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Making news relevant

Specialist news feeds can help us beat the information overload delivered to our inboxes every minute of every day

Block letters spelling 'news' and the RSS logoWhy should a pharmaceutical company outsource a therapy-specific news service? Why not simply read a "professional" journal or subscribe to the plethora of information sources available.

Information overload is an overworked and much maligned term, but it is a truism when considering the increasing proliferation and relevance of social media broadcasting.

The problem lies in the frustratingly unfocused electronic newsfeeds that are available. Feeds that lack completely any understanding of a company's product base, therapeutic area or ethos, and any form of brand awareness.

So where can you find the ideal news source that could be commissioned for the benefit of colleagues, healthcare professionals and/or patients?

One example is Glycosmedia where the simple distillation of pertinent diabetes and endocrinology news into a reasonable number of headlines, along with links to source material is proving to be an ideal "product".

But the question has to be asked again – why does a pharmaceutical company need such a news feed?

It is stating the obvious to say that promoting an increase in the number of healthcare professionals visiting a company's website, together with visitor adhesion, is the goal of presenting attractive content. This is exactly what a superlative news feed can achieve.

Not only is your brand associated with the freshness and innovativeness of the very latest news, but the presentation of a continuously updated news service will add dynamism to what can often be relatively static content on a website.

It is only from such visitor adhesion that you can ensure quick assimilation of an organisation's latest press release online.

OK – point taken, but what guarantees all these attributes from an outsourced news service?

Answer – personality. You have to have a person in the loop, a person with empathy for the information constraints of the busy consumer - be it clinician or colleague. That person will also have empathy for the communication ethos of a company or organisation. 

If I could design an intelligent electronic news feed to do that, then I would not be writing this article! But to my knowledge no such artificial intelligence exists.

I know from experience that the person orchestrating such a social news feed will be the centre of a network of contacts, news feeds, and personal communications, and that these could be patients, professionals or organisations, depending on the bias of the news content.

When internalising these benefits for a corporation the real test of relevance is the number of colleagues in a company that read and benefit from a shared educational experience.

The other reason why such a news source is better outsourced is the large amount of time and effort required daily to produce a pertinent up-to-date listing. That time is better spent by staff in assimilating information for the benefit of corporate intelligence.

The fun part in using a news product is the dissemination of the resource to social media contacts. The news listing also lends itself to Twitter broadcasting and will obviously gather followers with a shared interest in the pathology-specific and therapeutic product information. The audience created can be invited to contribute material or to join conversations centred on contemporary news items.

I could wrap this up by saying that having described the development and success of Glycosmedia "the rest is history" - but how much better to say "the rest is our future".

The Author
Jim Young is editor-in-chief, of Glycosmedia - an international website delivering free, independent news about developments in diabetes to healthcare professionals around the globe.
Jim can be contacted at: jim@glycosmedia.com

To comment on this article, email editor@pmlive.com

27th October 2010

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