Writers aren’t the only professionals who live from writing. In this post, you’ll discover the other seven professions related to different types of writing.

Professionals who live from writing: untangling the Gordian knot

We have all heard it at least once. The one who didn’t love, didn’t live.

Although I agree with this saying, I would like to change it a bit. In my opinion, the one who didn’t look for employment didn’t live. At least not in Spain.

Spain is a country that in the last ten years faced the negative consequences of two severe economic crises. As a result, it can be challenging to find and keep a permanent and well-paid position in this country.

However, when it comes to positions closely related to writing, the situation seems to be even more challenging.

One circumstance, in particular, makes it even harder for aspirants to find an adequate position. That circumstance is a certain level of confusion regarding the role titles and responsibilities of every role.

  • It happens often enough that a company announces that it’s looking for a content writer. On the other hand, after reading the job description, it’s easy to conclude that it actually needs a copywriter.
  • What happens even more frequently is that a technical writer is called a UX writer.
  • In the end, it’s not an uncommon situation that an advertisement for a social media expert is titled: “We’re looking for a journalist passionate in social media.”

This situation represents a particular Gordian knot. The Gordian knot is a metaphor for a complicated issue, which can be solved in two ways. The first way is to cut the Gordian knot (a quick solution, sometimes even violent). Another one is to untangle it (a slow solution, but more thorough and lasting).

Professionals who live from writing: the Gordian knot

To mitigate the confusion, in today’s post, I’ll explain what professionals who live from writing actually do.

In other words, I’ll be writing about seven professional profiles, whose skills and pieces of knowledge tend to be confused or misunderstood:

  • Journalist;
  • Communication specialist;
  • Content specialist;
  • Copywriter;
  • Social media specialist;
  • UX writer;
  • Technical writer.
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What do journalists do?

What do journalists do | Professionals who live from writing

Journalists are professionals who collect and publish pieces of information about current topics (events or persons).

The job of a journalist consists of writing and adapting pieces of text for different types of media. For instance, newspapers, radio, television, and electronic media.

The goal of journalistic content is to inform the public about a particular topic. However, depending on the content type, journalists might interpret events, comment on them or express their opinions.

In the end, according to journalism ethics, readers, watchers or listeners should hear and convey the points of view of at least two parties in every journalistic content.

Journalists craft the following types of content: news, journalistic articles, journalistic reports, columns, etc.

What do communication specialists do?

What do communication specialists do | Professionals who live from writing

Communication specialists are professionals who build, maintain, and enhance the relationship between the brand they represent and the “outside world”.

The job of a communication specialist consists of performing one of two types of communication, if not both:

Communication specialists craft the following types of content: company-wide newsletters, media releases (press releases), communication style guides, speeches, etc.

What do content specialists do?

What do content specialists do | Professionals who live from writing

Content specialists are professionals who craft, layout, and publish not only audio and visual content but also written content that forms part of inbound marketing activities.

There are several terms whose meanings are similar to this one. Notwithstanding, the following terms aren’t synonyms:

  • Content writer – A content writer is a professional who writes and optimises web content.
  • Content manager – On the other hand, a content manager introduces the content into a particular CMS (Content Management System), layout it, and then publish it. More often than not, content manager craft the content by themselves.
  • Content strategist – A content strategist is in charge of creating, establishing, and modifying a content marketing strategy. Content managers and content writers, though, are responsible for executing the strategy. Needless to say, content strategists frequently both create the strategy and execute it.
  • Content designer – In the end, a content designer is a synonym for “UX writer”. This term is more common in Europe, whereas the expression “UX writer” is more frequent in the USA and Australia.

Content specialists craft the following web types of content: blog posts, lead magnets (ebooks, guides, white papers, checklists), etc.

What do copywriters do?

What do copywriters do | Professionals who live from writing

Copywriters are professionals who craft different types of compelling content, ranging from the content of sales pages to one of the ads and email marketing. 

The job of a copywriter consists of persuading a target audience to complete a particular action. The action might be: to download a lead magnet, buy a product, hire a service, etc.

There are several types of compelling writing in which a copywriter may specialise:

  • Web copywriting (copywriting on websites);
  • Email copywriting (email marketing);
  • PPC copywriting (Pay-Per-Click advertising).

Copywriters craft the following types of compelling copy: landing page copy, newsletters, sales emails, ad copy, etc.

What do social media specialists do?

What do social media specialists do | Professionals who live from writing

Social media specialists are professionals who create content for different social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others.

The job of a social media specialist consists of:

  • Building an audience of a brand;
  • Ensuring followers’ engagement;
  • Monitoring metrics;
  • Replying to readers’ comments;
  • Overseeing creative design.

Nevertheless, when we say “social media specialist”, we usually think of one of the following two roles, which more often than not overlap:

  • Social media manager – Social media managers focus on the logistics of delivering content through social networks. They’re responsible for managing social media calendar, crafting social media content, scheduling posts, etc. 
  • Community manager – Community managers identify, build, and nurture relationships with the community through social networks. 

Social media specialists craft the following types of content: social media posts, social media calendar, social network ads, etc.

What do UX writers do?

What do UX writers do | Professionals who live from writing

UX writers are professionals who deliver “the messaging of the product from the inside out”. That way, they enhance the experience that users have with a digital product.

The job of a UX writer consists of guiding the user through the digital experience in an intuitive way.

In other words, UX writers build a bridge between user’s needs and the company’s goals with the help of small pieces of text, also known as microcopy. Another name for microcopy is UI content (the user interface content).

UX writers craft the following types of microcopy: the text on buttons, menus, lists, instructions, empty states, error messages, etc.

What do technical writers do?

What do technical writers do | Professionals who live from writing

Technical writers are professionals who transform complex technical information into clear and concise documentation.

The job of a technical writer consists of communicating technical information in a professional, error-free, and high-credible manner.

Technical writers work in many areas, such as technology, engineering, medicine, and science.

Technical writers craft the following types of content: operating and maintenance instructions and manuals, as well as other documentation, addressed to manufacturers, designers, and clients.

Untangling the Gordian knot or cutting it?

In the very end, I hope I’ve contributed a little to untangle this particular Gordian knot.

In a resume, writers and poets are obviously not the only professionals who live from writing.

Journalists, communication specialists, content writers, copywriters and many others make their living from writing, too.

On the other hand, many persons engaged in the mentioned professions have a university degree in journalism. However, they work as copywriters or perform another job in some way related to writing.

So, all the companies who are looking for “a journalist passionate in social media” are about to cut the Gordian knot. On the contrary, those who are looking for “a social media specialist with a university degree in journalism” are making the first step towards untangling it.

A Writing-Friendly Question: Is there another profession related to writing you would like to know more about?

My name is Stasa Durdic, and I’m a content writer. I’m also one of those persons who find untangling a Gordian knot challenging, but not necessarily in a negative way. If you would like to know more about me, please read my story or visit my LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, in case you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to offer you my help with content writing.

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