Your valuable health writing skills can be applied to a variety of roles and industries – here’s how.
When you’re getting started as a health writer, chances are you’ll start by considering opportunities such as:
- Health journalism – writing health news and features for newspapers and magazines
- Research reporting – working on medical journals and custom publications
- Regulatory writing for agencies and medical businesses
- Patient education materials for hospitals and health professionals
- Medical copywriting for drug companies and pharmaceutical brands
- Medical writing for government health organisations, research institutions and not-for-profits.
You may not realise, though, that there are many opportunities for health & medical writing work beyond those specific industry roles.
The niche health writing skills you have developed (or are developing now, if you’re becoming a freelance health writer just after college) throughout your career – which include writing, medical knowledge, researching and an understanding of the scientific method – can be applied to a variety of industries.
How your health writing skills can be applied
As a health writer, you have the opportunity to help your clients and employers create better health outcomes – both directly and indirectly. In practice, this could mean bringing a little science to wellness-related services, showing schools and educational institutions the science-backed benefits of how to study better, or taking health and medicine to everyday topics like household cleaning and insurance.
So if you’re looking to broaden your scope and explore some of the more nontraditional roles and opportunities for health writers, here are some creative ways you can put those hard-earned health writing skills to good use.
1. Health blogging for insurance companies
Health insurance is an obvious industry for a health & medical writer to work in – yet many insurance companies, from household and life to car and finance, tackle healthcare and medical topics.
You’ll often see insurance companies producing blogs, newsletters, handouts and publications with health-related advice and news as part of a broader content strategy.
There are plenty of interesting health-related issues to explore in the insurance industry – for example, how health can have an impact on retirement savings, and the psychology behind saving money.
2. Website copywriting for restaurants and cafes
There are healthy and organic restaurants and juice bars pretty much everywhere you turn – and while these businesses are in need of health writers to keep them in check, restaurants and cafes without a health spin could also benefit from the help of a science writer.
For example, adding some science-based nutritional advice to standard menus can help diners understand more about the food they’re eating.
It doesn’t have to be all about healthy, guilt-free food, either. As a medical writer, you could provide content for restaurants that considers the science behind the growing methods of the produce and the specific cooking techniques used by the chefs, as well as the importance of seasoning and how our brains interpret taste.
3. Copywriting for medical billing companies
Medical billing companies handle medical practice bills and accounting. This involves an understanding of how doctors and health professionals work in practice – and it also requires thinking like a doctor to understand why a professional could benefit from having an accountant or billing company handle their billing.
Writing for medical billing companies is about looking at the benefits of helping health professionals save time on admin – and how this translates to less burnout, and more time spent on helping their patients and creating better health outcomes.
4. Article writing for employee wellness companies
Employee wellness is a huge industry right now, with many corporate businesses concerned with issues such as burnout, productivity and stress.
Health writers can use their skills to help wellness providers by providing high-quality content looking at these issues and explaining the science in lay terms – ultimately helping employers help their employees to find practical solutions to employee wellness-related topics.
5. Copywriting for household cleaning products
Natural and organic household products are often promoted as a healthier option – and anything that’s promoted as healthy can benefit from a science writer who understands and can accurately explain the reasons why.
Even regular cleaning and insect repellent products could benefit from better consumer education about appropriate usage and the health effects of improper use. (One of the first clients who contacted me was a natural pesticide supplier who specifically wanted a health writer with the skills to convey the scientific benefits of how his product worked.)
6. Brochure writing for spas and beauty salons
Spas, beauticians and hairdressers could definitely be helped by working with a science-minded medical writer who can create content that explores the evidence-based benefits of their services. With so many different beauty services available, it’s hard for the Average Jane to know which treatments will really achieve the desired results.
Also, there is an abundance of new research and technology in this field, making the beauty industry an exciting space to work in for those who are interested – and who don’t mind debunking a few common beauty myths along the way.
7. Product and website copywriting for food suppliers
Working with food suppliers to produce great content that utilises your health writing skills could involve anything from writing about the benefits of the way a particular coffee bean is harvested and roasted, to the growing methods of certain produce.
It’s also about understanding the fundamental choices that suppliers make in order to benefit the end consumer – as well as answering common consumer questions. We know grass-fed is better, but why? When is a use-by-date a use-by-date, and what happens to your body if you eat chicken that’s a little bit raw? Food suppliers who care about producing excellent produce could be helped by a health writer who can explore the stories driving their passion and dedication.
8. Website writing for activewear clothing companies
Sporting and athletic wear is another fast-growing industry, with more and more products being created specifically to enhance the effects of exercise – at both a recreational and competitive level.
Again, medical writers with good researching skills can help to provide content looking at how sporting gear contributes to improved performance, as well as the health effects of improper training and technique.
9. Copywriting for food and food products
As you’ve probably witnessed, in the health food industry there’s an abundance of healthy food products. Working as a health copywriter to promote the benefits of healthy foods is one thing – but even plain old regular foods could do with someone who has the health writing skills and creativity needed to make them exciting again.
More examples of how health writers can write about food and food products include looking at the science of which foods can be paired with others for maximum absorption and the impact of cooking on a food’s nutritional content.
10. Article writing for education and schools
You can use your health writing skills to write about the many health-related topics to explore in the education industry. The health benefits of learning, how what you eat impacts learning, the most effective techniques for learning, and the importance of taking study breaks – there’s no shortage of content. Research into learning, education, genetics and the environment is growing.
These topics can be explored for children and adults of different sexes and various ages, in a variety of institutions.
11. Writing for accounting & IT companies
As a medical writer who produces consumer health content, it’s your job to translate complex information into clear, compelling prose. These critical health writing skills can be utilised in other industries characterised by complexity – such as IT and accounting.
But if that’s taking things a little too far from where you want to be as a health writer, then consider how you can blend the industries. As an example, the science of spending money, the psychology of how businesses spend and save, and the mental health impact of spending too much time in front of a screen are all issues that impact these ‘boring’ industries.
IT and accounting companies could definitely benefit from having a health writer produce content for their newsletters, websites and industry magazines that explore these types of topics.
Have you used your health writing skills in different industries?