This is a good time of the year to communicate a mission statement of sorts.
Personal Point of View
Blogs, of course, are highly personal points of view and Pharma Marketing Blog is no exception. It’s all about me — my opinions, my ideas, my references, my biases. This is why this blog is written in the first person grammar style. I can’t be so self-indulgent in my newsletter or listserv, both of which depend on more unbiased reporting to attract and maintain a wide subscriber base. In other words, this blog represents my personal views and not the official views of the editor and publisher of Pharma Marketing News (which also happens to me right now).
When I started Pharma Marketing Blog (PM Blog) in January, 2005, my goal was to have a place to be as opinionated as I desired and as often as needed rather than using Pharma Marketing News as a vehicle for my personal opinions. I still do publish my opinions in the Up Front section of the newsletter, but space there is limited to about 500 words! Not that I want to write long posts to this blog — some topics just require more words than others!
I could have posted my opinions via the PHARMA-MKTING e-mail discussion group, but I felt that my postings there would dominate the space and unnecessarily clutter members’ e-mail in boxes, two things I wish to avoid. It’s easy to push your opinions on a defenseless audience, but the true test is whether people will willingly take time to come to your opinions. Then you know it is all worthwhile. I am happy to say that this blog is worthwhile and has been independently recognized as such by the Wall Street Journal (see WSJ Cites PM Blog as “Must Read”).
Pharmaceutical Marketing and Pharma’s Public Image is THE Focus of This Blog
Since I started this blog, I have posted more than 125 entries on a number of issues related to pharmaceutical marketing and the image of the pharmaceutical industry. This is the focus of PM Blog. Sometimes, however, I may write about pharmaceutical research or general business issues, but only in so far as it affects the commercial side of the business or the image of the industry.
I am not a big fan of people posting unedited comments to this blog. So, I review comments and either allow them as is or reject them outright. It’s not that I wish to emulate Microsoft’s policy of kowtowing to China’s repressive censoring of blogs, but I need some way to block nut cases and hucksters from using this blog to hawk alternative ED treatments! I don’t have time to deal with that crap. So, I am forced to do a bit of censoring myself — i.e., only comments that I approve are posted to this blog.
Synergy Between PM Blog and PHARMA-MKTlNG istserv
One of the strengths of PM Blog is that it is part and parcel of the Pharma Marketing Network, which includes the online, e-mail-based PHARMA-MKTING discussion group. PHARMA-MKTING has been going strong for 8 or 9 years and has over 2,000 subscribers! I value their opinions and you will often see these opinions quoted in posts to this blog.
Here’s how it works: Each time I post something here, I send off a short notice to the PHARMA-MKTING listserv, inviting members to read the post and then use the listserv to comment on the issues. Sometimes a lively discussion ensues and we all learn something. That’s when I quote the discussion on the blog as a follow-up to the original post. I like the resulting synergy between PM Blog and PHARMA-MKTING. It helps keep blog readership up and further builds the Pharma Marketing Network community of experts.
Synergy Between PM Blog and Pharma Marketing Network Web Site
At first, I didn’t think PM Blog would be as important as the Pharma Marketing Network (PMN) Web site, which has a lot of resources for pharmaceutical marketers. Now, however, PM Blog is indispensable to my effort to build and maintain the subscriber base and to raise the visibility of the main Web site in major search engines. Readers of the blog also benefit from the links to information available through the PMN Web site.
Some other ways in which PM Blog helps me achieve my goals and be more relevant to my readers:
- It’s a place for me to test ideas for newsletter articles. Some of my posts to PM Blog are trial balloons for future articles in Pharma Marketing News. I can measure how popular topics are by looking at blog traffic and responses from PHARMA-MKTING members. In a sense, then, I am a highly regulated blogger and adjust how far I take a topic depending on the response of readers. Unlike other bloggers, I don’t claim to be an expert on every topic I write about. I am, however, a very knowledgeable and networked “pundit.”
- It helps me overcome writer’s block. I can whip up a blog post quickly without paying too much attention to organization of my thoughts. Sorry, but you’ll have to live with my stream of consciousness writing style.
- Because blog readers appreciate links, this blog provides links to multiple sources of information, including links back to past articles from Pharma Marketing News (subscription often required, but not always). I also include links to important source documents (e.g., articles in the press, Congressional reports, etc.).
- Because of my blog, I have become a pharma marketing pundit! PM Blog has increased my exposure to the press and I often get inquiries from reporters and authors.
This last point is very interesting. Journalists may join a list like PHARMA-MKTING or subscribe to newsletters like Pharma Marketing News in order to keep up on topics they might report on, but they quickly tire of all the associated e-mail and advertising that is not relevant to their immediate needs. It is much easier for them to keep track of issues by subscribing to PM Blog’s RSS feed. They can then choose what they want to read and contact me for my insight and quotes. I often refer them to other experts — especially to members of the PHARMA-MKTING listserv.
A blog is an ideal method to keep in touch with reporters and journalists. Pharmaceutical companies can learn a lesson from this, not only to improve their public relations efforts, but also to communicate with their customers (see, for example, “Blogs and the Pharmaceutical Industry“).