Wednesday’s Word isn’t just about a job title. It’s about who you are and how you see yourself and your career. It’s also about the keywords you use to attract and sell others on your work or company. So it’s important that you know whether you are (or want to be) a writer or a blogger or something else entirely.
A writer is someone who develops written content. That content can be for just about anything from ads to films to books to television to periodicals to websites. It’s a very broad career category that nonetheless is forecast to grow slower than many other professions between now and 2020 according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the U.S. Department of Labor. Despite this, it seems like more and more people are calling themselves writers every day. What do they mean?
They can mean almost anything, however, successful writers will often define themselves even further as copywriters, screenwriters, authors, grantwriters, technical writers, journalists or, you guessed it, bloggers. Each of type of writer has their own particular skill set, focus and career path. There are similarities and overlaps, which is why some writers do a little bit of everything. For the most part, someone who says they are a writer is saying they are a generalist capable of creating written communications for a variety of audiences across a wide range of media.
A blogger is a specialized type of writer who produces content for online audiences. Their work is intended to be read on a screen and in many cases interacted with directly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (part of the U.S. Department of Labor) includes bloggers with reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts, a profession whose occupational outlook appears to be declining through 2020.
This classification gives the impression that all bloggers write about news and report on events as they happen. It also implies that the information they provided is short and not intended to be relevant for very long. This is misleading. Bloggers, like writers, produce a wide variety of content including technical materials (how-to articles, online help, wikis) and even fiction! Since it is almost impossible to remove any content once it has been posted or published online, what a blogger writes will be around much longer than the work of other types of writers. It may not be relevant, but it is likely to exist in perpetuity. What’s more, many bloggers write in the first person, something most reporters and other types of writers do not.
So the next time someone asks what you do, take a moment to think before claiming the title of writer or blogger. Not because you are not entitled to use either, but because you may be both and much, much more!