Much to the chagrin of medical professionals, the internet has allowed people from all over the world to self-diagnose and easily get information that should most likely be coming from doctors.
Having specialised in health writing for ten years, Michelle Guillemard has long been passionate about providing readers with content that can help them. As the internet exploded with both health-related content and writers wanting to produce it, she saw the need for a service to help people write about health properly. As a result, she created Health Writer Hub, a resource for health and medical writers. It’s full of training courses and modules, advice, mentoring opportunities, and job listings.
“I strongly believed in the concept of a niche community about health and medical writing. Writing about health and medicine isn’t like writing about other subject matters. I don’t believe you need a medical degree as such, but I do think you need a solid understanding of health and medical terminology, diseases, conditions, and issues. Also, clients and employers prefer to hire and recruit writers who have specific health/medical writing-related expertise,” Guillemard said.
“I feel health writing is largely about social responsibility and understanding that people will make extremely important choices after reading the content you produce. It’s a profession that blurs the line between writer and adviser, which is why ongoing training, development and keeping up to date with the industry is so important. Ethics and ideology also play a massive role.”
Guillemard funded and built the site herself on WordPress, and now has several revenue streams including including advertising, membership, courses, and other products.
“Initially I marketed my business where my target audience was: online communities, social media, and medical writing associations. Now, I have a strong and growing email list and online presence so people who search for related topics find Health Writer Hub via our blog posts as well,” she said.
“While it seems like my market is a niche, it’s actually broader than one may assume. I made the decision to go global immediately and most of my users and members are based overseas.”
With every second person on the internet starting a blog or posting essays on Medium and calling themselves writers, it has never been easier for people to go online and find something to read. However, it can often be difficult to find writing that contains accurate, researched information and, when it comes to a topic like health, accuracy is key. As a result, outlets will pay for properly researched pieces that can actually help and inform readers. Though there are dozens of online writing courses available, a platform like Health Writer Hub will continue to grow as writers find it’s worth investing to learn how to write for a niche topic.
Guillemard adds that medical students, researchers, and health professionals have also joined the platform in order to learn how to write for an audience.
The goal for 2015 is to continue to grow the site steadily and put together new products.
“I’m constantly looking at new ways I can grow the site and enhance the offerings. I’ll be launching new courses based on what my members want.”