Content repurposing: a breakthrough for your pharma creative needs. 

Get specialist support to reduce your workload.

By: Meredith Fields

Content repurposing: a breakthrough for your pharma creative needs. 

Key Takeaways

  • Having a dedicated pharmaceutical content creation studio handle content repurposing and label updates frees up agencies of record and in-house marketing teams to focus on new strategies and content.
  • This specialized work requires both design and editorial skills to refine content while maintaining the core message.
  • Dedicated content creation studio teams develop experience and brand expertise to ensure smooth operations through a documented workflow and quality control procedures.
  • This partnership optimizes resources so clients can concentrate on innovation instead of mandated regulatory content updates.

In the fast-paced and highly regulated world of pharmaceuticals, creative teams face a relentless cycle of content creation, adaptation, and updates. These dedicated professionals are tasked with not only developing innovative marketing strategies but also ensuring that all content stays compliant and resonates with the target audience. This continuous cycle is vital to maintain relevance, deliver accurate information, and meet regulatory standards.

However, amid this flurry of activity, there's a critical process that often goes unnoticed—content repurposing creative work. Content repurposing means adapting original brand tactics for different purposes or audiences without changing the core content. It's the art of reshaping, resizing, and rewording existing content without losing its essence. This process is essential for extending the reach of the brand's message, maintaining consistency across various platforms, and staying current in a rapidly evolving market.

While it might seem logical for the creative teams to handle content repurposing, it's worth considering an alternative approach. By using a specialized external team for this task, the core marketing and agile teams can focus on what they do best—creating new, compelling content and crafting strategic plans.

This is where the value of an experienced pharmaceutical content creation studio comes into play. These teams are well-versed in handling content repurposing, ensuring the brand's message remains consistent while being tailored to different audiences or platforms. They can also handle all the necessary label updates, freeing up the creative teams to focus on innovation and strategy.

The result? Increased productivity and creative efficiency. The marketing and agency of record (AOR) teams can dedicate their time and resources to conceptualizing and creating fresh content, while the content creation studio ensures that the existing content is adapted, updated, and compliant. This division of labor not only streamlines the workflow but also optimizes the use of resources, leading to more efficient operations.

The art and science of repurposing content in pharma

Content repurposing is akin to chiseling a sculpture—it's about refining and repurposing the original material to suit different needs. This could involve updating the target audience, wording, references, data, or layout. For example, content initially crafted for doctors may need to be reworded for a consumer audience or updated with fresh references from recent studies.

The process often includes resizing the original work to fit different formats or specifications required by various platforms or vendors. This aspect can be time-consuming, and it necessitates both editorial finesse and design expertise.

While the decision on what data to include is usually made by the copywriting and brand team, the task of updating the content with new information falls on those handling the label updates. This requires a keen understanding of the subject matter and the ability to adapt the content appropriately. There are different levels of complexity in label updates, depending on the changes required.

In many pharmaceutical companies, creative work is assigned to tiers depending on the level of effort. Higher-level creative tasks, such as brand development and creating slogans, are usually handled by the AOR. More complex updates, such as replacing references or images in existing material, may go back to the AOR or may be considered content repurposing. Simpler updates, such as minor word changes, and the simplest work, involving re-sizing existing content, are both good options for a content creative studio.

These different tiers help categorize the complexity of the creative task at hand; some require more in-depth work, and others are more straightforward. While these classifications might vary across different companies or industries, content repurposing typically lies in the lower tiers.

The key distinction is that content repurposing involves updating existing content rather than creating new content. This could range from refreshing an access date to updating study data annually. These tasks, while seemingly minor, play a pivotal role in maintaining the accuracy and relevance of the content.

Another key aspect is reapproval for use, particularly concerning labeling. Dozens of labels may require annual updates for all in-market pieces. While the core messaging remains intact, details like indications might change, which is crucial for any audience.

Challenges in content repurposing

Maintaining quality control and adherence to regulatory guidelines are paramount in pharma creative work. When a brand uses a new vendor unfamiliar with their brand, there's a risk of errors or misinterpretations leading to incorrect submissions. This risk is especially significant if the team lacks expertise or requires considerable time to fully understand the brand.

While it's natural for clients to gravitate toward familiar vendors, those vendors may lack the expertise that a pharmaceutical content creation studio team develops over time; this expertise is what makes a studio team an attractive long-term partner. When choosing a new pharma studio, compliance is frequently a concern. A content creation studio with extensive experience in pharma can reassure clients that they can successfully meet their needs.

Though some companies manage these tasks internally, external support with label updates can liberate their teams to focus on more creative tasks. A pharmaceutical content creation studio should not aim to replace in-house teams or AORs. Instead, they handle the content repurposing and time-consuming updates, allowing the clients' teams to concentrate on strategy and new content creation.

While there might be resistance due to traditional thinking or reluctance to relinquish control, the content creation studio should be a partner who helps manage overflow. Trust is vital in this partnership. The studio team must prove that they can comply and submit tasks with the same attention and knowledge that the client would. 

If you're looking for a partner to handle your brand's content repurposing work or label updates, choosing a dedicated studio with extensive pharmaceutical experience offers the expertise, efficiency, and trust needed to keep brand messaging consistent, compliant, and impactful.

A dedicated content creation studio is a game-changer 

The goal here is efficiency. By allowing the AOR to focus on creating new content, simpler yet necessary updates can be handled as part of the content creation studio's work. This ensures efficient use of resources and keeps all content current.

A dedicated content creation studio offers key benefits such as continuity, speed, quality control, and a proven, documented workflow. They offer a quicker, more affordable solution with the support of a dedicated brand team for seamless consistency in brand messaging. With an established workflow run by an experienced team, the submission process runs more smoothly, resulting in fewer revisions, speeding up the approval process, and reducing costs. In essence, they offer efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and consistency.

For example, the FDA often directs updates for labels, giving clients a limited time frame, potentially just eight weeks, to make these changes across thousands of jobs. This can be a daunting task given the time needed for production, editing, review, and preparation.

Let's not forget that updated jobs must go back through the Medical, Legal, and Regulatory (MLR) review. Aligning label updates with the MLR review timeline is valuable. With a dedicated studio to ensure the work is pristine, fewer revisions may be needed, speeding up the overall process. Though core messaging is not altered in lower-tier reviews, it still takes time and consideration. Without a first-round approval, the products may not meet the required timeline to stay in compliance. 

In the past, brand managers would need to sift through a list of jobs, deciding which ones to update and which ones to retire. However, a dedicated studio handling all these tasks makes the process much quicker and more efficient.

Planning ahead for label updates and establishing an annual budget is essential to cover all necessary updates throughout the year. To ensure optimal performance, clients should estimate how many label updates or pieces they anticipate needing in a given year and alert the studio to their needs. This allows the studio to plan its resources and timing effectively.

Key skills a content studio team needs

The complexities of content repurposing and label updates in pharmaceutical creative work necessitate a distinct approach to ensuring efficiency and compliance. Using external support for this intricate task can significantly improve team efficiency, allowing the internal marketing team and AORs to focus on creating innovative new content.

A dedicated pharmaceutical content creation studio is perfectly poised to fill this role, if they have the right skills and experience.

Here's a checklist of things to look for in a potential studio:

  • Brand-aligned structure: The studio should have a structure that aligns with your brand. This includes understanding your brand's mission, vision, and values.
  • Comprehensive training: The studio should have a comprehensive training program to ensure their team members are knowledgeable about your brand and can effectively implement your brand guidelines.
  • Extensive brand expertise: The studio should have the capacity to develop extensive expertise on your brand. This will allow them to create content that truly reflects your brand identity.
  • Content repurposing and label update capability: The studio's ability to handle a wide range of content repurposing and label updates is crucial. They should be able to prioritize projects based on effort and identify gaps to provide solutions within client guidelines and deadlines.
  • Familiarity with regulatory guidance and workflow requirements: The studio should be familiar with your labels, regulatory guidance, and workflow requirements. This enables them to address challenges effectively, ensuring smooth operations and improved workflow efficiency.
  • Maintenance of core functionality: The studio should not overlook foundational work, as it is central to the value of the end product. By focusing on these tasks, clients can concentrate more on the creative and strategic aspects of their work.
  • Commitment to continuous improvement: A successful studio should be committed to continuous improvement. This includes having operational documents for each type of job, regular updates, and rigorous training.
  • Open communication and idea generation: A good studio encourages open communication and idea generation, embraces change, and continuously seeks ways to improve.

Dedicated pharmaceutical content creation studios offer a wealth of benefits for agencies and in-house teams. By taking on the responsibility of repurposing and updating content, they allow their clients to focus on innovation and strategy. 

These specialized external teams possess the unique blend of design and editorial skills necessary for maintaining brand alignment and adhering to strict regulatory guidelines. They have perfected their workflows and quality control procedures to provide continuity, speed, and cost-effectiveness for their clients. 

Let's free up our internal teams to do what they do best—generating new and creative ideas that will shape the future of the pharmaceutical industry.

About the Author

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Meredith Fields

Meredith brings a unique and highly effective approach to directing marketing and agency operations.  She is a solutions focused, hands-on leader with multifaceted experience across project management, operations, sales and media buying.  Her collective perspective, from marketing to the masses and smaller target audiences, is enabled by her strong strategic sensibility and solid understanding of behavioral science.  During Meredith's tenure with Aquent she has played an invaluable role in process creation and transformation, as well as effectively managing large and diverse teams.


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