Written by Copycat Staff
May 29th, 2020
Written by Copycat Staff
From the Tide pod challenge to bleach injection, the last few years have given us ample evidence of just how much the public needs access to sound medical information—and just how difficult it can be to communicate clearly and succinctly when misinformation has taken hold.
But you don’t have to be a doctor to participate in the vital task of improving public health.
If you have a passion for writing and for the sciences, medical copywriting could be a great fit for you.
You don’t have to have an M.D., or even a degree in the sciences, to become a medical copywriter. If you’re a solid writer with basic scientific knowledge and a passion for the health sciences, you can begin honing your skill set to help write essential medical copy. Read on to learn how to become a medical copywriter.
If you’re an altruist who believes in accessible medicine and healthcare, you may feel a little skeptical about the idea of medical copywriting.
Isn’t copywriting about selling stuff?
While some medical copywriters do work with pharmaceutical companies and other for-profit parts of the healthcare industry, there are a wide range of players in medicine.
Thus, there’s also a wide range of copywriting roles.
Medical copywriting could include working for any of the following kinds of clients:
A web copywriter’s job, first and foremost, is to create high-quality content that helps their client achieve their goals. Likewise, a medical writer’s job is creating high-quality writing that helps healthcare professionals in any and all of these organizations to communicate with patients, share the results of their research, promote public health, and more.
In all cases, medical copywriting must accurately represent scientific studies and information. No matter where you’re working, your goal is clearly and honestly promoting your clients’ products or services.
Sound like your cup of tea? Next, let’s focus on the steps you can take to get started.
We already stated that you don’t need a degree in the sciences to be a medical copywriter. Likewise, you don’t need a degree in writing. However, you need basic strengths and interests in both these areas, and depending on your background, you may need to brush up on your skills.
Much of a healthcare copywriter’s job is shapeshifting complex medical jargon into accessible language for the general public. To do that, you have to understand the science, as well as the art of clear communication.
What’s the best way to get your skills up to pat? It’s all about exposure.
If you need a little more familiarity with scientific terms, consider exploring an area of interest on PubMed. Reading recent studies, seeking to understand their methodology, and looking up any unfamiliar terms can go a long way towards building your knowledge base and getting you comfortable with more jargony terms.
For scientists and interested writers alike, you can also polish your skill set by subscribing to popular scientific publications like Hopkins Medicine or Psychology Today (depending on your interests) to see how other writers tackle the task of summarizing complex data for a wide audience. Doing so will help you produce effective copy and establish yourself as a medical content writer.
As we’ve noted, the healthcare industry is a vast field. As you seek to specialize your knowledge and skill set, it’s important to identify your own areas of interest so you can seek out clients with related products and services. After all, you may need very different knowledge to write for a physician’s family medical practice than you would for a medical technology company focused on brain implants that treat degenerative disease.
Consider the following:
As you hone in on an area of interest, the next step is sharpening your medical writing chops before you take them out onto the job market.
Medical copywriting must be scientifically backed and research-driven. Assembling a sample clip (or several) can be a great way to test your interest in the medical field while improving your skills. Try writing an 800-word blog post providing a medical topic of your choice. Use the following prompt to get acquainted with the basics of medical copywriting:
If you find the process easy and enjoyable, that’s a sign that medical copywriting may be the right fit for you. If you find it tedious or difficult, you can always try a second blog post on another topic. This will help you to further understand your own interests and identify areas for improvement.
Your goal is to make your clients’ work accessible. What happens if you’re lost when it comes to a specific part of their product, procedure, or mission? Well, you’ll definitely have a hard time writing about it. Healthcare professionals and scientists who have been immersed in the field for decades know that they may use terminology or shorthand that no one else can understand.
That’s why they hire medical writers!
As a medical writer, part of your job is to ask the right questions.
If you come across concepts or mechanisms you don’t fully understand, practice generating a list of clarifying questions that you could ask the researchers.
The first rule as a doctor is “do no harm.” When you’re a medical copywriter, this is an important adage, too. As we’ve discussed, medical misinformation is dangerous, so honesty and transparency is the name of the game when it comes to medical copywriting. And in fact, there are also government regulations in place to make sure that your copywriting doesn’t oversell or misrepresent your clients’ products.
Be aware of the following regulations:
If you have experience writing other kinds of content, prepare to learn about these regulations as you turn towards medical copy.
Tip: Scientists are experts at expressing uncertainty while still sharing powerful results. Peer-reviewed articles are a great resource here, too.
Once you’re confident in your medical copywriting skills, start testing the waters. You can start combing through your social and professional network, requesting informational interviews with copywriting agencies, and taking advantage of professional networks.
Try the following:
Are you looking for a medical copywriter? At Copycat, our writers are skilled at transforming technical research into approachable, authoritative medical content. With experience writing for medical professionals, rehab clinics, and CBD brands, we maintain HIPAA and HITECH compliance while establishing a clear, strong voice for your company.
Request a free piece of copy today!
Formstack. 3 HIPAA compliance facts non-medical businesses need to know.
FDA. Questions and answers on dietary supplements. https://www.fda.gov/food/information-consumers-using-dietary-supplements/questions-and-answers-dietary-supplements