I obtained one of my first private jobs as a content writer by responding to a Craigslist ad for someone looking to “hire medical writers – no healthcare experience required!” I had done a bit of blog writing and some product descriptions, but I was eager to dip my toes into some SERIOUS writing—medical writing.
This particular job was actually another blog writing gig—for a website of an herbal remedy manufacturer. While this job was short-lived (the company went under about a week after I wrote the first blog), this was only the first of many times I wound up writing content for a product or service that I wouldn’t necessarily take myself.
Some writers feel a moral dilemma about writing this type of content. I understand that feeling. I do have my limits. While every writer will approach these topics a little differently, here are a few ways I manage to write about these potentially questionable medical products/services without making myself feel uncomfortable.
- Keep it Simple – If you are writing about the product or service itself, keep the article simple. Use a journalistic approach and cut out any unneeded verbiage.
- Focus on the Ingredients – If I am writing about an herbal remedy, I tend to try to write about the ingredients themselves. There is likely more scientific (ie research-based) information out there about the ingredients than the product.
- Discuss the History – Talking about the history of a medical practice of product is also a “safe” way to share more about the concept.
- Consider Interviews – If you can write up an interview with one of the practitioners or someone from the manufacturing company, you will have quotes and will be less likely to say something misleading by accident.
- Ask Your Doctor – I always include the disclaimer to talk to your doctor before taking a new product or utilizing a new medical service. If the company I am writing for is uncomfortable with me including this simple line, they are probably a company I do not want to write for anyhow.
- Double Check for Claims – When I re-read my piece to check for spelling errors and grammar mistakes, I make sure that I didn’t accidentally make any unsubstantiated claims about the product. This is very important.
As you can see, you have many things to think about when you are writing about a medical practice or product that may not be 100% tested or proven. If it makes you uncomfortable or the client is not willing to work with you to help you write a piece that is honest, yet flattering, maybe it isn’t the right job for you.
Tracy S likes pina coladas, but despises getting caught in the rain. She’s into yoga pants and most of her clients would agree that she has (at least) half a brain.