20 year content strategy veteran, Sharon Burton. Sharon Burton consults about content strategy, content business issues, social media and managing post-sales customer experience issues.

Content developers vs writers

Regardless of what you exactly do in the field of creating or producing information, you spend time developing content. For most of us, that means writing but some of you do screen videos, or make illustrations.

I’ve come to realize in the last 2 or so years, we need to stop calling this writing, or drawing, or what ever and refer to this process as “developing content”.  And I have some good reasons.

Developing content

There is the thought out in the business world that “anyone can write – we were all taught in school how to do it.” And that’s a silly idea. In school, we were given the tools and shown how to use them.

  • We got a hammer and learned to pound on things.
  • We got a screwdriver and learned to turn things.
  • We got a wrench and learned how to wrench things.

But very few of us left school knowing how to build things. So why does the business world think we all did? For some reason, the business world thinks that all you needed was an introduction to the tools and you’ve got the skill.

They don’t think that about managing their financial books. We all can basically manage a household budget but probably none of us are suited to be a CFO.

Writing is a skill and a gift

Most of us professional writers started with a gift and spent a long time learning our craft. We improve and improve to the end of our lives.

Much like a carpenter (to continue my metaphor) who starts with a gift and learns more and more over the course of his or her life. The work of a master craftsperson is breath-taking in its beauty.

So, if the business world thinks that what we do is essentially unskilled apprentice labor and that anyone can do it, we need to reframe the discussion.

Developers make stuff

My reasoning for content development is that developers make stuff. Perhaps in your company, they develop code.

We make stuff, too. And our stuff is as important and needed as the code is. After all, if you can’t use the product, what good is it?

Therefore, we’re content developers. We develop content, regardless of writing, illustrating, or anything else we’re creating to support people in what they are doing.

Try it out

Try it out in your workplace. Start quietly calling what you do “developing content”. Don’t make a company announcement or anything. Just start using the phrase. I bet in 6 months, it’ll come back to you from someone else.

Modified from the original found here.

By Sharon Burton
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