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How blogging can enhance your career as a medical writer

How blogging can enhance your career as a medical writer

By Michelle Guillemard

I know what you’re thinking: nobody wants to read a blog about medical writing. You don’t want to write for free. There are enough blogs out there already. Right?

Here’s the truth: blogging is one of your most important business strategies. It’s a must-have for all medical writers (freelance or permanently employed, beginner or old-hand) who want to build a profile, get more clients, network with other writers, and stay ahead of the game.

What’s it all about?

In a nutshell, blogging enhances your business. Blogging shows that you care about being a medical writer and that you have something interesting to offer. It establishes you as a credible expert, and it showcases your writing skills to the rest of the community.

Great bloggers encourage their audience to choose their services over someone else’s by posting excellent content and building trust with their readers.

Medical writing and blogging

As a medical writer, you would know that medicine is an exciting industry for writers to be a part of: it’s ever-changing and controversial. There’s massive potential for debate, discussion and education. Health affects everyone, and there’s always something to say about it.

If you’re blogging to grow your business, try to write about an area of medicine with good potential for dialogue that also relates to the services you offer. You need to be confident that you can tackle the big issues with authority. Some ideas include: clinical research, medical ethics, evidence, complementary and alternative medicine, issues in practice, the craft of medical writing, and medical ghost writing.

The blogosphere

When blogs first began to emerge in the digital realm, they were often used as online diaries in which writers could express their own private thoughts and frustrations.

Over the last few years, blogs have evolved considerably and now function as highly-regarded business tools offering expert opinion and advice. They are breaking news outlets, collaborative spaces, and digital portfolios.

Blogs are also places where writers can provoke thought and encourage debate on particular topics that they feel passionate about: for example, “10 Reasons Why Randomised Controlled Trials Are Useless”.

The best blogs focus on one particular subject – in order to be relevant and engaging. One of my all-time favourites is the emergency medicine/critical care blog Life In The Fast Lane.

Materials and methods

Luckily, you already have the writing skills down pat. Here’s what else you need to add to your medical blogging toolkit.

How blogging can get you more clients

Google rankings

Blogging helps you to get the best results in a Google search – but only if you produce relevant, topical and engaging content that your target audience would be searching for and want to read: for example, “5 Ways For Medical Students To Make More Money”.

Your blog can also help you to rank well in Google if it is optimised for search engines, meaning you should make the effort to use relevant key words and terms in your page titles, headings and content: “In Stitches: A blog For Medical Students” as opposed to just “In Stitches”.

Tip: Choose relevant page titles for your blog. Google “medical writing blog” and see who comes up first!

Expertise

Blogging on a regular basis helps to build your credibility in your niche as the go-to person in your field. When issues break, others will begin to look to you for comment. If you have a blog with regular posts, some good reader feedback and original content, you’ll appear more credible which will provide you with more followers (and more paid work).

Tip: The more controversial your post title, the better! It’s your hook to lure the reader into your digital realm.

Networking

Networking with other high profile bloggers will get you more exposure and help to build your credibility. You can write guest posts for other blogs and encourage other bloggers to do the same on your blog. Links to your blog from other websites also help your Google ranking. Commenting on popular blogs with a link to your blog is another great way to get more traffic.

Tip: Join as many industry and writing groups as you can on Linkedin and Google+ to stay up to date with the latest issues and industry trends.

Published work

Blog posts are published articles you can use to build your online portfolio – a bonus being that you can generate comments and debate, showing that your posts are widely read and appreciated. If you’re an emerging writer who is just considering a career in medical writing, a blog is a great way to practise and build up a base of published work. Novice writers have secured book deals off the back of only a blog.

 Tip: Ask other writers to check your work before you publish it if you’re unsure of the quality. Your blog is just as important as any other published work and should be treated as such.

Remember: blogging is one of your most valuable marketing tools, and every medical writer who is serious about growing their career should blog regularly.

Do you have a medical blog? Or do you have any questions about getting your blog going? Leave a comment below.

Michelle Guillemard is an Australian health and medical writer. Follow her on Twitter @michellegwriter, add her on Google+ or visit her health writing community, Health Writer Hub.

AMWA 2020 – Medical Writing and Communication During the COVID-19 Crisis

For those who attended the AMWA 2020 Special Virtual Event: 'Medical Writing and Communication During the COVID-19 Crisis' on Thursday 19 November, we are sure you would agree that it was an invaluable two hours. The calibre of speakers and their learnings from this unprecedented crisis were beyond our expectations. We are humbled by their willingness to give their personal time to share their experience with us. 

If you missed the live event, a recording will be made available to AMWA members in the Members Area shortly. If you are not yet an AMWA member, but would like to join, you can visit our membership and benefits page here. Annual membership is $80 for full members and $40 for students.

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