As the years have gone by, I’ve found that the perceptions of what a healthcare copywriter is have changed.
When I first started out as a copywriter, I didn’t have a dedicated art director and I was in charge of filing all the clinical papers. The account managers and account directors all had science degrees but I can’t remember using Zinc at all. I highlighted each clinical paper individually, with a highlighter pen and sent off a neatly packaged reference pack to the product manager through the mail.
A healthcare copywriter had to have the knowledge of a medical writer, the research skills of a pHd student, the flair of a creative and be able to proofread and edit their own work. I remember being introduced to a Mac for the first time too.
Fast forward 15 years and the industry has changed quite a bit. The bigger agencies have proofreaders and editors assigned to each team, as well as medical writers for fact checking and referencing. Projects are seamlessly managed online, where you can quickly and easily look at previous iterations as well as track changes. Thick, heavy, physical job bags are a thing of the past in some agencies (hurrah!). Zinc is used by the majority of companies I’d say and the trilogy of detail aid, mailer and leavepiece is no longer the backbone of a campaign.
So although I now have the luxury of editors and proofreaders, flexibility and adaptability are still key to the job. I can be knee-deep in Zinc for 3 days before being asked to write a website for patients, or congress panels that may or may not need to be interactive.
I still need to know my way around a clinical paper and have made my peace with Zinc and the art of marking up a PDF. A brief is still only as good as its single-minded proposition and although the communication channels may have changed, a story still needs a beginning (or an unmet need) and an end (a call to action).
So where does that leave me? What kind of writer am I?
I’m a flexible, knowledgeable, experienced healthcare copywriter that can be trusted to get on with the job and deliver ABPI-compliant copy that gets the message across.
I’m a healthcare copywriter extraordinaire.