How to brief a medical writer for a perfect first draft

Gemma Williams, Medical Writer

4 October 2016

I’ve seen a lot of medical writing briefs in my time.

Personally, I don’t rate many of them.

Most focus on timelines, schedules and costs, without giving much thought to the purpose of the project itself – what you want your audience to do – or providing sufficient information.

As a result, a surprising number of projects are passed off to freelancers without providing them with any background materials or information about the product brand strategy.

This often leads to unnecessary research and guesswork, resulting in disappointing content and an extensive revision process.

Save yourself time, budget and annoyance

If you provide your freelancer with all the information they need in one go, they’re more likely to get it right the first time.

This means:

1. Your freelancer can generate targeted, effective content more quickly – which ultimately means more cheaply.

2. You´ll save hours of your time by removing the need for lengthy emails, conversations and multiple document requests.

3. All of your outsourced and in-house medical communications materials will share a consistent tone, messaging and supporting data, reducing rounds of review so you can deliver projects on time and on budget.


A detailed medical writing brief takes more time, but it’s worth it

Quick, effective and painless briefing

When you’re up to your ears in deadlines, overwhelmed by your to-do list and juggling tight budgets, briefing a freelancer can sometimes feel like more work than doing the project yourself.

The good news is that for the majority of brands, most of the work has already been done up-front.

Often, key messages, statements and references already exist (and have also been approved), and can be easily found in product monographs, sales aids and value dossiers.

“If you provide your freelancer with all the information they need in one go, they’re more likely to get it right the first time.”

Providing your writer with these documents will save them from:

1. Having to search for key messages and references themselves, wasting time and budget.

2. Writing ‘blind’, risking misalignment with other marketing materials in your campaign or duplicating writing and referencing efforts.


Avoid medical writing headaches with a good brief template.

I have created a totally free and straightforward editable template and checklist you can use to quickly and easily brief a freelancer to ensure that brand messages are communicated consistently and intensively across all projects and all channels. Click here to download it.


I will help you to bring your message to the world in an intelligent, articulate and engaging way.


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