The benefits of working with a health writer

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The term ‘health writer‘ refers to a professional who creates content related to the healthcare, wellness, life sciences and/or medical industries. From creating informative blog articles to communicating the results of a research study to the public, health writers are at the heart of a robust medical communications strategy, public health outreach campaigns and bridging the gap between medical researchers and the layperson.

What kind of work can health writers help with?

Medical content writing

Health writers can write health articles and blog posts covering therapeutic areas such as cardiology and neurology. They can also develop content on more complex areas of healthcare such as ongoing clinical trials, vaccine development, stem cells and gene therapy. Health writers typically have a background in medicine, life sciences or another closely related discipline, which allows them to write authoritatively. They can also create press releases and web content. Medical content writers can also create content on health & wellness, including tips on diet, exercise and fitness, managing stress and maintaining health, or help articles on first aid and recovering from injuries.

Medical websites that typically work with health writers include:

  • Healthline
  • Mayo Clinic
  • WebMD

Fitness websites that need health writers to create factually accurate content include:

  • Livestrong
  • My Fitness Pal
  • Women’s Health Mag and Men’s Health Mag

Health copywriting

Health writers can work in many capacities related to promoting products or services to healthcare professionals (HCPs) or the general public. They are also known as medical copywriters. For example, they could be asked to help develop sales copy for salespeople to use when speaking to healthcare professionals; they might work alongside a brand manager who is looking for them to draft a campaign description that can be used on a website, social media channels and/or print materials; they might even speak with a client about how best to communicate key messages during an upcoming conference presentation. Medical device and pharma companies often have fantastic in-house scientists and research support, however, without a strong marketing campaign they are unable to gain a competitive edge in the market. Health writers provide these companies with the support they need to convey the value propositions of their products to their target audience.

Medical research support

Maintaining relationships with health writers is part of what makes medical research organisations successful. Their role in life sciences companies can be wide-ranging, but health writers are typically responsible for communicating the results of clinical trials to the public. They might draft press releases about study findings; create online or print material summarising trial data; or draft an article that can be used on a website or in a newspaper.

What should you look for while hiring a health writer?

Medical writing is not formally taught in most cases, so health writers acquire their skills through experience and/or formal education. Depending on the area they will specialise in, health writers could complete health writing courses at colleges or universities, join health writing associations where they can access mentorships and training opportunities, and/or complete health writing certifications offered by health writing associations. If health writers are already experienced in another area of health communications, they may choose to specialise in health writing through an additional qualification or certification program. While hiring health writers, you can look for:

  • Certifications from top universities
  • Educational background
  • Areas of expertise
  • Samples of their previous work

Based on your requirements, you can make an informed decision. For example, a PhD in cardiology may be a great fit for you if you’re looking at technical medical writing. However, a scientist may not have the skills you need to create a healthcare marketing campaign, in which case a certified health writer with experience in advertising or communications would make a better fit.

The benefits of working with a health writer

Creating medical content can be challenging without the right support. Health writers bring their expertise to each project they’re involved in, contributing valuable knowledge that can improve outcomes for clients looking for results across sales, marketing and public relations efforts. This includes:

  • relevant industry knowledge;
  • access to useful resources;
  • strategic input; and
  • publication connections (e.g., access to media).

Why hire a freelance health writer?

The benefits of working with a freelance writer are many. For example, qualified experts, who might be available on the other side of the planet, can bring a wealth of health and life sciences experience to the table, which helps them create high quality content that is informed by industry insight. They may already have relationships with top-tier publications or media outlets, which makes it easier for clients to access influential platforms for their work. Working with freelance health writers is a more efficient way to produce a range of health communications products, as they can complete projects faster than an in-house team. There are also cost benefits – freelance writers often charge less per word or hour than full-time employees. Freelancers save time by working from home instead of having to commute into an office every day.

How much does hiring a health writer typically cost?

Project fees vary depending on the complexity of the project, the specific expertise required, the urgency and duration of the project, etc. However freelance health writers on Kolabtree typically charge $30-$50 per hour.

Read how a medical writer helped with the launch of Chemo Mouthpiece, a medical device company in the US. 

Looking to hire a health writer? Work with qualified and experienced science writers on Kolabtree. View experts>>


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About Author

Ramya Sriram manages digital content and communications at Kolabtree (kolabtree.com), the world's largest freelancing platform for scientists. She has over a decade of experience in publishing, advertising and digital content creation.

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