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Public Relations

Paid, owned, & earned media: PR basics for health tech & life science companies

By June 23, 2022No Comments

The life sciences industry is a field that serves as an umbrella for many other businesses, most of which encompass and support the healthcare system, medical devices, pharma, and artificial intelligence. Like every other industry, there is a constant need for awareness and content-related strategy to give more information about what the sector serves to do and how it can be supported.

According to Jones PR’s website article, “A complete media audit or analysis should outline what topics are being talked about, who is talking about them, and what the general tone of coverage is for your company and competitors.” This sentence boils down to an excellent public relations strategy, which is needed as your company grows.

Two primary public relations engagement strategies are paid media and earned media. From a life sciences perspective in paid and earned media, it is sometimes hard to find new and innovative ways to market to your audience. However, across the B2B and B2C sectors, strategies allow you to utilize digital marketing methods that can get key points across.

While paid and earned media are great strategies to boost engagement, It is also crucial to find the proper digital marketing method that works for your target audience and entices their interests regularly. This is why market research is imperative, knowing what your audience likes and dislikes and the platforms on which they will best receive the information you are trying to portray.

Challenges and opportunities

Earned & paid media

Public relations is a powerful messaging tool and can take any small or large-scale business, with the right kind of strategy, to new avenues of awareness.

We see that life science brands can use messaging tools efficiently and cost-effectively to spread awareness. For life sciences, public relations relies on creating a compelling story and leveraging various channels to expand the reach and deliver a strong message.

It is also vital to have a consistent and frequent message. For consistent messaging, a few distinguishing qualities need to be known to decipher what kind of media strategy to use. The first establishing factor is to see the difference between paid and earned media.

What is earned media?

Earned media is a means of pitching original content to various audiences and media platforms to get placement. A usual form of earned media is pitching press releases to get original reporting. Hence, this type of media is achieved organically.

Opportunities of earned media

With earned media, you can drive traffic across multiple channels. When you think of earned media, think of awareness across all platforms through being able to share your original content with new audience types. Because these platforms already have a large following in real-time engagement through viewership, you will be able to see results from earned media. Developing these relationships over time with new, engaging, and fresh content is also essential.

Challenges of earned media

Some of the challenges of earned media include not being able to track pitches and follow-ups. When managing pitches sent over to journalists, it is essential always to have a secondary way of monitoring correspondence. This is because PR is a bustling industry, emails get lost in a flood of others, and sometimes, if not always, journalists are busy! Another challenge one can face in attaining earned media is a lack of resources.

Public relations is about who you know. Having limited or no access to media connections can hinder placement opportunities. This is why it is crucial to attend networking events, webinars, and seminars in the healthcare industry and life sciences space to build connections.

What is paid media?

The best way to define paid media is sponsored content paid for to gain placement on various media platforms. Sponsored content can come in the form of targeting life-science or health technology industry professionals through applicable, shareable advertorial content.

Opportunities of paid media

Paid media can get your foot into doors that you would’ve never got through earned media. The reason is that money simply talks. Your sponsored ads, sponsored placements, or paid reports can reach a viewership that sees your work from a larger scale. You can drive engagement across multiple channels through this means of media. Digital advertising has also expanded, so you’re not limited to just one platform but all the social channels that exist today.

Challenges of paid media

Some of the challenges with paid media are authentic means of website traffic, not because traffic is paid for means that it is genuine.

Paid media can be misinterpreted with false results and data, leading to inaccurate reporting of the viewership’s actual statistics.

Earned & paid media: Strategies and platforms for success

Here are five actionable strategies, platforms, and tools that can boost overall engagement on media and give your organization the boost it needs in the life sciences and pharma industry. Whether you implement one or all of these tools, there will be results in choosing to use earned or paid media through these steps.

1. Social media
Social media can either be paid or earned. ‘Paid’ in the form of boosted advertisements and ‘earned’ in the form of placing original content on the platform. Social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google My Business are great digital marketing and public relations tools. If you haven’t already noticed, public relations has gone fully digital. Even press releases and news articles are online. There is a lot to benefit from adapting to this new technological wave. The life science sector could surmount huge success, profitability, and overall awareness of using these tools correctly.

2. Pay-per-click
Pay-per-clicks are a significant part of a public relations strategy because it helps boost traffic to your website and increase sales. To reach new audiences through social media and various search engines, pay-per-click can be used to help target unique audiences for guaranteed results. Not only can you narrow it down to where your audience is, but you can study the preferences of those who are clicking on your ads, which also helps with search engine optimization.

3. Email marketing
Email marketing is perhaps the oldest digital marketing method for the life sciences and other industries. It is the best way to get industry-specific information to pre-existing target audiences. When considering options like lead generation from the website, this is the best way to target a niche group of people who are particularly interested in your product offerings or services. It is also one of the easiest ways to monitor click rates as you carry out various email campaigns.

4. Blogs & SEO
Blogs and SEO go hand in hand and are potent public relations tools. When considering paid and earned media, you want to ensure that in creating these blogs, for any specific platform, these posts include primary and secondary keywords so that the blogs can rank higher on search engines like Google. The more keywords your blog entails, the more likely you rank higher in search results.

5. Content marketing and planning
Content marketing and planning is an excellent way to prioritize the kinds of content on various social media platforms. Whether paid or earned media, each has its unique offering and can build multiple online communities supporting the content and establishing credibility across the life sciences industry. This should be the ultimate goal for any business within the biotechnology and life sciences space wishing to make thought-leadership and awareness their primary goal.

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Rayna Southart

Author Rayna Southart

Rayna is a skilled and creative Content Marketing Manager at Clarity Quest. When she's not crafting killer content, you can find her devouring podcasts and good books. To learn more about Rayna's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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