Ed Miseta is chief editor of Outsourced Pharma and Clinical Leader. Both sites are aimed at pharmaceutical company decision makers. Outsourced Pharma is dedicated to pharmaceutical drug development, services, and contracts. Clinical Leader helps streamline clinical research by connecting trial sponsors and service providers. Through the site, sponsors find potential partners and products to aid in clinical research and manufacturing.
Miseta’s audience includes not only pharmaceutical executives and employees, but their vendors, CROs, and CMOs who advertise on his websites. His content focuses primarily on large pharmaceutical companies that outsource stages of their drug development, manufacturing and sales process.
I spoke to Miseta to get his perspective on PR professionals in his field. He shared a wealth of advice on how to become an editor’s valued asset. Here are his Top 4 Tips for working with editors in his niche.
1. Understand My Audience
“My main complaint about PR people is they don’t understand the audience I am writing for,” Miseta said. “I write for and about pharma companies, and topics that would be of interest to them (industry trends, problems faced, innovative new technologies, best practices, challenges that lie ahead, etc.) I generally do not write specifically about vendors, CROs, and CMOs.”
He takes his publishing cues from readers, who have told him “they are not interested in content that is trying to sell them something.” He invests a great deal of time in listening to and developing rapport with his readership. So a truly helpful PR pro will start by getting to know his readers too. Yet it’s hard for PR people to maintain a deep understanding of his publication when there’s frequent turnover within PR firms.
Turnover may be hard to avoid, but Miseta is understandably frustrated “that just when someone gets to the point where they understand my goals and what I’m looking for, they leave and I’m back to square one. And that knowledge does not seem to be passed along to the next person.” A few ways to save editors the burden of educating each new contact, are to read existing content, search for site guidelines, and be current on trends in the field.
2. Sell the Benefits
“If a PR person wants to pitch me an article about a CRO or CMO, they should lead by telling me how that story will benefit my readers, not why the company is so great,” says Miseta. “When someone goes to a dealership to buy a car, it is best to sell them on the benefits of a vehicle, not the features. A new mobile video system; the benefit? Your kids will sit quietly on a long road trip.”
Miseta is willing to engage CMOs and CROs on certain topics, like “mergers and acquisitions, partnering agreements, large contracts, industry trends, and government regulation issues.” He is not willing to pay lip service to products. “Instead of talking about the product, tell me what problem it is solving and why my readers would be interested. Tell me about the 3 or 4 technology trends impacting the industry that prompted you to design the new product. That’s the information my readers will be most interested in.”
3. Professionalism is in the Details
The qualities Miseta appreciates in a PR pro should come as no surprise: “Working with someone who has a good attention to detail and can get me all of the information I need in a timely manner is greatly appreciated.” It’s the simple things, like “timely follow-up after [an] interview,” “correct titles and photos,” and “a quick turnaround” that make him happy.
“I recently had a great interview with a shipping manager from FedEx,” he shares. “What made the interview so great was their communications person…. scheduled the interview, performed lots of preparation work, helped me to prepare questions in advance, provided supplemental material for review, and got me everything I needed post-interview. She was so on top of everything that it made my job very easy.”
Thanks to this PR star’s focus, she and Miseta “were able to eliminate all of the marketing spin and get right to the information [he] was looking for.” Editors encounter a lot of self-serving pitches; be attentive, considerate, and effective in your work and you’ll stand heads above the rest.
4. Be a Good Source
Miseta’s preferred sources are “executives at pharma companies” and “people who make outsourcing decisions. It could be the president, CEO, VP, scientist, or medical officer.” But he doesn’t limit himself to only high-profile sources. Certain topics are better served by “a service provider, consultant, legal counsel, or even a patient.” And “sometimes it helps to speak with a competitor to get their take as well.”
It’s the story, not the size of the company that matters. Miseta knows better than most that “innovation nowadays is happening in academia and smaller startups.” A small, unheard of biotech company may have a more powerful story to tell than Pfizer or Merck. Though “having a Big Pharma name in the title of a story will cause it to get more clicks,” the articles with the most value and longevity have “actionable information.”
The bottom line: “Good story ideas come from any source,” Miseta said. “If it’s a good angle it doesn’t matter to me where it comes from.”
Sell the Big Picture, Deliver the Details
Miseta is working to produce highly valuable, insightful, and relevant content with an angle readers can trust (i.e., not “salesy”). PR pros can help him publish great pieces–and accomplish their own goals as well–by paying attention to how their product or company innovation will benefit his readers. Think about the big picture, speak to industry trends, help Miseta generate unique and impactful story angles. And be a stand-out professional in the process.
Photo: Clinical Leader