macdougall musings

Content is King – Today More than Ever Before, and Biotech Should Be No Exception


“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain, it’s almost impossible to eradicate.”

What does this quote — which comes courtesy of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Dominic Cobb in the 2010 film Inception — have to do with life science communications in today’s environment? More than one might think.

Why Content Should be a Cornerstone of Your Comms Strategy

Without a doubt, the global Covid-19 pandemic has altered the tried and true marketing and communications strategies traditionally employed by companies to build relationships and close deals. Largely gone are the days of networking events, in-person industry conferences or a “grab a coffee” chat that help facilitate relationships and awareness building of clinical trials, drug candidates or important issues.

Events, if not cancelled, have largely gone virtual or are being held in a hybrid environment — with both physical and virtual events planned. 

Not surprisingly, with the nation in the midst of a global pandemic, media coverage has largely been focused on the virus, vaccines and ways we act and live in a rapidly changing world. As the world continues to evolve, so does the media landscape. According to the New York Times, by April 30, 2020, roughly 37,000 workers at news companies in the U.S. had been laid off, furloughed or had their pay reduced. In addition, according to the 2021 State of Journalism Survey conducted by Muck Ruck this past March, journalists are overwhelmingly covering the Covid-19 pandemic, no matter their beat, and 94 percent of journalists say that some, most or all of their reporting has pivoted to angles related to Covid-19. 

Today it is more challenging than ever to secure attention from journalists in an ever more crowded industry.

The ability to transmit your ideas across great distances and capture peoples’ attention in a distracted world may seem insurmountable, but while standard public relations tactics may have changed, there are more targeted ways to reach and capture the interest of your key audiences.

Where to Place Content

While the saying content is king is not new (read to the end to see who is credited to starting this expression), it is no more true than now.

Today’s content can take on various forms and shapes. Corporate publishing through a website or blog enables a company to provide its point of view and showcase strategy and insights. For some companies, posting and connecting with readers on Medium, an open blogging platform, is another option. 

Once a piece of content is written, turbo charge it by sharing it on social channels to increase exposure and reach new audiences. Consider putting paid social advertising dollars behind the piece to engage with your target audience where they spend their time — their social feeds. A paid social campaign allows you to precisely target discreet audiences with specialized messaging and content.    

In addition, native ads — content that is in line with a site’s editorial standards but is paid from an outside advertiser — is increasingly being used by companies to share their unique point of view with key audiences. Articles, videos, infographics and podcasts are all examples of sponsored content that are ideal fodder for native ads in leading scientific news outlets.

LinkedIn, which began as a simple networking tool, has evolved into a reliable content distributor. More recently, social audio has taken center-stage with Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and others igniting the idea that panel discussions, once arguably just “peas on the side” at in person conferences, could become the main dish.

How to Create Compelling Content

Creating content that makes an impact is critical to engage your target audiences. Ensuring that you have a unique voice, perspective and well articulated arguments supporting your case will help get your work noticed. While it may seem overwhelming to create and showcase your own content, our content experts can help. 

We can help to create a content strategy incorporating your key audiences’ needs, interests, search behavior and preferences. We then create a content calendar to continually deliver your point of view. 

People consume information on various channels throughout their day, from scanning Twitter and LinkedIn over breakfast to reading a press release on a company website. We can help you be where you need to be and when you need to be there.

Incorporating Content into Your Overall Strategy

With face-to-face meetings and the media landscape unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels, the ability to deliver your ideas across great distances and capture peoples’ attention in a distracted world is more important than ever. 

Relying on press releases, media coverage and sharing a corporate slide deck will only get you so far. Companies that execute on strategic content creation and dissemination plans by exploring all possibilities of content ranging from “snackable” to “long-read” forms and from text to audio to video are more likely to raise their visibility sustainably than others.

Let’s revisit Dom, from our opening quote. Inception is based on the premise that the seed of an idea planted well enough in peoples’ minds will grow and change them. It might even come to define that person and change their future actions. While the movie is clearly science fiction and we aren’t advocating to infiltrate our audiences’ subconsciouses, sharing our ideas and point of view is powerful. 

Fun Fact: The term “Content is King” was reportedly first used—and possibly created—by none other than Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, and former CEO, who wrote an essay titled “Content is King” in 1996. In the prescient essay, Gates predicted that content is where the “real money” will be earned on the internet.

Do you have a question about starting a content program or the best ways to incorporate content into your communications strategy? We’d love to connect.

Creative Services

Digital Media
& Content

More than a Tweet
Building your brand and voice is a key function of digital media, but, with the right goals in mind, digital media can be much more. Meet your audiences where they are by building digital campaigns and content that help to connect and engage your stakeholders.
  • Social media strategy & content
  • Narrative building
  • Blog creation and execution
  • Metrics, monitoring and reporting
  • Social listening
  • Executive digital profile strategy and management
  • Influencer monitoring and engagement
  • Digital advertising
  • Content creation, design and marketing
  • Video creation and podcasting


Credibility is your most important asset
Investor relations is about building trust, transparency and liquidity. The MacDougall IR team has helped many clients bridge from private to public and showcase our public clients to new investors and analysts.
  • Audience targeting
  • Shareholder communication
  • IPO preparations and communications
  • Conference calls & webcasts
  • Conference outreach and support
  • Presentations
  • Special events
  • R&D days
  • Perception audits

& Creative

A picture is worth a thousand words
Visual first impressions are so important in this era of precipitous information. Our digital and creative services team are true life science artists devoted to visual storytelling and capturing eyeballs.
  • Branding & identity​
  • Visual storytelling​
  • Logo design​
  • Website design & development​
  • Scientific illustration & MOA graphics​
  • Infographics / data visualization​
  • Animation & video production​
  • Presentation design​
  • Scientific posters​
  • HTML emails & newsletters
  • Advertisements


Be known for making a difference
Thought leadership campaigns open many channels to promote both a personal brand as well as your organization. Let’s pick a subject and run with it together.
  • Executive profile building​
  • Strategic counsel
  • Presentation coaching​
  • Speech writing​
  • Media training​
  • Social media​

Scientific & Medical Communications

Show and tell

From preclinical to platform to Phase 3 results, strategic medical and scientific communications is the cornerstone to building visibility and credibility with your target audiences.

  • Medical and scientific meeting support
  • Patient recruitment for clinical trials
  • Disease awareness campaigns
  • Patient advocacy outreach
  • Data communications
  • KOL identification and development
  • Custom scientific symposia/events​


We love telling stories
Public relations is about building your network and getting other people talking about you. We want to help you build buzz and credibility at the same time.
  • Company debuts​
  • Media campaigns ​
  • Social media strategy & content​
  • Press releases writing, editing & pitching​
  • Ongoing trend story development & pitching​
  • Conference tracking & management​
  • Disease awareness campaigns
  • Clinical trial recruitment campaigns
  • Media monitoring & analytics
  • Events​


Think before you talk
We have seen it all. Helping our clients navigate the macro and micro ups and downs of the life science and healthcare industry is our passion.
  • Corporate branding, positioning and message development
  • Product and technology branding
  • Public policy advisory
  • Crisis communications
  • Strategic communications plans
  • Capital markets advisory
  • Scientific and medical publication and presentation strategies
  • Board presentations
  • Competitive intelligence
  • M&A advisory & rebranding
  • Corporate rebranding