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

Professionals who live from writing: untangling the Gordian knot

We all know that the one who didn’t love didn’t live.

Although I agree with that saying, I must add: The one who didn’t look for a job 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. For that reason, depending on the profession, it can be more or less challenging to find and keep a job nowadays in Spain.

When it comes to writing jobs, the situation is quite challenging. Moreover, one circumstance makes it even harder to find an adequate position.

There is an inevitable confusion when it comes to job advertisements intended for writing professionals.

  • For example, it happens too often that a company announces that it’s looking for a content writer. On the other hand, looking at the job description, we can conclude that it needs a copywriter.
  • What happens even more often is that a technical writer is called a UX writer.
  • In the end, it’s not uncommon for an advertisement for a social media expert to be titled “We’re looking for a journalist passionate in social media.”

This situation is a particular Gordian knot. The Gordian knot is a metaphor for a complicated issue. However, there are two ways to solve it. The first way is to cut the Gordian knot (a quick solution, sometimes violent). Another one is to untangle it (a slow solution, but more thorough and lasting).

To alleviate the confusion, in today’s post, I’ll explain what professionals who live from writing do (not the writers though).

Moreover, I decided to focus on seven professional profiles, whose skills and pieces of knowledge are often confused or misunderstood:

  • Journalist
  • Communication specialist
  • Content specialist
  • Copywriter
  • Social media specialist
  • UX writer
  • Technical writer

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: newspapers, radio, television and electronic media.

The most crucial 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 opinions.

Finally, according to journalism ethics, we should hear and convey the views of at least two parties in every journalistic content.

Journalists craft the following content types: 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 enhances relationships between the organisation or the brand they represent and the “outside world”.

The job of a communication specialist consists of performing one of two communication types (or both):

Communication specialists craft the following content types: 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 and prepare content we use within inbound marketing activities.

There are several terms whose meanings are similar to this one. Nevertheless, they aren’t synonyms:

  • Content writer – A content writer is a professional who writes and optimises web content.
  • Content manager – A content manager is a professional who introduces the content into a particular CMS (Content Management System), layout it, and publish it. The content manager usually writes the content by themselves.
  • Content strategist – A content strategist is a professional who creates, establishes, and modifies content marketing strategy, while content managers and content writers execute it. However, content strategists often both create and run it.
  • Content designer – A content designer is a synonym for “UX writer”. This term is more common in Europe and the expression “UX writer” in the USA and Australia.

Content specialists craft the following web content types: blog posts, lead magnets (ebooks, guides, 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

The job of a copywriter consists of persuading target audience to complete a particular action (to download a lead magnet, to buy, 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)

Content specialists craft the following compelling content types: 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 and manage brand content on different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and many others.

The job of a social media specialist consists of:

  • Building an audience of a brand
  • Ensuring customer engagement
  • Monitoring metrics
  • Replying to reader comments
  • Overseeing creative design

When we say “social media specialist”, we may think of one of the following two roles (the roles often 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 of a brand through social networks. 

Social media specialists craft the following content types: 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 the product.

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

UX writers meet this goal by building a bridge between the user’s needs and the company’s goals with the help of small pieces of text we call microcopy. Another name for microcopy is UI content (user interface content).

UX writers craft the following microcopy types: 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, appealing to the target audience.

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 the sciences.

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

Professionals who live from writing and the Gordian knot

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

To sum up, writers and poets aren’t the only professionals who live from writing. Journalists, communication specialists, content writers, copywriters and many others do it, too.

On the other hand, the majority of persons engaged in the mentioned professions have a university degree in journalism. These persons are journalists by formation, but they engage in copywriting or some other job related to writing.

So, all those who are looking for “a journalist passionate in social media”, thinking of a social media specialist, are cutting the Gordian knot. Those who are looking for “a social media expert with a university degree in journalism” are working to untangle it.

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

Stasa Durdic

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and UX writer. Serbian by birth, in Barcelona by occasion, writer by decision. I'm in love with the yellow colour, the art of storytelling, and the following phrase from Don Draper (Mad Men): "The client loves to pay the media, and the CREATIVE loves the PENCILS."

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