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Healthcare copywriting guide

Learn what a healthcare copywriter does...

Healthcare copywriting describes the process of creating content for healthcare organisations, including web copywriting, advertising copy, product descriptions, and social media posts. Healthcare copywriters are non-medical experts who can communicate complex information clearly, concisely, and empathetically. Healthcare copywriters bridge the gap between healthcare providers, patients, and the general public.

42group is one of the UK’s leading healthcare copywriting agencies, with experience working with the NHS, medical device companies, service providers, and pharmaceutical companies. We’ve established a reputation for high-quality healthcare copywriting and content that builds human connections. 

In this article, we will explain what healthcare copywriting is, what a healthcare copywriter does, and why you should hire a specialist healthcare copywriting agency. 

What is healthcare copywriting?

We’ve provided a comprehensive description of what a healthcare copywriter does above, but we can explore this further. Healthcare copywriting involves creating informative and persuasive content for the healthcare industry. This can include healthcare providers like NHS, private sector, or third sector. Pharmaceutical businesses, medical device companies, medtech businesses and others involved in healthcare may require copywriting. 

Healthcare copywriting is a catch-all term that can include a vast range of activities. From patient brochures and website content to promotional materials for healthcare services and products, healthcare copywriters have a broad range of skills. 

The main challenge of healthcare copywriting lies in making complex healthcare information accessible and engaging to diverse audiences, including patients, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

Healthcare copywriters aren’t trained clinicians or medical experts. 

What does a healthcare copywriter do?

At 42group, every day starts the same – with a big cup of coffee. As healthcare copywriters, we can find ourselves called on to create a huge range of content for our clients. 

Healthcare copywriters will regularly find themselves involved in the following activities:

  • Creating educational materials: We spend a lot of time writing brochures, leaflets, and booklets that explain medical conditions, treatments, and healthcare services. These can be for patients, clinicians, stakeholders, or the public. 
  • Website copywriting and content: Much of our work is in copywriting and content creation for healthcare websites, including service descriptions, staff biographies, and patient guides.
  • Advertising copy: This is the traditional work of the healthcare copywriter, including writing copy for print, online, and broadcast ads promoting healthcare services, medications, or health-related products.
  • Social media content: We’re often asked to craft engaging posts for social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter/X, and LinkedIn. This can involve engaging patients, promoting products, or establishing professional connections. 
  • Email campaigns: Modern healthcare companies invest in engagement, so we can write newsletters or email series to educate subscribers about health topics or market healthcare services and products.
  • Landing pages: Creating landing pages is an integral part of the sales funnel process.
  • Press releases: While not strictly copywriting, creating press releases for new medical research findings, healthcare events, or product launches is all part of the job.
  • Blog posts: We call it healthcare content production, but healthcare copywriters can (and do) find themselves writing informative articles on various health topics to engage readers and improve website rankings.
  • Patient testimonials and case studies: Real patient experiences can showcase the effectiveness of healthcare services or treatments and are a core part of the copywriter skillset.
  • Product descriptions: Yes, we even find ourselves writing compelling descriptions for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health supplements.
  • Presentations: We’re experts at working with clients to capture the content they need for sharp, targeted presentations. Less words, more impact is our motto.
  • Editing: It’s not all content production and creative copywriting; we also offer healthcare editorial services to our clients, too. This can involve all aspects of copywriting, including editing web copy, product information, blogs and more.

Healthcare copywriting examples

If you’re involved in marketing, copywriting, or digital marketing, the information above should all make sense. If not, we can illustrate the importance of healthcare copywriting and specialist healthcare copywriters with the following examples:

  • NHS public health campaigns: Campaigns like “Stoptober” (encouraging people to stop smoking in October) or flu vaccination promotions are great examples of how copywriting can capture something. Think back to “catch it, bin it, kill it” for an excellent example of copywriting (and the rule of 3). The NHS and its in-house copywriters and handpicked agencies are leading the way in engaging content and copywriting.
  • Pharmaceutical advertising: Turn on the TV, and you’ll see advertisements for over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers or cold and flu products. But pharma companies are doing much more, like award-winning Ferring Pharmaceuticals’s #FertililityAwks campaign on Instagram.
  • Charity campaigns: Campaigns by healthcare charities like Cancer Research UK or the British Heart Foundation use emotional storytelling to drive donations and increase awareness. There are almost too many to mention, but we loved the “Together we are beating cancer” campaign.
  • COVID-19 Public Information: Cast your mind back (if you dare) to 2020, and we were all part of the UK’s largest public health campaign in generations. The government and health organisations created some incredible copy and content providing accessible information about symptoms, prevention, and vaccination.
  • Mental Health Awareness campaigns: Initiatives by organisations like Mind or the Mental Health Foundation, providing information and reducing stigma around mental health issues. One of our favourites is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which has some great copywriting and content aimed firmly at middle-aged men (like us).

These are just some examples to illustrate the breadth of healthcare copywriting and content. What it does represent is that healthcare copywriters have a broad range of experience that can be applied to a large variety of situations and contexts.

10 reasons why healthcare copywriting is critical to brand building

Healthcare companies are involved in the brand-building business – and copywriting and content are crucial. While it can be tempting to pick up a pen and create content yourself, a professional copywriter can transform your brand. 

Here are 10 reasons why professional healthcare copywriting is critical to brand building, product promotion, and digital marketing:

  1. Establishes credibility: Well-crafted content can establish your healthcare brand as a credible and authoritative source in the industry. This can help you win new customers, engage and inspire patients, and more/
  2. Enhances visibility: Google is now the go-to source for healthcare information. SEO-optimised healthcare content improves online visibility, attracting more traffic to your brand’s website and social media platforms. This is critical for healthcare providers, commercial companies, and third-sector organisations. 
  3. Builds patient trust: Clear, accurate, and empathetic communication builds trust with patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders. When they visit your site or engage with your brand, they will appreciate and benefit from your clarity and candour (if your copy is good enough).
  4. Differentiates your healthcare brand: Everyone is fighting for a position in a challenging market. We believe that unique and engaging content can help determine your healthcare brand from competitors. Content marketing can play a key role in engaging and educating patients, clients, users, and potential customers.
  5. Educates the audience: Informative content educates the audience about health issues, treatments, and services. As well as demonstrating your expertise, your brand can position itself as a trusted source of information – a powerful position for pharma companies and other providers. 
  6. Supports marketing strategies: Copywriting plays a vital role in supporting broader marketing goals, such as lead generation and conversion. Crisp, clear copy is always effective at attracting clicks and customers. 
  7. Encourages patient engagement: Companies often find that engaging health care content encourages patients to interact with the brand. This can build trust and establish a sense of community.
  8. Reflects brand values: Copywriting and copywriters can help shape the brand in your audiences’ eyes. The best copywriting conveys the brand’s values and mission and aligns this with patient expectations and preferences.
  9. Influences decision-making: While much of the brand-building process is based on education, persuasive copywriting can influence patient decisions, guiding them towards services and products.
  10. Adapts to market changes: Your brand must adapt to changing circumstances – copywriting is key. A skilled copywriting agency can quickly adapt to market changes, keeping your brand relevant and responsive.

Best practices in healthcare copywriting

We’ve explained what healthcare copywriting is and the sort of activities that a copywriter does. We can now look at some of the critical skills and best practices of the best healthcare copywriters. 

While most copywriting agencies will claim they can create copy for any audience, healthcare is a specific niche area with its own requirements. This list is what a specialist healthcare copywriting agency like 42group can do for you:

Audience insights

The UK healthcare sector is incredibly diverse. The NHS is at the heart of healthcare, but alongside it are a growing number of private providers who work with the NHS, third-sector organisations (including charities) and a massive range of suppliers who provide life-changing treatments, devices, and products.

Healthcare copywriters must understand the audience they’re writing for – which can be challenging. Audiences can range from patients with various medical conditions and varying levels of health literacy to healthcare professionals seeking detailed, technical information. Each segment requires a different approach, emphasising the need for tailored, audience-specific healthcare copywriting that creates connections. 

Before writing, every copywriter will seek to understand the person they are writing for. The purpose of each piece of copy or content should be captured in a clear and concise brief (that has ideally been agreed by all parties before a word is written).

Clear, accurate, and engaging 

At the heart of healthcare copywriting is the need for clarity and accuracy – but this can’t be at the expense of copy that’s engaging.

Accuracy is critical. Misinformation can have serious consequences in healthcare – impacting patients’ lives. It’s crucial that copywriters present information that is easy to understand and medically accurate. 

Healthcare copywriters operate in a world that’s full of acronyms, archaic terminology, and phrases that are meaningless to those outside. The best healthcare copywriters can avoid industry jargon and use clear and relatable language that’s engaging. There are some classic tactics that healthcare copywriters can use, but the overall principle is to ensure content is accessible and engaging for the audience (whoever the audience is).

Empathy and sensitivity

Healthcare copywriters often deal with sensitive subjects and must approach every task with empathy. By understanding the emotional context and experiences of their audience, they can deliver content and copy that’s clear, accurate, and engaging.

This sensitivity in copywriting builds trust and ensures that the content cuts through the noise and creates human connections.

Written for humans

Too many copywriters use cliched phrases and terms or pack copy with stale metaphors or similies that can obscure meaning. At 42group, we’re pioneers of people-first content. We’re copywriters willing to battle against boring content to create words and work that creates human connections. 

As expert copywriters, we’re happy to push back with clients and produce work that informs, inspires, and answers the questions your audience wants answered. Copy is structured in a logical and accessible way that provides the rational, technical, and emotional trigger points.

Optimised for algorithms

Copywriters can’t overlook the importance of SEO and the Google algorithm. Content must be written in a way that’s clear and accessibile for your core audience and algorithms. It’s a complex area, but one we’ve written about extensively in our guide to healthcare SEO and why you should work with a specialist agency.

Compliance with Regulations

The UK has strict regulations governing healthcare communication, including guidelines set by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Navigating these regulations is crucial for healthcare copywriters to ensure that their content is not only effective but also compliant.

There are literally thousands of copywriting agencies out there, and all will be vying for your business. But do they deserve it?

10 reasons why you should work with a specialist healthcare copywriter

Specialist healthcare copywriting agencies like 42group have spent years developing the skills, experience, and insights to help your health brand. Even if it’s not going to be 42group, here are 10 reasons why you should work with a specialist healthcare copywriter:

  1. Specialised knowledge: Healthcare copywriters have developed specialised knowledge of medical terminology and concepts. This means you can engage with a healthcare copywriter with the confidence they’ll understand what you’re talking about. You can have faith that they’ll translate this into accurate and credible content.
  2. Effective communication: Expdcert healthcare copywriters can quickly translate complex medical information into clear, understandable content targeting your audience.
  3. Regulatory compliance: Professional healthcare copywriters understand and comply with all legal and ethical standards covering healthcare and healthcare marketing. 
  4. Digital marketing expertise: Healthcare copywriters understand the principles of digital marketing and can optimise content for search engines in a sensitive way without impacting or affecting its meaning. This can improve online visibility and increase patient reach.
  5. Brand consistency: Your brand is critical to your business, and a professional healthcare copywriter can help provide your brand voice. They become custodians of your brand, ensuring messaging consistency across all platforms, which is essential for building trust and recognition.
  6. Target audience focus: Copywriters in health should have a deeper understanding of patients’ needs and concerns. The best healthcare copywriters craft content that resonates with and engages the target audience.
  7. Time and resource efficiency: Outsourcing to a specialised copywriter saves time and resources from your in-house team that can be invested elsewhere. Working with a specialist means less time taken explaining the fundamentals of your product, service, or the intricacies of the healthcare sector.
  8. Content quality and variety: The best healthcare copywriters can produce a wide range of content types – from blog posts and articles to brochures and patient education materials, all with a fresh perspective targeted at paitents.
  9. Adaptability: The healthcare sector is constantly changing. Healthcare copywriters have the knowledge of the sector and the skills to adapt to change.
  10. Staying abreast of trends and developments: Healthcare copywriters invest time in staying abreast of the latest healthcare trends and news. This ensures that content is relevant and up-to-date and reflects the latest developments.

Connect with a healthcare copywriter…

42group is one of the UK’s leading healhcare copywriting and content agencies with a growing global client base. If you’ve got a copywriting or content project you would like to discuss, get in touch today.

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What is a healthcare copywriter?

Healthcare copywriters specialise in creating content that persuades readers to take action. This can range from helping a person learn more about a healthcare provider to purchasing health-related products or services​​. Healthcare copywriters work across a wide variety of channels, including web copywriting, brand messaging, product copy, blogs, case studies, and more. 

Can a medical copywriter help my practice’s website rank higher on Google?

A skilled and experienced healthcare copywriter with SEO knowledge can create content that improves a website’s ranking on Google. Content is just one part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that optimises all aspects of your online presence.

What are the typical services offered by healthcare copywriters?

Healthcare copywriters offer various services including content strategy development, targeted message writing, medical editing, and editorial management for healthcare clients. 

What does the process of working with a healthcare copywriter involve?

Each healthcare copywriter or agency has their own process, but typically, it begins with an initial discussion to understand the project’s scope, followed by a proposal, agreement on pricing (hourly, daily, or fixed project rate), and then the actual content creation and revisions​​.

The best healthcare copywriters develop a relationship with their clients. Over time, this knowledge, insight, and understanding translate into better copywriting and content.

Do healthcare copywriters work on a retainer basis?

Some do! Many healthcare copywriters offer retainer agreements, which can be a cost-effective way to secure regular content creation at a lower per-project cost. eRetainers also ensure priority treatment for the client’s projects​​.

Are free samples available when choosing a healthcare copywriter?

Professional healthcare copywriters do not provide free samples. At 42group, we’re confident that our portfolio and past work are enough for you to gauge our expertise and style​​.

Can healthcare copywriters work with international clients?

Yes, healthcare copywriting agencies work with clients globally. At 42group, we have clients in the UK, Europe, the USA, and the Middle East. We write in UK English but can adapt to different English language variations and colloquialisms based on the client’s location​​.

Should I work with a freelance writer or a healthcare copywriting agency?

Freelance healthcare copywriters can provide an excellent service, with many having highly developed specialist skills. However, a single freelancer can never deliver the breadth of skills and scale that you can get working with an agency like 42group. 

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