Science Copywriting: Frequently Asked Questions

By Apara Timileyin

We’ve talked about what science copywriting is as well as the art of selling using science copywriting. Expand your science copywriting knowledge further in this blog with answers to frequently asked questions about it.

Get the answers to your frequently asked questions about science copywriting in this post. #ScienceWriting #MarketingTwitter

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Photo by Daniel Thomas on Unsplash

Why should anyone care about science copywriting?

Marketers know that consumers care about ideas or products that satisfy their wants and needs. Sometimes, though, there are times that they can’t wrap their head around what they want. Maybe the options are too complex or require highly technical information to make a decision. Perhaps they are making a decision involving their health, and need the medical information broken down to them in a way that they can easily understand. Situations like this are where science copywriting comes in.

Put simply, science copywriting helps people better understand the options they face. Copywriters offer solutions to their audience’s real-world problems – some that they might not have ever known that they had. 

Science copywriting should not take a backseat in your marketing strategy. Consumers increasingly seek out information about products, especially online, and opt to be informed rather than read marketing “fluff.”

Besides providing solutions to make your audience’s lives and businesses better, take your time to explain the science behind your solution. Explain the whats, whys, and hows of your remedy in a clear, concise way that anyone can understand. As I’ve previously blogged, science can be very persuasive.

What types of writing can I do as a science copywriter?

Science writers can contribute their skills and expertise in a variety of copywriting areas. Just like any other copywriter, your skills can be useful in writing many different kinds of content for various purposes, including:

  • Websites (for example, product pages and scientific information pages)
  • Direct mail or email campaigns
  • Press releases and other publications designed for the media
  • Organizational communications (for example, employee newsletters and internal communications)
  • Product descriptions and specifications
  • Datasheets, white papers, and other materials intended for scientists or product developers
  • Brochures, folders, booklets, flyers, and posters 
  • Research papers and reports

As a science copywriter, your research skills come in handy, enabling you to write well-researched white papers and other science-heavy communications. If you are a scientist turned science writer or a scientist dabbling in science communication, you can use your skills in science copywriting to explain the complexities of science in an easy-to-understand way. You will be able to write persuasive copy using your subject matter expertise as someone with a science background.

Should I be formal or informal when writing science copy?

An important part of writing is to understand your audience, and know how their mind works. That way, you’ll be able to write words tailored to their interests.

As a science copywriter, your audience might include the following segments:

  • Scientists who are looking for information about your product or service
  • Decision-makers within their organizations who need to make purchasing decisions about your product or service
  • The media, who might cover your company’s news – for example, if you are launching an exciting new product
  • Everyday consumers who are looking for an entertaining read about science or are in the market for your product or service

So, it is often recommended you write like you are talking to a friend but in a serious tone. That is, don’t make your writer’s voice too formal nor too relaxed. Strike a balance between both manners of speaking. 

Your goal is to capture your reader’s attention and convince them that they need your idea or product. As I’ve previously written about science copywriting, you need to think out of the box sometimes when you write a headline. So strictly writing formally might restrict your creativity. 

Keep in mind that your science copy must be factually accurate and concise, with valuable information that the reader can use. Don’t be too informal or talk about irrelevant things. As Neville Medhora says, “have 70% interesting content, 30% sales.” The goal is to write interestingly enough that the reader will forget you are pushing an idea or product to them.

Must I have a science background to be a science copywriter?

No, science copy doesn’t have to be written by scientists. Ideally, you should have some experience with science, but that doesn’t mean you need a Master’s or PhD in the sciences. Many science copywriters do not even have a strong background in science; they are just intensely curious and willing to learn about the subjects about which they are writing.

If you are a scientist turned science writer, though, a science background helps a lot. The most important thing in science writing is to have a good idea of what you are writing about. As a scientist, your research skills, ability to brush up quickly on things you don’t know about, and ability to communicate complex subjects in an accessible way are a huge asset.

To write good science copy, you’ll need to do a lot of research into whatever you are writing about – for example, the nature of a product or service, its competitors, and people’s reviews and perceptions about the product or its industry. While you do not need a science background to do this, adequate research skills will go a long way.

Make sure you can communicate complex scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand way; then, you’ll be good to go.

How much can I make as a science copywriter?

You’ll be delighted to know that science copywriting can be lucrative! Before you start as a science copywriter, you need to decide if you’ll be a freelancer or if you’ll work exclusively for an organization. Whichever path you decide to follow will affect your income.

As a freelancer, you get paid mostly per hour or word. Ideally, you should have both a per-word rate and an hourly rate, and these should be similar. So, for example, you may charge $25/hour or $0.10 per word. That way, a 1000-word blog post that takes you 4 hours to write will be $100, whether using a rate that’s by the word (1000 words * $0.10/word = $100) or hourly (4 hours x $25/hr = $100).

Freelance science writers typically charge their rates depending on their level of expertise. So you may start charging anywhere from $20 per hour when you are just starting out. As you get more clients, you gain new skills, so you can raise your rate over time. If you can communicate why it’s worth it to hire you at a higher rate, you can charge an hourly rate of as much as $200 (or more) as a professional science copywriter with several years of experience. Of course, your payment also depends largely on the budget of your client and how much and what type of work is required. 

You can also opt to work as a full-time science copywriter, for example, with a biotech company or high-tech startup. According to ZipRecruiter, a science copywriter can earn between $43k to $122k annually. If you decide to work exclusively for a company, you could expect a salary of $70k on average – not too bad! Of course, this varies depending on the industry or niche the company operates under. Some of the most lucrative niches in copywriting fall under the science and/or technology writing umbrellas – these niches include medical, technology, and financial copywriting.

Where can I find jobs as a science copywriter?

Getting a job as a science copywriter is easy but takes a lot of work. You’ll need to know how to market yourself. Also, you’ll have a lot of competition to get a job or gig – you’ll be competing with many other copywriters. You’ll need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. If you’re a scientist turned science writer, your science skills will set you apart from the other copywriters applying for each job.

Sometimes, science copywriting jobs will not be listed as “science copywriting jobs,” but as “copywriting” jobs. For example, a company may be looking for a science-minded copywriter to develop marketing content for a nutritional supplement, which involves knowledge of biomedicine, but the job will not be listed as science copywriting, just as a normal copywriting gig. Keep that in mind as you look for jobs.

You can find science copywriting jobs on platforms like Upwork. You can also search for and apply to them on LinkedIn or Indeed. Another option is to contact companies directly. You can send cold emails or message them on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. You’ll need to convince them that they need you and that their marketing or advertising campaigns will benefit as a result of hiring you. Make sure to add a writing sample, if you have experience writing in that field, because proof of expertise goes a long way in science copywriting. Prospective clients want to read an example of your writing to get an idea of what you can do for them. If you are not new to science copywriting, they will also be curious about what wins you have delivered for previous clients.

Do I have to be familiar with the latest scientific research to write compelling science copy?

No, but it helps – a lot.

Being familiar with the latest scientific research is not necessarily a condition for writing good copy. After all, most freelance writers don’t work as scientists full-time. While you may not need to be an expert in any field of science, you need to “know” your niche.

However, having a science background or even being a scientist can help you produce more accurate and relevant copy. Scientific research works great as a reference material, and explaining the science behind something highly technical and complex can be more compelling and persuasive than simply touting its benefits.

How can I improve my science copywriting skills?

Write!!! Write a lot!!!

Practice makes perfect. To hone your copywriting skills, you need practice and lots of it. You can start anywhere, by writing samples for random topics you find online, to taking on free jobs from companies. Just make sure you write. 

One perk of being a copywriter is: you can earn money as you practice by writing for small companies or outsourcers that are willing to hire a novice copywriter.

You can’t write without knowing. Endeavor to stay up-to-date on trending topics and events in the science world.

What is SEO and why is it important in science copywriting?

SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, refers to the process of making your web content stand out in Google’s search results pages. When writing any web copy, including science copy, it is essential to know about SEO. In a nutshell, SEO involves understanding what people are searching for on search engines, and tailoring your writing to be informative and persuasive while addressing their concerns, as well as including common key words and phrases searched. It’s not enough to include certain keywords – your copy must address them in a way that provides value to the reader.

The same concept applies for social media copy. If the content you write will be shared on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, you will need to optimize your copy there as well. For instance, you will need to research relevant hashtags to add that may fit with the content. Optimization will help you reach the exact or likely targets that will be interested in what you’re offering.

Research hot and trending keywords using SEO tools such as Google Trends, SEMRush, and Google Keyword Planner. Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook are also great sources to find hashtags and buzzwords people are using for your product or its industry – and what they are saying about it more generally (this is also called “social listening”). 

You can then, strategically include these key words and phrases in your copy. Don’t be like copywriters that engage in keyword stuffing, making their work look clunky and overwhelming readers with bad writing. Write strategically – for human readers rather than algorithms.For more information about incorporating SEO into your science writing, read about how to improve your SEO, or check out all of Fancy Comma’s articles about SEO.

What copywriting tools can help with my science copywriting?

There are lots of applications and software out there to help you communicate more effectively and make your copy more compelling. Typos and jargon can make science copywriting difficult to read; plagiarism can undermine your work’s credibility. Take advantage of the following tools to make your writing easier to understand and ensure that it is plagiarism-free. Here are a few essential tools I recommend:

Grammarly is an online grammar checker that can help you catch mistakes in your writing before you submit it. It’s free to use, but you’ll have to unlock some advanced features by going premium. Nevertheless, it functions wonderfully in its free mode and it also integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other popular word processing apps.

Plagiarism can damage your credibility as a copywriter. Copyscape is an online plagiarism checker that allows you to make sure your writing doesn’t contain any plagiarized material. Copyscape is available in both free and paid versions.

The Hemingway app is a free online tool that makes your writing easier to read. It highlights long sentences and informs you of parts of the text where you can make your writing more clear. It also provides tips for improving your style, such as removing unnecessary words from your sentences and eliminating passive voice. It is also available as a paid desktop version.

For more in-depth examples of tools you’ll need as a copywriter, check out this post.

Can social media help me learn science copywriting?

Social media is probably the easiest way to learn anything, including science copywriting. From threads, to hashtags, to forums, pages, and YouTube videos and channels – the opportunities to learn from and interact with copywriting experts are limitless. 

Especially if you’re a scientist new to science copywriting, you’ll want to gain experience in copywriting by interacting with the experts. You can work on improving your copywriting skills and, as you do so, figure out ways to combine these skills with your science knowledge to become a skilled science copywriter. 

Youtube and Twitter are leading social media sites to interact with copywriting professionals for free. In fact, many leading copywriters are happy to share their knowledge with you regularly. Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Kourse on YouTube takes you through writing effective copy, from creating your first sales page to creating a sales funnel that turns browsers into buyers. You can also find a list of copywriting YouTube channels here.Lastly, if you ask me, Twitter’s role in copywriting isn’t talked about enough. There are hundreds of threads on copywriting posted every day. I often chat about copywriting on Twitter, so follow me there @AparaTimileyin!

Visit Fancy Comma on Twitter and Instagram for more about science writing, including science copywriting. You can also read all of Fancy Comma’s blogs about science copywriting.

photo of apara timileyin

Apara Timileyin writes copy and engaging content for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. If he’s not writing, you’ll find him in front of movies or anime screens, reading a book, listening to his favorite songs or taking landscape pictures. He can be reached on Twitter @AparaTimileyin and on Instagram @the_timii.


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