PharmExec Blog

PRSA Day 2: Join the Conversation

The second dispatch from Marina Maher Communication‘s healthcare guru Megan Svensen:

Megan SvensonIt’s the second day of the 19th Annual PRSA Health Academy meeting in Chicago and the morning has provided more valuable learnings. Ed Schipul, CEO of Schipul – The Web Marketing Company, gave a great analogy in his talk: He says joining the blogosphere after a crisis is like saying “I didn’t kill him” as you stand over a dead body. And working in pharma, we know, eventually, there will be a crisis.

I’ve been having quite a few conversations with my pharma clients and friends about how best to join the conversation. Many of us are doing that through vehicles that allow us more control (and therefore less risk) over the content – like podcasts and e-newsletters.

prsathumbnail1.pngBut engaging in the blogosphere requires a dialogue…not a monologue. As Ed mentioned in his presentation, you don’t initiate a conversation by starting to lecture at someone. You can’t control them or tell them to shut up. It’s scary, but we know ignoring it isn’t making it go away.

PR is about managing relationships – with media, advocates, patients, KOLs. I believe we need to do a better job of helping our pharma clients figure out how to initiate – and then as importantly – maintain an ongoing dialogue online.

Ed referred to PR people as Word Nerds – writing in complete sentences and long paragraphs. (Loved that!) In our ever-changing communications world, we’ve got to adopt – and help our marketing and public affairs clients embrace – the need to evolve our communication to tell better stories in the short, clear language of the social sphere.

Finally, we need to recognize that online communication isn’t just about our words. Visuals – whether photos, graphics or video – are equally important in telling an online story to consumers, physicians, legislators and everyone else we are trying to reach. Ed said that if you can’t give a visual, than you just don’t care.

Tell me, do you?

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  1. Posted April 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the report. Ed is a client of mine and has often pointed out how verbose my writing can be. I agree completely with the thoughts expressed (by him and you) that we have to adapt of go the way of the 8-track (everyone under 40 has no idea what that refers to, I guess). The challenge is to be compelling and persuasive in 140 characters or less. UGH!

  2. Posted April 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I think Ed may have mentioned some of the 2.0 projects that I work on in his presentation. I work for an organization where our reputation is everything, and we have really started testing the social media waters. So far the water is fine. It took a was a good deal of strategic planning, and internal education to get to this point but our goal is to be where our audience is, and we understand that our audience is not in just one place.

  3. Posted April 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Great re-cap Megan! I’m glad that Ed delivered some good Social Media brain candy for the healthcare PR gurus!

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