Medical marketers have the trickier-than-it-looks mission of explaining complicated subjects in a manner that’s easy for a range of audiences to understand. Factor in the regulations governing much of the content they produce, and even the simplest writing assignment can prove a major challenge.
To establish yourself as a better medical writer, avoid these common mistakes.
Overusing medical jargon
There’s a time and place for medical jargon, and that place isn’t in medical writing or marketing communications that you expect the average person to understand. Even as you attempt to establish yourself as an expert, it’s completely okay to use more common terms for the ailments or conditions. While characterizing a heart attack as a myocardial infarction is accurate, “heart attack” gets the point across more clearly for the great majority of audiences.
Taking too long to get to the point
The impulse to explain as much as possible is an understandable one – but if you take too long to get to the point, readers will tune out. Get rid of any “fluff” in your writing and eliminate any sentences that are repetitive. No matter the piece of content, you want to ensure you can inform, without dragging on and making it overly complicated.
Not sharing enough specifics
In all medical communications, a writer needs to instill trust and affirm a sense of authority. Vague claims, alas, undercut that authority and can make the content feel like misinformation. Readers are more likely to respond to your message if you break it down into more specific terms.
For example, writing that many people will get skin cancer if they don’t protect themselves from the sun isn’t authoritative. Stating that two out of three Australians will get skin cancer by the time they turn 70 is factual and makes the reader consider the data point.
Failing to keep the audience in mind
It’s important for medical writers to consider their audiences, especially given the huge differences in knowledge and sophistication between HCPs and non-HCPs. If you’re writing with a patient in mind, the content should assume far less knowledge than material targeting a physician. Tailoring your content as needed will ensure that it resonates with the intended audience.
Not double-checking for errors
It’s a necessity to proofread your content before publishing it, especially in a business where it’s so important to be factual. Mistyping a number, for instance, can completely change the meaning of a statistic or study, which could significantly undercut your authority. It’s a simple step to take to ensure accuracy – not to mention preserve your reputation as a writer and communicator.