Medical writing and copywriting do share a few similarities. They are both concerned with communicating with clients and often break down larger concepts in a way that regular people can understand. That being said, there is a world of difference between these two skills that every writer should understand.
Medical writing is much more data driven than copywriting. The primary function of a medical writer is to take information from studies and then communicate that information with clients and buyers. They will also ensure that all writing communicates the information properly and not in a misleading way.
Copywriting is sometimes called creative writing because copywriters are allowed to spin information in unique and colorful ways. While medical writing does have some creativity in order to make medications more attractive to clients, these writers are often more concerned with stating the claims of the medication or treatment and making sure relevant clients hear about the benefits.
Laws and Ethics
Medical writers have much more laws and ethics to worry about than copywriters. As state above, copywriters can spin concepts, claims, and products in many colorful ways. There are laws and they cannot bend the truth too much, but they have more creative freedom.
Medical writers must ensure that all information is completely accurate. For example, claiming a treatment is relevant for certain populations when it’s not may result in lawsuits or people getting hurt if they attempt the treatment. Accuracy and attention to details is much more important with medical writing.
Copywriters receive a variety of projects. They might write about software one day and information products the next. While it’s good if they have extensive knowledge of their topic, they can often do research after receiving the project to ensure it sounds good to their clients.
Medical writers don’t have this luxury. They are expected to have extensive medical knowledge before writing. They need to know how to read medical reports, how drugs are created, safety laws and so on. These writers don’t need to know about every drug or therapeutic procedure, but they need overall knowledge of how medications and procedures work.
Medical writing involves a fair amount of persuasion, but not as much as copywriting. Since copywriters are primarily concerned with marketing and making products move, they tend to use writing tricks that persuade and lead clients to spend their cash. Medical writers also want people to buy medications or ask about procedures, but the point is more about informing than selling. Medical writing is concerned with telling clients why their product is better or how it better suits their needs.
Sometimes medical writing is only concerned with telling clients about the benefits. There are many commercials and inserts that basically list what a certain medication or procedure does without trying to win over the client.
Almost every copywriter will work for a marketing agency where they will receive projects for a variety of businesses. They might work for other companies, but most are found connected to a marketing agency where they also work with other creative professionals.
Medical writers are found most often working for pharmacies, hospitals and pharmaceutical development companies. While their job is technically in the marketing sector, they rarely work for marketing agencies.
Similar to Technical Writing
Medical writing is like specialized technical writing. While a copywriter may only deal with a small amount of technical details, medical writing requires technical details in every project. From the smallest insert to the largest book, medical writing is concerned with taking the details from studies and making them available to clients.
Medical writing and copywriting do share some similarities, but medical writing is much closer to technical writing. That’s because medical writing is concerned with communicating medical details and ensuring that clients understand why a medical or procedure is beneficial to them. Both are concerned with communicating to clients, but in very different ways.