

The medical industry is one of the last industries to consider content marketing and its impact. If you're in the business, you know how it’s hard to produce creative content because of stringent Food and Drug Administration requirements, extensive important safety information (ISI) and extended legal reviews.

Though healthcare industry is reluctant to adopt content marketing, one solution has acted as the gateway to developing more content: the MAT release.

The MAT release is really a feature article directed at print and digital newspaper audiences. Editors rely on them to supplement staff-written stories plus it enables them to reach a lot of people. (We're talkin' millions - a Brandpoint MAT release has an average website audience of 125 million.)

We’ll try to explain why MAT releases are a perfect content marketing tactic for doubtful brands. We’ll also explain how to write an effective one - all while following the guidelines.

How MAT releases support the medical industry

Pharma companies frequently face the task of combating negative press. Although the media reports heavily on drug cost increases and shady industry practices, Content Marketing Institute states, “The reality is that they only represent a very small percentage of drugs and health services providers in the United States.”

To counter these messages, brands have to take control of their image to promote trust and authority with their audience. Buddy Scalera, a content strategist at the Medicine Company, believes that “… content marketing holds a tremendous potential to chip away at the divides that exist between the business and its audiences — along with plenty of opportunities to creatively connect in impactful, measurable ways.”

Since many healthcare companies have yet to published content, Jordan Teicher for the Content Strategist claims that “Pharma marketers have a huge opportunity to stand out while staying true to consumers.” However, that content frequently isn't consumer-friendly.

“Most major drug companies run social media accounts, filling them with perfunctory posts about corporate news or events that don’t give much value to the consumer. Some brands have blogs, but those tend to suffer from bland design and dry writing,” states Teicher.

In case your marketing team doesn't possess the sources or capacity to develop an online content marketing strategy or maintain owned channels, then paid media solutions might be the easiest method to reach consumers with content.

Paid media solutions usually take one of these simple forms:

Native advertising: Recommendation widgets (also known as discovery platforms) like Taboola or StackAdapt, paid search ads like Pay Per Click, or in-feed ads.

Sponsored content: Brand-sponsored content, for example, an article or video on a media publisher’s website. A MAT release is actually a type of sponsored content.

Beginning a content marketing practice using these solutions means that just one piece of content needs to be created. You can make use of the same bit of content in multiple ways. For instance, you can utilize a MAT release article as a piece of content in a recommendation widget.

These solutions are a less intimidating way to start tinkering with what content development methods are the best for your marketing team.

As a featured article put on a publisher’s website, a MAT release represents as a piece of sponsored content. It’s a great choice for brands that are looking to reach a sizable newspaper audience and connect with consumers without having to worry about legal limitations.

To improve chances for your health-related article to get placed, there's a couple of key guidelines when it comes to writing a health-related MAT release.

Tell a patient’s story

The mighty MAT release helps brands that have been bogged down with bureaucracy in the past to use their most compelling asset: the stories of their patients.

Probably the most effective story a healthcare brand can tell is all about a person with a particular health issue that the brand’s services or products helped alleviate. In a study by Kantar Media, 47 percent of patients stated that reading stories online from other patients helped them to feel happier about their own treatment.


So you should begin by building your story around a likable protagonist. Ideally, your article will be centered around an individual who has taken part in your medical trial or benefited from your procedure or medication in some manner.

Discover that person and describe the patient’s entire journey, beginning with the appearance of their first signs and symptoms. This not just helps make the person more relatable to readers, it also provides understanding that could alert others experiencing the same early signs and symptoms.

If your patient isn’t available, you can instead focus your story on the physician or any other doctor, however, the patient ought to be your main priority.

Another option is to find someone who can write from the first-person perspective about their diagnosis and struggles. In a blog from Dignity Health ’s website, Hello Humankindness, there’s a lady that provides objective advice coupled with her very own experience of battling breast cancer.

As you’re finding and creating these stories, your primary focus in the MAT release shouldn’t be mentioning your brand. Instead, you should focus on telling genuine, useful tales.

Educate readers

What is the expertise of your brand? Whatever that subject is, covering it in a helpful way will show readers that you're a true expert in the industry.

It may be as easy as writing about the signs and symptoms of an illness. Or you might share recipes with nutrients which help ease the symptoms of the condition associated with your brand.

Begin a conversation

Some healthcare brands haven't only educated readers through their content, but they’ve also elevated awareness and encouraged discussions about taboo but important health-related topics.

To support its flagship contraception products, Pharma company Allergan launched the #ActuallySheCan platform to interact with millennials and start a discussion about women’s health and birth control. The main focus of the content isn’t on advertising the pill. Instead, the information educates the brand’s audience on general health issues of millennial women.

Get expert consultancy

Though professional authors and journalists are fantastic when it comes to writing educational content for the audience, research and advice from experts enhance its authority.

That is why you should ask for the help of a specialist like a researcher or a physician. Advice that comes from knowledgeable, trained sources enhances the credibility of your brand. Plus, in case your brand is an organization that includes doctors along with other professionals in the field, it’s a time to demonstrate their skills and expertise without explicitly promoting your brand.

Should you recruit a specialist, keep in mind that it’s alright to edit their responses in order to make it more simple for your audience to understand it. Bear in mind that you're writing for consumers who might not be acquainted with medical terminology.

Avoid complicated jargon and sales speak

As pointed out above, healthcare content can be rather puzzling and confusing for consumers who aren't acquainted with your field. Avoid this by getting an editor read your articles to identify phrases or words that the consumer might not understand.

With the help of a professional freelance author or editor outside of the healthcare industry, you will stay away from the complicated jargon and incorporate a much better consumer perspective.

CSS Cleaner is a brilliant free online tool to take care of your dirty markup.

Put consumers first

including an excessive amount of sales speak or selling your products in an obvious way could be very unhelpful and annoy your readers in case they're not looking to purchase anything at the moment.

Staying away from the sales-y language not only makes it more simple for customers to read the article, but it makes them more prone to spend time on your page and browse your website for more information. This boosts dwell some time and lessens the bounce rate, which will enhance the search engine optimization value of your website.

Concentrate on writing content that can help consumers solve their problems. They aren’t concerned about your products or services as much as they are about finding help.

Your products may be the perfect solution, however, a genuine connection through your content will resonate much more than a dry product ad. A CTA at the end of the MAT release, for example, 'learn more' or 'get a free trial,' is a great place to mention your brand's service or product. Ideally, the brand shouldn’t be mentioned anywhere but here.

Visualize your article

Make complicated medical concepts or research more simple by displaying it in a visual format, like an infographic.

Infographics combine fascinating data and statistics with an eye-pleasing design. They allow readers to rapidly digest a message and discover something, as well as having some fun along the way.

Effective infographics are organized to easily guide readers from beginning to an end, just like a story. Organization methods include chronological, alphabetical, categorical, hierarchical and geographical.

Marketers in the healthcare and pharma industry may use infographics to transform complex, sometimes dull data into something intriguing and educational. Don’t hesitate to be creative when designing an infographic. There’s a lot of options to include, such as graphic images, icons, shapes, vibrant colors, along with other elements to encourage consumers to look into the infographic.

When demonstrating a research through the infographic, you should include visuals of charts and graphs to make it easier for consumers to identify the crucial information and stats.

Understand compliance limitations

This is actually a part of content marketing that has a tendency to hold healthcare brands back. Here’s a couple of tips on dealing with compliance departments, made by Brandpoint Senior Author Chris Schafer, who's no stranger to writing regulated content.

- Stick to approved writing guidelines and language. You may even be able to see the types of content the compliance team has approved. These resources will provide a much better idea of what you can and can't say.

- Watch out for absolute statements. Frequently, compliance departments don’t like strong assertions or guarantees. For instance, the sentence “Eating this will ensure you never have a heart attack” is much more compliant if edited to see, “Eating this may reduce the chances of a heart attack.”

- Keep an eye on all of the sources you utilize, whether it’s one of the web links or the contact details of the expert you interviewed. Compliance may ask where does the information in an article originate from. By documenting every source, you’ll have the ability to rapidly provide these types of information and accelerate the compliance process.

- Avoid making even the smallest changes to copy that compliance has approved. This is the final version. However, should you identify significant grammar or any other mistakes, it’s worth fixing and submitting for an additional compliance review.

Keep in mind that compliance review may take a lot of time for you to complete. Factor this time into your editorial calendar so the content is ready when it's needed.

Taking all of this into account and implementing it might appear tiresome, but it’s vital that you avoid legal issues. ISI, Food and Drug Administration along with other needed copy must be included in the article, whether at the end of it or hyperlinked.

Disbursing pharma content

Compelling copy isn’t significant for a brand if it’s not seen by consumers. Brandpoint’s pharma MAT release distribution network ensures all of your article’s necessary formatting and symbols look just like they did throughout a compliance review.

Recently, we have expanded the distribution network for pharma-related content. Pharma MAT releases, listicles and branded videos have finally elevated to an average of 1,000 placements as well as an expected audience of 125 million. Infographics have elevated to an average of 500 placements and an expected audience of 115 million.