by Michelle Guillemard
So you’re a writer with five, ten, or even twenty years of health writing experience.
You’re way beyond beginner, so you should have the edge up on any newbies who are emerging into the field, right?
These days, we’re faced with an enormous challenge: Over 92,000 pieces of content are published online every day.
So, if you want to compete as a health and medical writer, your focus should be on how you can produce original and engaging content as well as relying on the experience that backs you up.
Note that I say produce content, but I do mean writing. Even health and medical writers penning serious scientific articles, editorials, research papers and technical documents need to start thinking about their work as content. Moreover, every piece of content should be produced with marketing in mind.
Not your job to market content? Wrong again. If you want eyeballs on your words, you are a content marketer as well as a content producer. Marketing in the content world means considering the strategy of getting your content read. And if you don’t care about this, why would you be in the business of writing?
Using your health writing experience strategically
This year, focus on how you can use your experience to produce the best content.
Moz identified four main content trends for 2014 in a post considering the future of content. The first point was that competition to gain audience interest will increase.
If you’re writing for print publications, you may think that this has nothing to do with you – but it does. The point is that you’re competing for your reader’s time, so even if you’re not writing for the digital space, your reader is consuming some of those 92,000 pieces of content in any given day. Your content – whether digital or print – is up against some strong competition. What would make anyone choose your content over anything else? Keep this question top of mind when you write.
Caring about metrics
Moz also reckon metrics are going to become more important for businesses. This means thinking more seriously about what makes a piece of content successful. It could be page views, sales, feedback, social media interactions (eg Likes, Shares, Retweets) – whatever your client or employer determines (the article has a handy table of key metrics that companies use to measure the effectiveness of their content).
The other two predictions about the future of content discuss increased interest in content integration (content will be produced for multiple channels) and the importance of producing content for new mediums (tablets, kiosks, etc). If these concepts are new to you, then definitely take the time to read the piece in detail.
Content marketing predictions
In a similarly-themed piece, Mashable penned their top 10 content marketing predictions for 2014. Their first point – arguably the most important for us health and medical writers – is that content will become a department of its own. A content department will be a place where savvy ex-print journalists could find themselves – in a Director of Medical Content role, for example.
This brings me back to the point I was trying to make earlier on: you and I are no more writers than we are content producers.
We need to think more about how our content appears from our reader’s perspective as much as we need to focus on writing high quality, scientifically accurate work.
This includes things like context and format, too. Will your content be sent in an email? Will it be on a website with ten other headlines all competing with one another for clicks?
The fundamentals of what makes a piece engaging, interesting and consumable are applicable to everything that health and medical writers produce – whether for consumers or professionals.
Have you started thinking about how to make your content more consumable this year?