Medical convention season for life sciences companies is in full swing. Which means valuable opportunities toward preparing the market for new medicines, building dialogue around medical need for certain patient populations, or educating target audiences around important clinical data.

These are significant moments of scientific exchange but also valuable events to network, build relationships and participate in breaking conversations within the larger community – regardless the disease category or specialty.

Quite often, for the bigger medical meetings, while the meeting itself may be bigger than your data, you can still make a deep dive with reporters and attendees – with some strategic planning and nimble thinking. Whether preparing for an abstract poster, plenary session or oral presentation, there are multiple ways to make the most of this milestone across key stakeholders.

Leveraging Before, During and After

Like most major events, there is a phased cadence to any medical convention: pre-promotion/previews, on-the-ground announcements, and post-meeting recaps.

A multi-faceted communications strategy should take a similar phased approach (adhering to meeting policies and embargo rules) – to make best use of the event. For example, issuing a curtain raiser for trade and business press before the meeting to build interest, packaging easy-to-use resources for busy reporters on-the-ground or covering remotely, and conducting follow-up post-meeting to preview upcoming updates and milestones.

Another important part of meeting prep is assessing competitor data in the program. If a competitor has an interesting presentation that’s relevant to a company with a similar therapy, reporters may be interested in another point of view to balance the story – important to note for pre- and post-embargo media engagement.

Navigating Press Policies and Media Landscape

Convention press teams have evolved their strategies alongside the shifting media environment.

Convention press teams have evolved their strategies alongside the shifting media environment.Click To Tweet

While on-site press rooms and media attendance continue to play a role, there are increasing efforts to engage with reporters who are following a meeting virtually and to drive social conversation.

Learning the ins and outs of how each press team shapes their media strategy can inform your plan. Understanding important details – e.g., whether most media cover remotely or on-site, if a press team issues their own press releases/pre-meeting blog posts/on-site podcasts, etc. – will give insight into the larger conversation and media competition, so you can maximize and navigate your presence.

Joining the #Conversation

Let’s not forget what happens on the convention floor is not the only place abuzz with meeting slides, learnings and dialogue.

Meeting organizers create conference-specific hashtags to include in social media posts to help boost and extend program content. Convention attendees and thought leaders also share their opinions on what they are hearing from colleagues and about new advancements or best practices being presented.

Joining this conversation in real-time boosts your presence not only with traditional media but with key influencers and meeting attendees engaging with one another in the social space.

Meeting and Greeting Face-to-Face

Medical conventions are also found time to build and grow relationships with thought leaders, medical societies, advocacy groups, reporters, among others on-site.

This can be done by simply stopping by exhibit booths, setting up one-on-one coffee breaks or having breakfast or lunch to get acquainted.

With proper planning and some creativity, medical meetings can be worthwhile experiences—both on-site and virtually, in support of short-term and long-term goals. Success should be defined not only by earned media coverage, but also your share of voice, meaningful relationships forged/nurtured and your position in the overall conversation.

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