As healthcare communicators, we tell stories to motivate people to change their habits, adopt new drugs and promote community awareness.
Measurement is often seen as a way to gauge the effectiveness of our outreach, but it has another function, too: It can help us discover the story we need to tell for future communication.
Take, media coverage of a recently approved and launched pharmaceutical, for example. Careful reading and coding of the news will reveal the key events and developments related to the product (drivers of coverage), what is being said about it and its competitors (messages), by whom (opinion leaders), and whether the coverage is positive or negative(tone). With this data, you can begin to answer questions regarding the occurrence and context of concerns related to the product.
Recording basic data about each article – its publication date, title, reporter, outlet, type of publication, market and potential media impressions – can provide you with a framework and bring to light another dimension of the story, answering questions such as: What events generated the most coverage in the past? How much coverage have the product’s competitors received? Is the coverage appearing on a national or local level? Who is seeing the coverage – consumers, business executives, HCPs or a combination? Did your priority list of media publish the story or was it smaller media?
You might discover that global media were more interested in the launch than U.S. media or that HCPs were more interested in business executives than other HCPs.
Drop the scored data into a spreadsheet and visualize with bar graphs and pie charts. Then sit back, and using your story telling skills, watch the story, perhaps an unexpected one, develop before your eyes.