February 18, 2021
Content writers can boost your life science marketing strategy. As the editor of Medical Device News Magazine and Biotechnology News Magazine, I am often asked by life science marketing managers how to source content writers for effective marketing campaigns.
So, where do I begin? First, expert-sourced content is crucial for biotech & pharma companies to establish authority, position a product in the market and reach their target audience. Content writers with a scientific background can combine creativity and domain knowledge to strengthen B2B and B2C communications.
But how do you select a good content writer and what makes it worth the investment? In this article, I explain how you can identify opportunities to strengthen your life science marketing strategy and how you can easily fill missing gaps.
Meet your commercial goals with the help of content writers
Traditionally, scientific writers offer help with technical documentation such as clinical trial protocols, clinical case study reports, research papers, and grant proposals. However, marketing campaigns require writers to not just have subject matter expertise but also a flair for developing clear, easy-to-understand content. Content writers are increasingly playing a central role in the digital marketing strategy of biotech companies. Scientific content writers can help with writing, editing, and reviewing:
- SEO-optimized content: Expert SEO writers with a background in the life sciences is one of the most in-demand skills in the industry. Google’s Quality Score and E-A-T guidance make it clear that they value authoritative and trustworthy content, even more so if it’s expert-sourced.
- Blog articles and lead magnets: Subject matter experts can help you develop informative blog articles that can act as top-of-the-funnel assets to improve your company’s visibility and reach.
- White papers: Qualified medical content writers can develop authoritative white papers that identify industry gaps and position your company in the market.
- Press releases: Experienced science writers can develop press releases announcing new developments or product launches from your company. This is especially useful if you’re making the announcement to a scientific audience.
- Sales brochures and presentations: Science content writers can create compelling content for all stakeholders including investors, customers, and prospects. Let’s say you’re a reagent supplier to biotech labs. A scientific writer can help you identify and communicate the USP of your product to your end customers (lab researchers) in a clear and compelling way.
Advantages of working with life science content writers
Thanks to the remote work revolution, the number of highly qualified freelancers that are available on-demand has radically increased. Working with remote workers helps businesses of all sizes scale up (or down) based on requirements. Working with freelance scientific content writers is a great way to source talent without compromising on quality.
Opportunity to outsource: Organizations are increasingly choosing to work with freelance content writers to save on costs associated with hiring full-time staff. Large companies typically have communications teams, where there are “scientific writers” handling the technical aspects, and “digital content writers”, who help translate the scientific communication into marketing content. However small businesses often cannot afford in-house marketing writers. Outsourcing gives SMBs a way to access expert talent for one-off projects.
A step ahead of competitors: Vetted and verified content can serve as an advantage over your competitors. Working with SEO experts can help your content rank better, which is important in an age where real estate on Google’s results page can significantly boost your business.
Save time: A dedicated writer will take the time-consuming process of content creation of your hands, leaving you to focus on improving your marketing strategy and streamlining operations.
What to look for in a scientific content writer
While hiring science writers, it’s important to have a clear job description, especially if you’re hiring remotely. Irrespective of whether they work in research or in the industry, most scientists have experience or training in scientific writing. However, not all of them will necessarily make strong content writers, unless they have experience in:
- Writing scientific content for a general audience
- Writing scientific content with a business/marketing objective
Here are 3 main things you should look for while considering candidates for a content writing position.
A Ph.D. in a life-science-related discipline is a primary requirement for content that requires that level of knowledge. However, some writers may have an MS or a certificate in science journalism along with subject specialization, which can be an advantage. Depending on your target audience, you can choose the level of qualification required: a PhD if you’re speaking to a scientific audience, or an MS or even Bachelor’s if you’re writing for a business/general audience.
- ExpertiseIt’s always good to look for specific subject matter expertise as might be demonstrated by research publications or work experience. Having publications in leading journals means that the candidate is likely to be an expert in the field. It’s useful to narrow down the specific specialty or therapy area expertise you’re looking for. For example, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many research organizations hired freelance science writers with a background in virology to write or verify coronavirus-related content.
- Experience & portfolio
A good science content writer should be able to provide samples of their work. Bear in mind that you’re not necessarily looking for technical expertise here so you don’t want to be looking at their FDA submissions or study protocols: you want to be making sure they can develop strong marketing content. Many science communicators have science blogs or forums that they use for outreach, which is always a plus. Ask for samples of blog articles, white papers, social media copy, or ebooks. If you’re still unsure, asking for a 100-word paragraph on a specific topic should give you a good idea of their writing skills.
Scientists with PhDs now make up a part of the freelance workforce. It is now easier than ever before to source reliable subject matter experts to develop content, especially in the biotechnology industry. Working with freelance biotech content writers can be a valuable investment to strengthen your visibility, reach, and authority in your desired market.