Getting started as a health blogger: The beginner’s guide


Getting started as a health blogger: The beginner's guide

So, you’re thinking about getting started as a health blogger. Excellent news! The internet needs more high-quality, socially-responsible bloggers like you.

Maybe you already have an idea for a health topic and need essential advice to take that concept to the next level. Or, perhaps you’re just thinking about getting started in the health blogosphere.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Getting started as a health blogger: The beginner’s guide contains my top resources for aspiring health bloggers. The guide is perfect for you if you want to start a health blog or write health blogs as a freelance writer for clients and employers.

What is a health blogger?

A health blogger is a writer who writes blogs about health and medical topics!

More than just writers, health bloggers must be experts at marketing and social media, too. The most popular health bloggers have sizeable social media followings and spend a lot of time promoting their blog posts and messages via Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as well.

The best health blogs are well-researched, socially-responsible articles with a compelling, useful, helpful and often inspiring message, delivered in an authentic voice and written by an engaging, entertaining writer.

What is a health blog post?

Blogs are articles that combine essential elements of opinion pieces and health features.

There are many critical differences between health blogging and health writing.

Blogs are often personal anecdotes and stories, written in the first person, talking to the reader directly, sharing health tips and advice.

In health blogs, the bloggers themselves are usually the chief expert or authority on the topic. In a feature article, the writer interviews experts and brings together facts, anecdotes and research. In patient education material, the purpose is usually to educate and inform.

Who can I write for as a health blogger?

As a health blogger, you can:

  • Write and manage a health blog you created, and/or
  • Write on behalf of clients and employers as a freelance writer.

If you want to start and manage a health blog, there are many steps to consider before you begin. You’ll need to:

  • Find a health blogging niche – ideally choose a topic that’s creative and different
  • Consider how to build a following – who is your target audience? (Hint – it’s not ‘everyone’)
  • Grow an email list – email marketing is an essential tool for health bloggers
  • Manage your blogging schedule – ain’t nobody telling you when and how to publish
  • Come up with ideas for regular blog posts – again, nobody’s going to do this for you
  • Publish your blog posts – try and stick to a regular schedule, and remember that consistency trumps frequency
  • Share your posts on social media and via email – the work isn’t done when you’ve finished writing a blog post
  • Manage multiple social media accounts – you’ll be expected to have an online presence to back up your blog
  • Build your brand as an expert or someone knowledgeable in your field – you can do this by posting high-quality blogs on interesting, insightful topics.

If you’d like to offer health blogging as a service in your freelance writing business, you’ll need to identify companies, magazines, websites that accept health article pitches and other bloggers who hire freelancers to write health blogs. Typically, this includes:

  • Healthcare brands and businesses
  • Healthy lifestyle websites
  • Health, lifestyle, women’s and fashion magazines that have their own blog
  • Personal bloggers and health professionals

As a freelance writer offering blogging services, you could be writing as yourself or as a ‘ghost writer’ – meaning you don’t get a byline.

Where can I see examples of health blogs?

If you’d like to see some example of health blogs in action, you can check out:

  • Healthline’s best healthy living blogs
  • This list of awesome content from real healthcare blogs
  • Tim Crowe’s Thinking Nutrition blog
  • Sarah McKay’s Your Brain Health blog

You can also read blogs of the world’s top medical journals, like the British Medical Journal blog.

And, increasingly, many health professionals, hospitals, and health insurers publish blogs which feature posts about health and medical topics as well as company news.

Even newspapers, like the New York Times’ Well, have branded health blogs.

You also find other companies that are not in the healthcare industry, like car insurers, publish company blogs which also feature health and wellness topics.

What can I write about as a health blogger?

You can write about anything you like, but if you want to be a successful health blogger, you’ll need to put some strategy into your blog.

Considerations include:

  • A blog theme you are passionate about and interested in – you’ll be writing about this topic a lot!
  • A health topic that people want to read about – but make sure your angle is unique enough to stand out
  • A sizeable niche or audience – you’ll want a vast potential audience so you can grow your readership over time
  • Useful posts that solve problems and provide answers to key questions – the best blogs are helpful and actionable
  • A socially responsible message – being a health blogger involves a lot of responsibility, and you need to be prepared to honour that responsibility
  • A beautiful blog design – you may need to hire a designer if blog design is new to you
  • Awareness of health blogging best practices – commitment to regularly producing well-written, well-researched, evidence-based blog posts.

What skills do I need to be a health blogger?

To be a successful health blogger, you (obviously) need to know how to write engaging, compelling, accurate and credible health blogs!

When it comes to health blogging, quality matters. You’ll need to learn how to write high-quality health and wellness blogs that have a strong evidence base.

Credibility and responsibility are essential mindsets for health bloggers.

It is essential to understand where to draw the line when it comes to giving health advice and how you will ensure your health blogs are responsible and best practice.

A key question that often comes up in this industry is whether health bloggers should give health advice.

Of course, as a health blogger, you may attract controversy from time to time when you post about emotive or divisive health topics.

Part of being a health blogger is responding to questions and comments from readers without getting emotional – for example, how to address vaccine hesitancy in writing.

You’ll also need the following skills:

  • Technical know-how – especially if you’ll be DIY-ing your website
  • Marketing skills – including email marketing
  • Medical editing skills – check out our medical editing course for a helping hand
  • Social media knowledge – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
  • Excellent organisational skills – spreadsheets will be your friend
  • Responsible, professional outlook – treat your blog like a business
  • Idea generation – the ability to come up with unique ideas for compelling, engaging blogs
  • Engaging writing skills – the ability to translate complex medical content into a high-quality blog.

To learn more about the essential skills health bloggers need, read this list of 6 common characteristics of the most successful health bloggers.

How do I plan, structure and write a health blog post?

To get familiar with health blogs, start by reading as many blogs as you can find and following health bloggers you admire.

If you’re new to writing, consider taking a health writing course or a blogging course as a starting point.

Our Introduction to Health Writing course has an entire week focused on health blogging, plus bonus lessons about simplifying complex medical content and inspiring behaviour change through effective communication.

Do I need a degree to be a health blogger?

Not necessarily. Some bloggers have communications degrees, others don’t.

Some bloggers have science or medical backgrounds or study health and nutrition, and others don’t.

A writing degree or diploma isn’t an essential qualification for health bloggers, but you do need a strong base of crucial skills.

If you’d like to write medical blogs on behalf of industry or pharmaceutical companies, you may need a PhD – hiring companies usually specify this in their job advertisements.

Ultimately, you’ll need to think about why you’re blogging, who you’re helping and why anyone would trust you to write about the topic you’ve chosen. Find your ‘why’, in other words.

Do I need a health blog to be a professional freelance health writer?

I always recommend that health and medical writers have both blogs and websites to market their freelance businesses.

If you’re working as a freelance writer, then a health blog can enhance your career and work prospects. A blog can be a useful freelance marketing tool to help:

  • Showcase your writing skills
  • Demonstrate that you have the initiative and skills to manage a blog and stick to a publishing schedule
  • Give you practice coming up with engaging ideas and turning those ideas into compelling blog posts.

As someone who hires writers and health bloggers, I’m always impressed when a freelance writer’s website includes a quality blog.

How can I start a health blog?

If you’ve decided that you’re ready to start your health blog, check out my templates and resources to help you start a health blog post – the ultimate guide for anyone considering taking a plunge and creating an amazing health or wellness blog of their own.

You can also explore the answers to the most frequently asked questions about starting a health blog for money, business and career development in these health blog frequently asked questions.

Where can I find paid work as a health blogger?

If you have a personal blog, nobody’s going to pay you for posting! But, you can get paid to write health blogs as a freelance writer who offers blogging as a writing service.

You can write health blogs on behalf of healthcare brands and businesses, health organisations, health professionals and as a guest contributor on online magazines and health websites.

A great tip is to do a Google search including “write for us” to find other websites and blogs that accept guest posts.

But, make sure that when you pitch ideas, you’ve taken the time to craft an original pitch (as there is so much guest post spam around these days!).

How do health bloggers get paid?

Health bloggers generate income in various ways. As explained above, the simple act of writing and publishing a blog post won’t get you paid – you’ll need to focus on dedicated strategies for making money through your health blog.

Some of the most popular ways health bloggers make money include:

  • Advertising – Google ads or selling third-party advertising spots
  • Affiliate marketing – linking to other people’s products and earning a commission if those links generate sales
  • Selling products – creating courses, downloads, ebooks, and templates and selling these products to the target audience (works best if you have a sizeable audience to sell to)
  • Sponsored posts – if you have a reasonable following, some companies may pay you to publish ads in the form of sponsored posts (always be sure to declare when a post is sponsored and make sure the advertisers’ ethics align with yours).

If you’re blogging for a client through your freelance writing business, then you would get paid like any other writing project. You can learn more about how to find freelance health writing jobs here.

How much can I charge for a health blog post?

As a freelance health writer, you can offer health blogging as a service and charge a reasonable fee.

Some companies will pay several hundred dollars per post, while others only want to pay around $25 for a 350-word post (which I do NOT recommend!).

If you’re reading this and thinking you’re not charging enough for your health blogs, read this short guide on how to increase your writing rates.

Is it hard to become a successful blogger?

That depends on what you define as hard! Health blogging involves a lot of work and dedication.

You’ll need to develop resilience, good time management skills and excellent self-care practices.

Being a successful health blogger doesn’t just involve blogging – increasingly, social media is a vital tool for health bloggers. You’ll need to be a social media and marketing expert as well.

When the going gets tough: Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

Focus on your blog content and strategy, focus on making a difference through your work and remember your ‘why’ – the reason you decided to be a health blogger in the first place. Because you have a passion for health and an important message to share with the world!

What is the plan if I want to be a health blogger?

If you want to write health blogs for clients or be a professional health blogger, the first step is to decide on your long-term goals.

Do you want to start a health blog, or do you only want to write for other brands and businesses?

If you want to start a blog of your own, you’ll need to:

  • Find your niche and find your ‘why’
  • Develop a marketing and social media plan
  • Identify who you’re helping (target audience) and why
  • Consider how you will make money (if needed)
  • Plan for growing your audience and growing your blog
  • Ensure your blogging and social media skills are at the right level
  • Be ready to commit to your blog for at least two years – it can be a very long time before you see the fruits of your labour!

If you want to blog for clients as a freelance writer:

  • Research companies and websites that hire freelancers to write blog posts
  • Make a list of companies you’d like to work for as a freelancer
  • Contact those companies and sell your freelance services
  • Connect with other health bloggers online and offline for industry networking opportunities