Entering the world of pharma social media

Rebecca Aris

pharmaphorum

To say that these last six months have flown by would be a massive understatement. Before pharmaphorum I’d spent a few years as an editor for medical journals and tried my hand at medical writing. I was looking for a role that combined content management with something a little different and then in July of this year I found myself at pharmaphorum. To explain exactly what my job entails would be to suggest that any two days here are ever the same, which certainly isn’t the case. As the site rapidly evolves there are ever increasing aspects that need managing and so more aspects to the role.

So what do I do?

Essentially I manage the content flow on the site. So every time you see a new article, or event posting or news story I’ve played a large part in getting it onto the site at the right time. Unfortunately articles don’t just happen, otherwise my life would be a lot easier. Once an article has been agreed upon it needs fitting into our schedule and, after playing the waiting game until submission, it has to be prepared and loaded onto the site on its scheduled day.

Ensuring content goes live on the site on such a regular basis takes a lot of planning and forward thinking. Articles can often need pushing back or pulling forward at the last minute and then a juggling act ensues. Imagine having an apple tree that you have to pick several times a week. You can only pick one fruit at a time but you have to pick a fruit each time you visit it and so you wait patiently for the fruit to ripen. Some days you get to the tree and everything seems to have ripened at once and you have to decide which you’re to use first and other days nothing’s ready and you’re trying to speed everything up whilst taking careful note of what order the fruit should be picked. Like I say, a juggling act!

 

“I’m always looking for new content ideas and speaking with potential authors to fill our rapidly growing publication schedule…”

 

In addition to posting content there’s the never ending task of helping to post updates through various social media tools to alert people to new content on our site. My experience of social media before I started at pharmaphorum was limited to personal use and so it’s been interesting to see just how useful these tools can be. By updating on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin we can highlight content to people who haven’t yet heard of pharmaphorum and increase our readership. Before this job I suppose I thought that sites were just stumbled across and only now can I begin to appreciate how you can reach out to people so effectively with the social media tools now available.

It’s a tricky beast pharmaphorum…

My knowledge from my working background is limited to specific therapeutic areas. Learning what’s important to the broader pharma industry has been a big part of the job and is essential when planning ahead with content. The tricky bit is knowing what content will be well received as there’s no real way of knowing what people want to read about. Audience trends can be analysed to find popular topics but really you don’t know what will be popular until you see the forum comments come rolling in and the audience stats start to spike.

I’m always looking for new content ideas and speaking with potential authors to fill our rapidly growing publication schedule and we have to keep constantly assessing the articles to make sure we’re catering for our everyone in our broad audience. Don’t forget, pharmaphorum is about you, our pharma community, so I’m always happy to hear of suggestions or recommended authors. If there’s something you want to see on the site do get in touch!

…but it’s also fun!

We’re fortunate at pharmaphorum to have many great existing contacts, who I have slowly got to know over my time here. They contribute to the site by writing articles and engaging as media partners for their events and without them the site just wouldn’t happen.

I’m grateful to all of our authors and media partners who are so pleasant to work with on a daily basis and who make the site as successful as it is. Thank you to all of you for helping us get this far!

 

“Next year will be an exciting time for pharmaphorum as our website development adds new features to the site and our content line-up continues to expand…”

 

Another big highlight for me is to bump into someone I know, tell them what I do only to be greeted with a ‘Oh I’ve heard of pharmaphorum’ and know that the growing audience that pharmaphorum is reaching now includes friends and old colleagues.

So where next?

Next year will be an exciting time for pharmaphorum as our website development adds new features to the site and our content line-up continues to expand, but beyond the next year – who knows? pharmaphorum is very rapidly growing and unfortunately I’ve no crystal ball to tell me what it will look like in a few years time. As the site grows so too does my involvement and the opportunities to engage with new areas of the site. The past six months have been immensely fast paced and I’ve no doubt that that’s one thing that will remain unchanged.

Whatever happens, I look forward to getting to know more of you in 2011!

About the author:

Rebecca Aris is Managing Editor of pharmaphorum, the exciting online discussion and networking site for the pharma, medical devices and diagnostics industry. For queries she can be reached through the site contact form.

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