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Level up the Impact of Your Medical Publications With a Smart Publication Extender Strategy

As a publications director, you’re responsible for designing and executing an impactful publication strategy for your pharmaceutical company. To do that, you need to make your content accessible, appealing and easily digestible for the busy healthcare professionals (HCPs) who rely on your publications as a key learning tool in their therapeutic areas. 

Publication extenders provide exactly that opportunity — a way for HCPs to receive information in a condensed format, saving them time and effort as they work to stay on top of the latest scientific research. When added to your publication, extenders allow you to leverage your content on multiple channels, increasing reach and making your information easier to access and share. They are a clear win-win for both HCPs and your business.  

Savvy publications directors already appreciate the power of publication extenders. But to really make the most of this extra content, you need to think holistically. One-off publication extenders may be useful, but they don’t add up to a strategy. Here’s how to craft a smart publication extender strategy that delivers maximum value to your readership — and your publications KPIs. 

Maximize the Impact of Your Data With Multiple Publication Extender Formats 

Publications teams often take a siloed approach to extenders. Rather than considering the audience’s preferences, they make isolated decisions based on the content alone. 

For instance, it may seem sensible that Publication A lends itself easily to an infographic. While that may be true, an infographic will only appeal to one segment of your audience. What about those who like to learn by listening? 

Your content should influence which publication extender formats you develop. But you shouldn’t start — or stop — there. In today’s fast-paced environment, you can’t rely on just one channel or format to fully reach your HCP audience. You need to meet your audience where they are, both in terms of the channels they frequent and the ways they prefer to consume content like yours.

By embracing a strategy that intentionally focuses on multiple formats (and by extension, multiple channels), you align your extender content with your audience’s diverse consumption preferences. Not only that, but when your extenders are available in multiple formats, you improve your content’s discoverability, or how easy it is for both humans and search engines to find your content. 

Improve Your Publication Strategy Results

It’s clear that leveraging multiple formats of publication extenders increases the reach and impact of your publications, in part because it provides more opportunities to launch an omnichannel strategy. Varied formats can be leveraged across channels, expanding your network of information, and increasing accessibility for different audience segments. Tailoring your publication extender strategy in this way increases: 

  • Audience reach 
  • Views
  • Sharing and referrals between HCPs
  • Citations 
  • Media coverage 

The strongest publication extender strategies leverage multiple formats and reinforce the same key messages in all of them. Each element of the mix can stand alone. But together they create a network of information that is available to HCPs regardless of their channel and content preferences.

7 Publication Extenders to Include in Your Medical Publication Strategy 

Publication extenders have a multiplier effect. While one can be effective alone, leveraging multiple formats exponentially increases the impact. A multi-channel strategy that considers how publication extenders can work together will increase the value your publication provides to its readers. 

These 7 different publication extender options all present key messages in different formats, creating an ecosystem of information to support your publications.

1. Animated Publication Summaries

Animated publication summaries are effective and easily digestible. These animated videos tell short, visual stories in two minutes or less. Animations typically include a voiceover and explanatory visuals. It’s common for these videos to include an introduction to the publication as well as high-level results and outcomes. Great for visual learners, your audience will come away with a thorough overview of your latest publication in just minutes. 

2. Author Videos 

In every therapeutic area, there are widely known authors. But it’s not often that HCPs get the opportunity to interact with these experts — so author-narrated videos provide a kind of access typically unavailable to physicians who want to hear authors speak about their work. 

3. Visual Abstracts 

A visual abstract takes an entirely visual approach to the traditional practice of written publication abstracts. Visual abstracts provide a summary of a publication that’s visual and interactive. While there is no voiceover to guide HCPs as they review visual abstracts, there may be clickable modules, 3-D illustrations and other interactive elements for those who prefer to learn in a more hands-on way. 

4. Infographics 

Infographics take a similar approach as visual abstracts. The difference is that infographics are typically more limited in scope. Rather than summarizing an entire article, infographics focus on one key topic or takeaway from within a publication, providing a deeper dive into a subject area for HCPs. 

5. Illustrated Educational Summaries 

An illustrated educational summary is exactly what it sounds like — a synopsis of the information found in the publication paired with a helpful illustration or visual. These are different from infographics and visual abstracts because, although they are illustrated and contain a visual, they are more text-based. These are great to provide overviews for HCPs who prefer reading over video or interactive formats. 

6. Publication Pulses

A publication pulse is a concise, informative summary. Excellent for concentrated, specific bursts of data, pulses are 500 words or fewer and provide readers with the important takeaways from a publication in a streamlined package. This format allows readers to stay on the “pulse” of research without having to review the entire publication. 

7. Podcasts 

Podcasts synthesize information into a convenient, listenable format. This is particularly appealing to an audience of busy physicians because an audio-only format makes podcasts ideal for listening during a commute or downtime. 

How to Combine Publication Extenders to Increase Impact

Publication extenders are not one-size-fits-all. It’s important to consider what information needs to be conveyed and how your readers prefer to consume information

HCPs have diverse preferences in terms of how they like to consume content. Some prefer reading. Some prefer interactive visuals. And some prefer listening to podcasts or watching videos. The more ways you give your audience to interact with your content, the more they’ll engage. 

Create a strategy that reflects how your target audience likes to consume content, the channels you will leverage to promote your publication and how your content lends itself to different formats. 

For instance, the latest publication about the neuromuscular system conveys useful information for both physical therapists and neurologists. Yet these two professions have very different day-to-day processes — which translates to very different content consumption preferences. A physical therapist who is setting up exercise stations for patients may prefer to listen to a podcast that helps them digest your information while they prepare for their first appointment. The neurologist, meanwhile, may prefer an interactive visual abstract they can click through while sitting at their desk after reviewing patient data.  

To efficiently create multiple publication extender formats, plan to repurpose cornerstone information across different formats. For instance, a graphic from the visual abstract can then be repurposed into a pulse, and the illustration from the pulse can be easily embedded in an email campaign that reaches the healthcare system where both the physical therapist and the neurologist work. Because of the email, both HCPs find your publication, as well as the publication extender format that allows them to best consume the information they need. 

Publication extenders are an excellent tool because they distill the key messages from scientific publications. With the key message isolated, it becomes quick and cost-effective to implement it across other publication extender formats, which can be leveraged together in a successful omnichannel strategy. 

Both Your Business and HCPs Benefit From Publication Extenders 

Don’t let publication extenders be an afterthought. To make the most of these valuable assets, map out a holistic strategy as you create your publication calendar. Learn which formats resonate clearly with your target audience and emphasize those formats as part of a robust omnichannel strategy. 

Do that, and you’ll ensure your publications have maximum reach — and the best chance to serve your audience and your business goals.