Measuring Impact and Engagement: Using Data to Drive Strategy

Getting media coverage isn’t what it used to be. With reporters focusing more and more on topics that drive engagement metrics, the value of coverage goes far beyond the headlines. And for biotech companies in particular, who need every investment to tie back to company goals, it’s more important than ever to ensure communications has a strong strategy.

As the media landscape has evolved, we have found ourselves needing to quantify answers to questions that were previously unquantifiable. Did this article have an impact? Did we reach our target audience? Did it drive engagement? What should we do differently?

Traditional metrics like potential impressions and subscriber counts are no longer enough. Instead, when building a communications strategy in the world of biotech, we’re focused on using real-time measures of audience engagement and coverage impact in three key areas:

Understand how your audience is engaging

For the majority of biotech companies, target audiences are very specialized — you’re looking to engage with a specific patient population, a niche talent market or biotech venture capitalists (VCs) interested in your therapeutic area. And with hundreds of companies competing for the attention of media, journalists, investors and industry professionals, it is crucial to understand what topics your audience is responding to in order to receive meaningful, engaging coverage.

By tracking trends within the biotech space, such as the excitement around gene therapy and the rise of personalized medicine, as well as mapping which reporters are covering which topics and who their most engaged audiences tend to be, companies can leverage an understanding of the most engaging stories, outlets and messaging — reaching the right audiences with the right stories at the right time.

Quality vs Quantity: focus your efforts

While understanding the broader landscape is imperative to developing a communications strategy, this still doesn’t answer a key question — did coverage have an impact? After investigation, we learned that the number of articles mentioning a company doesn’t correlate with engagement. Instead, the articles that really move the engagement needle are thoughtful, targeted pieces featuring content that speaks directly to a reporter’s target audience in a digestible way.

Another thing that may surprise you? These articles aren’t always top tier coverage. In fact, we’ve found that the most engaging articles often start in smaller outlets and are picked up by other sources. So, knowing which outlets and reporters are driving the most engagement around a topic allows biotechs to focus more strategically with their time and money.

Don’t forget about social media

Due to pressure from their employers to drive engagement, reporters are increasingly focused on the impact of their articles on social media. In order to even consider a story, there has to be a clear path to engagement. In fact, 75% of journalists describe social media as necessary for distributing and promoting content.

There is an increasingly strong correlation between social and traditional engagement, with articles that receive the most clicks also receiving the most shares, comments and social reactions. By looking at metrics like velocity and impact to analyze trends in coverage, it’s possible to influence strategy in real time. For example, when seeing a lot of excitement around an upcoming announcement, we can adjust messaging, timing and social content to capitalize on these conversations.

For biotech companies, breaking through the crowded media landscape is more challenging than ever. As companies continue to adapt communications strategies to reflect the changing times, it is essential to look beyond the headlines. And doing it in real-time makes all the difference, ensuring strategies are aligned with the most recent landscape.

Spectrum’s marketing intelligence and media relevancy tool Galileo6 is aimed at quantifying the impact that traditional and social media can have on a brand or company. Using custom metrics like impact, velocity and influence, Galileo6 has given us the ability to answer these difficult questions, allowing us to harness the power of data to drive strategic decisions in real time — quantifying audience engagement to truly understand the impact of media coverage.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Brett Care, Senior Media and Measurement Strategist. For more insight into telling your company’s science story, check out our full series on why success starts with strategy.

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