by Steve Casey - Managing Partner
When I was growing up, all the kids in the neighborhood had paper routes. Every day after school I carried 64 newspapers to 64 separate houses who subscribed to the paper. There were many times when a resident was waiting for me to hand the paper directly to them. As a teenager, I recall waiting with all my classmates for the latest issue of Sports Illustrated to be delivered. Similarly, I remember my dad, sitting down the night he received the New England Journal of Medicine and reading it cover to cover. In the current lexicon, we would call that a “highly engaged audience”.
Back in the old print medical journal days, attracting and engaging readers were quite different. The best we could do to reach our desired audience(s) was to publish or communicate via other means through targeted journals. All of our work to develop and communicate our information was dependent on the journal’s existing audience and the hope that they would read our article. There was no way of knowing of we were successful aside from checking with each individual HCP. Today’s publishing environment is much different. Today, the vast majority of medical journals have websites and distribute their content digitally, as well as in print form. The move to digital publication in healthcare communication is almost universal. Even the prestigious NEJM has more online than print subscribers. Research has also shown that the younger generation of HCPs prefer to read their scientific content in a digital format. The research also shows that there are a portion of older HCPs with a similar preference.
With this tremendous shift to digital distribution, it is important to remember the main objective of scientific exchange; dissemination of the scientific information to as many members of the desired audience as possible. In terms of the old print methodology and metrics, the digital environment obviously offers the greatest opportunity to impact a larger audience. However, if you are using the old print metrics, we are still looking at the journal and not the article. Our focus in scientific exchange is not the value of the journal, but the value of the article. No matter where the article is published, it is all about how many people have read the article. Fortunately, our new digital environment allows us to track and measure “engagement” (readership, viewership, etc) of the audience with the article. The value and depth of digital metrics in comparison to the old print metrics cannot be understated for enhanced scientific exchange.
As many of us have come to realize, today’s digital environment offers many new tools for publication planning and all types of scientific exchange. From open access, to author tools and article metrics, there are numerous ways to improve your scientific exchange and enhance the community’s understanding. At Omni Healthcare Communications, we have identified several different ways to take advantage of digital publishing and improve the effectiveness and productivity of your scientific exchange. In the coming weeks, we will be discussing ways in which current medical communications efforts can be enhanced, some of our unique Audience Amplification strategies and tactics, as well as the benefits of Audience Amplification for measuring your publication planning. Be sure not to miss the next installment and sign up to receive notification when our next posting occurs.