‘Tis the season…to be well underway with preparations for the 2019 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the annual pharma, biotechnology, healthcare and life sciences industry kick-off with CEOs, analysts, media and more.

Breaking through the crowds and chaos in San Francisco is no small task. Edelman surveyed media regarding their expectations for JPM.

In the Edelman/Muck Rack pre-JPM survey of reporters, 55 percent said they value meeting with execs at the meeting and 51 percent value building relationships beyond reporting from the meeting. Journalists attending JPM commented that engaging with the leaders and assessing their passion and ability to tell the company story — providing a sense of their authenticity — was a key reason to join in the annual scrum on and around Union Square.

While a face-to-face connection builds the relationship, how information is distributed elsewhere matters too. Last year nearly two-thirds of journalists surveyed said the way most companies share information is outdated. What can health communications experts do differently at the conference?

  • Multimedia, multisource: 86 percent said they find news for reporting via social media, and another 77 percent cited a company’s digital, social and blog postings as sources. While business strategies, quarterly reports and investor reactions were also noted resources, these ranked lower in the survey.
  • Content and format matter: Journalists prefer facts and stats for topics they report on (86 percent agreed) and visuals for topics they are researching (68 percent agreed). When being pitched a story, reporters prefer a “no BS” approach paired with rapid responses and accessible, transparent, personalized information.
  • Selectively social: 68 percent just say no to pitches sent via social media. That said, 80 percent of media said they track shares of their stories online – so featured companies may fuel the sharing through their own channels and amplify with paid.

With expectations for the year ahead (especially headwinds that might blow from changes in Congress), pipeline unveils and potential mergers and acquisitions sure to be on the agenda for JPM 2019, the media will have plenty to pick from. Making your story stick will take more than news alone.

We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco in January.

AJ Desjardins is managing director, Health, Western Region.