#057: Writing Opportunities in the Medical Device Industry: An Interview With Casey Demchak

Do you have a healthcare background or an active interest in the medical industry?

And do you have a knack for explaining complex topics in simple language?

If so, you’ll love today’s episode. My guest is medical device copywriting veteran Casey Demchak.

In this interview, Casey spills the beans about this fascinating field of commercial writing. He explains:

  • What’s involved
  • What types of writing projects are in demand
  • Who the best clients are
  • What they look for in a writer

And how you can break into this market, even if you have limited (or zero) industry experience

Casey also shares his thoughts on having multiple specialties or target markets and how he juggles seemingly unrelated niches.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.


Tell us about yourself

Casey started his independent copywriting business about 14 years ago. While trying to launch a career as a screenwriter, he put together a copywriting portfolio. Eventually, he was hired by a health care company to write business proposals and some marketing materials. After a couple of years, he got a job as a senior copywriter at a medical device company.

While there, he picked up freelance copywriting jobs from colleagues who left the company. Eventually he started freelancing full time, with much of his work coming from his previous employer.

When we talk about medical devices, what are we talking about?

Casey has written about breast implants, liposuction devices, penile implants, catheters, spinal implants, kidney dialysis devices, cataract lenses and ultrasound equipment. When you write in this area, you have to learn about personal health problems, including watching surgical videos.

Companies that develop medical devices also have programs to reach consumers (i.e. DTC programs or “direct to consumer”).

Casey also writes copy for patient education guides and consumer websites.

What types of writing projects are common in this industry?

The medical device industry has the same marketing materials you’d expect to find in other B2B companies, such as brochures, sales sheets, print ads, websites, landing pages, e-blast campaigns, blogs, e-newsletter articles and video scripts.

In the medical device space, you generally have three categories of writers:

  • B2B copywriters
  • Technical writers
  • Medical writers.

Casey calls himself a “B2B copywriter in the medical device industry.”

What are medical device clients like?

Your typical client will have a marketing communications department with a marketing communications manager and in house product managers. You may work for the marketing communications manager or direct with a product manager.

How can you break into this industry?

If you have a solid background in an industry, try and draw parallels between your niche and the medical device industry.

Some writing assignments require less medical expertise than others, such as blog posts, newsletters articles and case studies, so those are good places to start.

You’re dealing with people who have business or medical backgrounds, so you need to back up your copy with marketing strategy, not emotion.

Other factors, such as reliability and likeability, are still important.

Leverage any connections you have. Don’t assume you’re going to get a “no.”

Once you’re in this market, how can you build momentum?

Get involved in LinkedIn. Participate in LinkedIn medical marketing groups by answering questions, getting involved in discussions and offering helpful information. More and more companies look for contractors through LinkedIn.

Does positioning yourself as a medical device writer limit you in other industries?

Casey originally positioned himself as a generalist on his website. When he narrowed his positioning to the medical device industry, it hurt his results. He has since broadened it.

He is an active member of the Business Marketing Association (BMA) and often lands other B2B writing assignments through it.

Tell us about the other areas you specialize in

Casey focuses his work in three areas:

  • Medical device industry
  • Authors, speakers and coaches
  • Other B2B

He markets all three on his website.

He also has a messaging specialty: “key message copy platforms.” It’s great for companies that need lots of copy but have a limited budget. Instead of writing several marketing pieces, you put the central messaging in one document. The client can then use it to create other pieces of collateral.

How did you get into authors, speakers and coaches?

Casey has a contact who designs book covers and layouts for self-published authors. He’s referred authors to Casey for help with their back cover sales copy.

A year ago, Casey exhibited at Author U, a national organization for authors, speakers and coaches. He’s landed a lot of work from consulting firms that work with authors on bestseller campaigns.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Website: http://www.caseydemchak.com



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  • Marygwyn

    I am surprised that there are no comments on this podcast. I thought it was really interesting. There are so many possible avenues for writing in the medical industry. I had not considered devices as a separate part of the industry. I also enjoyed hearing how Casey broke into the market and how he leverages his experience in unrelated fields to gain clients.

    • edgandia

      I’m with you, Marygwyn! Surprised more people didn’t comment. Although I did get quite emails from listeners thanking me for the info. And the episode did spread enthusiastically in social media. Thanks for checking it out — and for your comment! 😉

  • I am a new podcast subscriber. I especially enjoyed this episode since my background (and most of my writing) is in healthcare. Excellent information!

    • edgandia

      Thanks for checking it out, Mike! Glad you found my podcast. Hope you keep getting value from the episodes.

  • Michael Allen

    Excellent episode! I’ve been in medical sales for approximately 10 years, yet my passion is marketing. Casey’s comment about breaking in using blog opportunities intrigued me. There are a lot of challenges with regulatory scrutiny around anything construed as promotional. I’d love to hear his take on delivering effective messaging in that environment vs his other B2B projects.

    • Casey

      Hi Michael – Yes, regulatory scrutiny does impact B2B copywriting in the medical device market. All of your marketing claims must be substantiated with clinical evidence. So if you make a performance claim, you better have proof to back it up.

      Also, when writing marketing copy for medical devices you quite often have to water down your copy with phrases like: “It’s intended to help reduce,” instead of, “It reduces.” This can make for copy that is less punchy – but that’s just the way it is. Medical companies are always very happy to find copywriters who understand how to write copy within FDA and legal guidelines. Does this help you? Thanks for listening to the podcast. I appreciate it. Best, Casey

      • Michael Allen

        Absolutely. Thanks Casey! It sounds a lot like my sales messages. This “may” provide 12 hour efficacy unlike older therapeutic options which were intended to last up to 6 hours. I get why we have to state things in this manner, yet physicians and even patients tend to raise their eye brows and wonder why we aren’t speaking in straight English. Your insight that many health providers may not offer newer and typically better solutions is an important message to get out there. Not a day passes that I don’t see a doctor resist change, often because the insurance company or administrators are putting them under pressure to fear the very change and technological improvements that healthcare needs.