Upward Mobility in a Writing Career: How Does that Work?!

Writers can never truly advance in their careers, did you know that? We can ask for higher rates, but ultimately we still have to produce every single thing that we get paid for. In other words, if we want to advance in our careers by making more money, we still have to write more in order to make that happen. Does that make you frustrated as a writer? It frustrates me, that’s for sure! I’ve been a professional writer for 13 years, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered the possibility for upward mobility in my chosen career through a career in content management.

In the time that I’ve written professionally, I’ve produced so many pages of content that I couldn’t even begin to count. This content has come in the form of entire websites, web pages, blog posts, learning articles, white papers, magazine articles, short stories, essays, social media posts, media scripts, and more. There is a direct correlation between material produced and hours worked, which can be a frustrating thing for writers. We need more time in the day if we want to create more work and thus make more money.

So the question becomes this: What is the workaround?

Being a writer can be a frustrating career path. Even as your skill improves, it can be difficult to increase your rates based upon your experience alone, and the upward mobility of the career path is not as clearly laid out as many other career fields. Writers are often self-made, many of them without formal education in their specific field, making it difficult for them to claim expertise and charge higher rates. Additionally, it can be discouraging for writers to have to constantly create content in order to be paid, when other fields offer professionals the opportunity to oversee work being done and manage direct reports as they advance in their career. Content management is a relatively new role that offers a different option for writers who wish to advance in their field. 

A content manager is similar to an editor in that they’re in control of the quality of the content and they manage its creation and presentation. Instead of doing this for a printed publication like a magazine they do it for a digital one: a website. 

If you’re a professional writer interested in advancing to a role that is more managerial in nature and requires you to produce less while making more money, a content management or content strategist role might be the one for you. There are things you can do within your writing career to begin preparing you for this shift, making it possible for you to qualify for a new role, whether within the company where you already work, at a different company, or on a contract as a freelancer. 

Most writers, whether they realize it or not, actually perform some of the functions of a content manager already. Some of these tasks may include:

  • Planning a content calendar for articles, social media posts, blog posts, etc. 
  • Auditing existing content to ensure that details are up to date
  • Conducting light keyword research for SEO
  • Managing content projects that require additional artists (for example, white papers which are downloadable PDFs and often have to be laid out professionally after the content is written.)

If you’re doing any of these tasks in your job already, you can easily add light content management to your skillset on your resume. If you’re hoping to find yourself in a content management role full time, you should begin taking on some additional content management tasks and have a conversation with your current manager about your career goals. Even if your ultimate career goal is to become a content manager working for a different company, you can often use your current role as a learning experience, taking on extra tasks to build up your resume in the area where your interests lie. 

Need advice? I would love to help!

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