Writing is writing, you might say. To be honest, I thought so too. Or should I say, I didn't know better. But refining this idea makes writing easier. So, I delved into the different roles and functions that exist for writing for the web.
All the writing does produce text, but the process of creating it and placing it correctly in a digital product like Website or App is extremely diverse. Moreover, a text serves different purposes. In the Internet industry, several functions have thus arisen that deal with writing specific texts and giving and keeping an overview of the texts as a whole, a bit like an editor function.
We can define four functions, which in smaller teams are also called roles. For roles, too, it helps to empathize with the expectations and the right texts as a writer and to give direction to the process.
- Content writer
- UX-writer/Content designer
- Technical writer
I briefly outline the roles.
It is a profession older than the web. A copywriter writes short texts for advertisements and ads. The texts are aimed at increasing the awareness of a brand and to let the reader have certain thoughts or perform a specific action.
For writing on the web, a copywriter will often work within a digital marketing agency.
The work of a copywriter increasingly overlaps with that of a content writer because the copywriter will also write social media ads, Google Ads, online landing pages and compelling email texts.
This new wave of copywriting, born out of the digital age, has made the profession more accessible. But not without a downside, as globalization has devalued some copywriting jobs, as it is so easy to find skilled copywriters working at different rates.
The term content writing has become more common over the years, as traditional forms of advertising have been increasingly relegated to the background. Companies from all sectors learned that success in the digital age requires more than traditional, outbound marketing strategies.
Content writing allows companies to build an emotional connection with their target audience, a prerequisite for customer loyalty and brand engagement. Content writing often forms the basis of any digital marketing strategy, as emotional content is necessary for everything from blogging and SEO strategies to email and social media promotion.
UX-writer / content designer
A UX Writer at heart is of course a writer, but also someone who helps form content and applications into a whole, a story. This requires more than the ability to write, it is also a function comparable to that of a director.
The UX-writer works with website and app content, not only on a page by page basis, but especially also on more complete, scenario based User Journeys.
For courses, community, membership, handling sales, etc. But also directing marketing and sales related content. A UX writer finds the words for menus, definitions, buttons, labels, chatbots, and error messages. The small pieces of writing, which are collectively called “microcopy.”
Content designer works with text-oriented websites, often aimed at sharing larger forms of information. Think of local and national government websites.
An UX-writer also deals with more interactive experiences such as user flows on, for example, mobile applications. Most UX writing is done after a user has completed a purchase or signed up for a service or app. As a result, there is no need to try to sell something. Instead, the writer's goal is to make sure it is easy and enjoyable to use the product or service.
Other titles you may come across:
Content strategist, UX copywriter, product writer, UX content designer, and content editor jobs
One difference between technical writing and UX writing is that technical writers typically work with text-rich documentation (online help files, instruction manuals, etc.) rather than user journeys in digital interfaces. As such, the two roles require quite unfamiliar ways of thinking.
In today's digital products, there are only traces of typical technical writing - for example tooltips and flows that guide the user. The goal of many digital products is to make the User Interface so frictionless and user-friendly that supporting documentation is no longer necessary. And this is precisely one of the reasons why many technical writers are moving into UX writing and content design.
In general, however, technical writing is aimed at informing and instructing the reader rather than convincing.
If you are interested in writing for the web, check out my articles on the difference between a copywriter and a content writer and the question if ChatGPT will replace Content Writers.