Writing as a profession: editor, journalist, author, blogger, copywriter – who does what?

Writing as a profession-Writing as a profession

Writing as a profession is quite diverse. Luckily. On the other hand, it is somewhat confusing for many people that there are so many different names for this activity. I notice this again and again, for example, when I tell people that I am an author. "Ah, you write novels!", it says then. Or when I say that I am an editor. "Ah, you work at the newspaper!", is usually the answer. Or when I talk about my blog. "Oh, you’re an influencer!" then comes. No, no and no again. I think it’s high time for some clarification.

Writing as a profession: here’s how the different job descriptions differ

I have studied business administration and have a degree in business administration. My first and only job took me to a specialized publishing house, where I worked as an editor. (Although I was hired under the job title "editor". But that’s another story.)

What does an editor?

The job title "redacteur" originated in French, derived from the Latin word "redactum", which in turn is a participle of "redigere". "Redigere" means, among other things to put into a state, to make smaller. This is not a bad description for what an editor does with texts when he edits them.

An editor also writes texts himself. Above all, he collects, sorts, arranges and selects topics, texts, images and other material. He edits them so that they can be published. Most of the time I also maintain them in the corresponding technical system.

This is exactly what I do as editor of the newsletter ABRECHNUNG. This deals contentwise with the account in family doctor’s offices. For this I write myself only in exceptional cases. I have a core of experts as authors with whom I coordinate the topics. I edit the texts you send me.

This means: I polish them linguistically, delete redundancies, restructure them if necessary so that they are clearer, give them snappy headlines and formulate introductions (teasers) that are intended to arouse the interest of the readers. Then I compile the individual text contributions to editions. I have them proofread and incorporate the corrections. Finally, I put the issues into the online editorial system and schedule them to be sent to subscribers.

What does a journalist do and what is the difference to an editor?

The word journalist also comes from French. It was derived from "jour" resp. "journal" (daily newspaper). A journalist is someone who researches current topics and writes them down, or rather, writes them up. in another form (photo, radio, video/film). Journalists are coordinated and assigned by editors. An editor is usually also a journalist, but many journalists are not editors.

What editors and journalists have in common is that they inform and educate their audience about relevant topics.

As a freelance journalist, I work, among other things, for the daily newspaper in my region, namely the Allgauer Zeitung. The local editorial office in Marktoberdorf commissions me to report, for example, from local council meetings or cultural events. I use it to inform readers about what is currently happening in the region.

What I do as an author?

Again, a look at the etymology helps: the Latin word "auctor" refers to the author or. the author of a work. Most of the time I think of a book. But also someone who writes articles for a magazine can be an author. At least when it is content that comes purely from one’s own knowledge, experience or reflection.

For example, I write as a (technical) author for the sekretaria magazine. When I present types of colleagues or give self-management tips that I have tried out myself, I am an author. If, on the other hand, I conduct an interview with an expert on a topic and prepare it as a text, I am a journalist.

I am also a book author, of course, in the field of technical and non-fiction books. If you are interested in my guidebooks and travel guides, I recommend a look at the pages My Books and Allgau Travel Guides. Unfortunately, I can’t help with novels, literary writing is not my thing.

For authors, by the way, writing as a profession is particularly difficult. Books in particular, in fact, are paid quite poorly. If you want to do this as a bread and butter job, you either have to live very modestly or write bestsellers.

What does a copywriter do and how does it differ from an author?

When I write as an editor, journalist, or author, I create text. As Copywriter I only work as a blogger when my clients ask me to put their content into words that fit their needs. I then get a briefing on what should be in the text and what effect it should have on which target group. Whether I then write text for websites, brochures, e-mailings or postcards, it doesn’t matter – I remain invisible as a person to the readers. As a copywriter I am a kind of mouthpiece for my clients.

"Copywriter," by the way, is no more a protected job title than "journalist" or "author" is. You don’t need any special training, exam or license to practice writing as a profession. Especially among copywriters, the range is wide: Among them are people who "just like to write" and do it for 1 cent per word. But there are also professional linguists who charge triple-digit hourly rates. Some copywriters write about any topic that comes their way, others specialize in certain fields and/or target audiences. Accordingly, the quality of text services varies ..

Blogger or Influencer?

The word "blog" has become established as a short form of "weblog" (Internet diary). What exactly counts as a blog is not clearly defined. Not even the genus of the word is clearly established: Because of the word’s origin, "the blog" is obvious, but "the blog" is also possible (and currently seems to be gaining acceptance).

A person who blogs writes texts that are published on the Internet, either in his or her own name and under his or her own web address. Blogger are thus authors. Some bloggers also work as journalists, for example, exposing social or political grievances or informing their readers about specialist topics.

Blogs are often done as a hobby, only a smaller part of the blogging community is dedicated to writing as a profession. Whereby there are also full-time journalists, editors and authors who blog on the side.

Conversely, many people who blog alongside their day job try to make money doing it. This essentially works via advertising or. about texts that are published for payment by a company or other client. This is called Sponsored Post or Advertorial and should always be marked as "advertising.

The aim of the client is to use the credibility that a blogger has with his readership to advertise his own products and services. The blogger is called here Influencer seen and ordered. That is, as someone who can influence their readership and encourage them to buy certain products and services.

So not every blogger is an influencer by far and an influencer is not necessarily a blogger. Many influencers focus on YouTube and/or Instagram as platforms and don’t run their own blog at all.

My blogs

You are here on the blog that belongs to my website. In addition, I blog since 2014 together with my friend and colleague Judith Engst as Die Briefprofis about writing in the profession and under the name Tief im Allgau already since 2012 about my home region.

I am a blogger, but not an influencer. I do not write texts paid by third parties for my blogs. My independence and my self-image as a journalist are too important for that. However, I use my blogs to sell my own books through Amazon affiliate links. And of course, to position myself as an expert. Writing as a profession is just so versatile. This is exactly what I love about it.

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