Healthcare copywriting: Your questions answered

Healthcare copywriting is a specialist field that uses the power of words to create connections with patients, key stakeholders, and the public. Expert healthcare copywriters can translate complex information – such as patient pathways, scientific research, and organisational developments – into easy-to-understand and accessible content. Content can be used to create connections between organisations and individuals, support the patient journey, and increase visibility in search engines. 

42group is a leading healthcare copywriting and content marketing agency based in Bristol. We’ve engaged our clients and scoured the search engines to identify the most frequently asked questions about healthcare copywriting and answered them. 

Here are your healthcare copywriting questions answered. 

What is healthcare copywriting?

Healthcare copywriters specifically create content specifically for organisations in the healthcare sector.

Health copywriters (or specialist healthcare copywriting agencies, like 42group) communicate complex healthcare and scientific information in a way that is accessible and engaging to the target audience. We focus on translating complex information to create human connections. We do this for clients in all healthcare sectors, including the NHS, private healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, third-sector organisations, and medical device manufacturers.

For example, healthcare copywriters may be asked to translate a detailed research paper on heart health into a blog post for patients, pulling out the relevant information and recommendations. In another example, 42group’s healthcare copywriters might work with a client to rewrite a website to make it more patient-friendly, optimise it for search engines, and improve its ranking.

What does a healthcare copywriter do?

Healthcare copywriters work with clients to produce a huge range of content for organisations, including:

  • Websites
  • Patient education brochures
  • Digital content
  • Social media posts
  • Case studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Video and animation scripts
  • Editing and updating content

Healthcare copywriters also play a key role in SEO and the process of boosting your website’s search engine ranking. 

At 42group, we’re copywriters but act as a strategic partner – working with organisations to develop a plan for using content to deliver business objectives.

Healthcare copywriters are non-medical specialists. This means they don’t create medical information for patients (such as patient instruction, medical training courses, and clinical guides). For those tasks, you should work with a medical writer or specialist medical copywriting agency. 

How does healthcare copywriting differ from general copywriting?

Simply put, general copywriting focuses on persuading or informing a broad audience to buy a product or service. Healthcare copywriting requires a specialised understanding of the healthcare sector, scientific and medical terminology, and patient experience. They use language that complies with regulations and is accessible and clear for patients, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

While healthcare copywriters should have a clear commercial understanding, this isn’t the driving force for their work. At 42group, for example, we focus on creating personal connections. This strong sense of purpose drives our copywriters to create person-focused content in a language and tone that’s open, accessible, and with authority.

Why is SEO Important in healthcare copywriting?

An understanding of SEO is vital for healthcare copywriters. Why? Because if users can’t find your content, then they won’t read it. SEO will help to ensure that the content you commission or create reaches its intended audience online. 

Healthcare SEO is a complex topic (and something we’ve addressed in detail here). Copywriters must be confident using specific keywords, structuring content for readability, and optimising it for search engines.

SEO is crucial for a range of healthcare topics, including public health campaigns or patient education, where accessibility of information can impact health outcomes. Copywriters play a key role in the SEO process, but there’s much more going on than content creation and optimisation. That’s why you should always work with a specialist healthcare SEO agency.

What skills are essential for a healthcare copywriter?

Healthcare copywriter needs to understand the healthcare sector and the needs of patients and have the ability to write clearly, confidently, and with authority. Ultimately, the best writers create human connections.

They must have the skills to understand complex healthcare concepts and translate them into clear, engaging content for various audiences. They must have the skills to interpret healthcare studies, process and analyse data, and understand the essential core information to convey to readers. Every writer must have a deep knowledge of the audience that they are writing for.

As well as strong writing skills, copywriters must understand the basics of digital marketing and the importance of SEO. 

Having all these skills doesn’t automatically make you a great writer. The best healthcare copywriters are also inspired to create work that speaks to every patient and person reading it.

How does healthcare copywriting support healthcare marketing?

Healthcare copywriters effectively bridge the gap between healthcare organisations and their audiences. If we strip it back, copywriters create persuasive, informative, and professional content that highlights the benefits of healthcare products or services. 

In-house marketing teams and even some specialist healthcare marketing agencies require the services of healthcare copywriters like 42group to help clarify a proposition, market a product or service, or optimise existing content. The outcome is better branding, patient engagement, and impact.

What are the ethical considerations in healthcare copywriting?

Healthcare is a complex and challenging area to work in. Copywriters must understand the importance of accuracy, transparency, and patient welfare. 

Health and medical copywriters must ensure content is factual, does not mislead, and is properly referenced. For example, when writing about a new medical product, it’s essential to present both its benefits and side effects openly. This ethical approach builds trust and credibility – which is critical in healthcare marketing.

What makes healthcare copywriting engaging for patients? 

Engaging healthcare content is clear, concise, and tailored to the audience. Copywriters are experts at taking complex information and translating it into compelling copy, but only if they can pinpoint their audience. 

The best content includes real-life examples, uses storytelling as a narrative device, and incorporates data and visual aids to make complex topics understandable and relatable.

Every patient is different, and so copywriters will work to develop a tone of voice, style, and approach that resonates with your audience. For example, a mobility aid targeted at the over 70s will be marketed in a very different way than a product aimed at children.

How can healthcare copywriting improve patient education?

Healthcare copywriters can help your organisation connect directly with patients. The best healthcare content (and the best copywriters) empowers patients with knowledge about their conditions, treatment options, and health maintenance strategies. 

For example, a well-written article on diabetes management can guide patients through diet changes, medication adherence, and symptom monitoring. Content can help these patients improve their ability to manage their condition effectively. Used this week, content can improve individual experiences and outcomes, as well as contribute to broader public health goals that benefit us all.  

What are the latest trends in healthcare copywriting?

Healthcare copywriting – like copywriting in all fields – is constantly evolving. Current and emerging trends focus on the importance of digital content, personalised medicine, and the importance of developing what we call patient-centric narratives. Alongside creating clear copy, writers must tailor them for different mediums, including interactive tools, apps, and, increasingly, voice search and AI.

Copywriting used to be about passive content. Today, healthcare websites frequently incorporate video explainers, infographics, and interactive Q&A sections that help to make complex healthcare information and advice accessible to everyone. Copywriters need to be able to work across multiple platforms and mediums, finding ways to connect with patients.

How do you optimise healthcare content for search engines?

Search engine optimisation is a critical job for copywriters. Optimising healthcare content involves using relevant keywords, structuring articles for readability, and ensuring it’s mobile-friendly.

How does that work? Let’s take a healthcare blog post about heart health. A copywriter might use keywords and phrases like “heart disease prevention” and “healthy heart tips” and feature subheadings for easy navigation. They’ll also include links to high-authority healthcare sources. 

Does it work? Absolutely, but SEO is more than content. You’ll also need to ensure the technical aspects of your website are working flawlessly. Learn more in our guide to healthcare SEO.

What are the key challenges facing healthcare copywriters? 

On the surface of, healthcare copywriters face challenges such as conveying complex healthcare information in simple and accessible terms. They also must stay in touch with the latest developments in research, regulation and patient engagement.

But more important than all that, copywriters must build human connections. The core of the role involves finding ways to engage directly with patients and other key stakeholders, providing them with the right information at the right time and in whatever medium they choose.

How to choose the right healthcare copywriting agency?

Choosing the right healthcare copywriting agency involves evaluating their healthcare expertise, client list, and credentials. You’ll want to ensure they (like 42group) have a track record of creating accurate, engaging content for the audience you want to target.

It’s vital that you view their portfolio for diversity and quality of work. Ask for examples of work that the agency is more proud of, and check with clients to see if they agree.

Many copywriting agencies and copywriters claim to understand healthcare, but it always pays to work with a specialist healthcare copywriting agency. If you’re searching for more advice, here’s 42group’s guide on how to select the best healthcare digital marketing agency.

What is the relationship between healthcare copywriting and digital marketing?

Copywriting and digital marketing are critical partners. Digital marketing refers to a range of channels – including your website, social media, paid-for adverts, and more – that you can use to target, engage, and influence audiences. Digital marketers still need content – and that’s where copywriters can help.

Specialist healthcare copywriters work with digital marketing agencies, social media strategists, and other online experts to create content that establishes those connections.

It’s a hugely important area that we’ve written about before. Check out our in-depth article on digital marketing in healthcare and how to create a health digital marketing strategy.

How do healthcare copywriters stay updated with healthcare developments? 

Healthcarere copywriters stay updated by regularly reviewing healthcare journals, attending healthcare conferences, and participating in relevant online forums and webinars. They also collaborate with healthcare professionals and subject matter experts. For example, a copywriter specialisingng in oncology might subscribe to the latest cancer research publications and attend annual oncology conferences to stay abreast of new treatments and emerging trends in cancer care.

What impact does healthcare copywriting have on patient decision-making?

Healthcare copywriters are specialists, and it’s their job to stay up to date with the latest advancements in health, medicine, and science.  Within healthcare copywriting and content, you’ll find specialists who work with primary care, secondary care, pharmacies, mental health, and the third sector. They develop in-depth knowledge that a generalist can never hope to match.

The result of all this research should be well-written healthcare content that enables patients to understand their conditions, treatment options, and the benefits and risks associated with each choice. 

Hoareis tone and language managed in healthcare copywriting?

The tone and language in healthcare copywriting and medical copywriting are carefully managed (and edited) to ensure that they are empathetic, respectful, and accessible while being 100% accurate.

The most effective and in-demand healthcare copywriters take a patient-centric approach, avoiding jargon and using language that resonates with the target audience. When we explore tone of voice with each client, we start by understanding the audience. This is a critical step that takes time, but we make no assumptions when understanding your audience. These insights into language, tone, channels, and preferences influence every piece of content that we create.

How does healthcare copywriting address the needs of diverse audiences?

Diversity and accessibility are key to copywriting for all audiences. Healthcare copywriters can address diverse audience needs by customising content for specific groups, such as patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, or the general public. Within this, copywriters can focus on core groups, tailoring content to their specific requirements.

Shaping content involves adjusting the complexity of the information, the tone, and the format to suit each audience. 

A simple example could be information on a new healthcare service. Patient education materials will be simple, clear and reassuring, whereas content for clinicians will be more detailed and technical.

As well as the public/professional barrier, copywriters can ensure that content is accessible to everyone. Using direct language, writing in the active voice, and keeping things clear means content can easily be understood, shared, and even translated. 

The best healthcare copywriting agencies, like 42group, make simplifying and streamlining patient content a priority.

How does healthcare copywriting contribute to health literacy?

As we’ve explained before, healthcare copywriting enhances health literacy by making complex healthcare information understandable and actionable for a wide audience. 

It’s clear that effective healthcare content simplifies jargon, uses relatable examples, and focuses on the core of every message. Accessible content (that can be understood by your audience) ensures our patient cohort, clinicians, or stakeholders have everything they need to make informed choices.

What is the process for creating evidence-based healthcare content?

Evidence-based healthcare content involves thorough research, referencing reputable healthcare sources, and often collaborating with healthcare experts. This kind of content veers into the territory of medical copywriting (a specialist area), but it’s in the skillset of a health copywriter.

The copywriting process begins by identifying reliable data, such as peer-reviewed studies or clinical trial results. Then, the information is processed into a reader-friendly format while maintaining scientific accuracy and keeping all references intact.

How can healthcare copywriting be tailored for online audiences?

We’ve touched on the importance of SEO, but when we talk about tailoring content for online audiences, we’re focused on the ability of copywriters to create content for multiple platforms.

The majority of web searches are from mobile devices. As a basic principle, content can’t be presented in big blocks. Instead, copywriters should use subheadings, bullet points and incorporate engaging visuals to make it readable on smartphones. Content that’s accessible is more likely to be shared on social media platforms.

Copywriters are skilled at writing content that is short, scannable, and optimised for mobile devices. As we move into the future and increasingly use voice search, this will influence how healthcare copywriters work.

How do healthcare copywriters ensure content is patient-centric?

Creating patient-centric content is the driving principle for every health copywriter (or should be, in our opinion). Healthcare copywriters must focus on the patient’s perspective, addressing their concerns, and providing value through the information. 

How? It’s complex, but in simple terms, it involves using empathetic language, including patient stories and testimonials, and offering practical advice.

Everything is driven by an understanding of the audience. 

What is the importance of storytelling in healthcare copywriting?

Storytelling in healthcare copywriting is a useful technique that can make complex healthcare information relatable and memorable for patients. 

By incorporating healthcare information and advice into a broader narrative, copywriters can emotionally engage readers, creating a personal connection with content.

Case studies are perhaps the best illustration of using a storytelling narrative. Compare the effectiveness of a patient success story in an article about a new cancer treatment with a basic description of what it is and how it works. Which approach do you think would be more effective?

Can a healthcare copywriting agency help with branding and marketing strategies?

Yes! Healthcare copywriting agencies and health copywriters can significantly contribute to branding and marketing strategies. They can create content that aligns with the brand’s voice and messaging, ensuring consistency across all materials – and helping to boost the brand across all touchpoints.

Copywriters can become involved in all aspects of the brand. This can include developing promotional materials, informational brochures, and digital content. 

Learn more about the powerful relationship between healthcare content, copywriting and brand.

What makes 42group a good choice for a healthcare copywriting agency?

42group is one of the UK’s leading health copywriting agencies. Why? Because we’re 100% focused on building human connections. 

We have a detailed understanding of the healthcare sector, earned from over two decades. We’re journalists at heart, but we combine this rigour with a strategic approach to SEO and digital marketing.

Alongside working with some of the UK and Europe’s leading healthcare providers, pharmaceutical businesses, medical device manufacturers, and disruptive start-ups, we work with a whole host of blue-chip brands (Google, Halfords, Deloitte, etc.) to help them communicate more effectively.

Contact a healthcare copywriter…

If you’re searching for a healthcare copywriting and content partner, the answer is 42. We’re ready to chat about a copywriting or content project, so get in touch today.

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