Authenticity. Listening. Finding unique angles. Those are the keys for journalists seeking earned coverage via social media, according to Suzanne Barston, manager, corporate journalism, corporate communications at AbbVie. As founding partner of AbbVie’s StoryLab, Barton is responsible for creating stories around the company’s therapeutic areas, pipeline and philanthropy. While journalists long ago shifted their working lives to social channels, healthcare communicators have been slower to make that transition, due not only to unique regulatory issues but also industry resistance.
During the Obama administration and since the political rise of Donald Trump, Americans have grown more accustomed to expressing strong convictions on social media, and brands that are even tangentially related to such commonly held strong opinions have found themselves under pressure to weigh in quickly. Trending news stories lead to social posts, and suddenly brands are in the hot seat.
Patients and friends and families of patients avidly seek information and guidance online, and news outlets are equally hungry to report healthcare news, trends and data. This is both a boon and a curse for consumers of healthcare news. There’s so much good and bad information to wade through. For healthcare communicators, the good and bad information out there amounts to one thing, though: too much noise.