Content Developers Wear Many Hats

Content Developers Wear Many Hats
Digital content development is a modern career path that appeals to tech savvy individuals who have a way with words and phrases. Content development requires the creative verve of an artist, the combined expressive skills of a diplomat and a salesperson and the strategic organizational talents of a military general.

The hat rack of a Content Developer can be sparse or colorful with a mishmash of caps, fedoras, top hats, sombreros, beanies and bowlers. Experience only adds to the collection over time.

The core traits that any Content Developer must have are:

• A deep appreciation and command of the English language.
• A writing style and voice adaptable to the needs of the audience.
• Familiarity and use of social media channels - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
• A positive outlook when juggling multiple projects and deadlines.
• Proficiency with Microsoft Office - Word, Excel & Powerpoint.
• Experience with using the HTML language and FTP protocol.

Content development positions are found in all industries and at all levels of expertise and experience. They are in the unique position of having one foot on the technical side and another on the business side. They are not web designers or web programmers. They are not strictly in Marketing or Sales. Instead, content developers create the content that combines the ideas and needs of both sides.

This content is packaged and presented in the way that best serves the company's customers and intended audience. This could take the shape of a public blog, web copy on a new product, tweets and posts on corporate social media, a video highlighting a customer story or even the literature that accompanies a shipment.

Because a content developer lies in between between business and technical, he or she must have basic technical skills on hand. The first three skills are handy when starting a new position. The rest can be mastered over time on the job or as part of professional development.

• Proficiency with Microsoft Office - Word, Excel & Powerpoint.
• Knowledge of the HTML language, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) programs.
• Familiarity with the Wordpress platform.
• Proficiency with graphic software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
• Proficiency with video software such as After Effects or Final Cut Pro.
• Knowledge of basic graphic design concepts.
• Knowledge of the dos and donts of Web page design and usability.

For the most part, content developers work on improving and refreshing company web sites. They write blog posts, rewrite older content for relevancy, edit copy on new web pages still in development, assist in maintaining consistency of web content and structure and collaborate with Marketing to ensure the company's digital assets are being used and planned for long-term effectiveness. The sheer variety of the work can be daunting. They must be organized to be able to meet daily and weekly deadlines.

A content developer will find new hats waiting on his or her desk as the needs of the position and the company change. This is one position that does not remain static. It is not unusual for a content developer to become a project manager for an internal initiative or be the resource made responsible for technical marketing needs such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Google Analytics. As the Internet becomes more and more video-friendly, content developers have to pick up the skills to conceive and create video content.

For Journalism or Communications majors, content development may be a good fit. It can be equally appropriate for existing copywriters and technical writers who want to add to their career toolbox. It's not too late for anyone switching to a computer career. Technical skills can be had through course work and prior work experience can be pluses in the long run.

Content development as a specific career is in its relative infancy. It was spawned by the Web's demand for content and it continues to evolve in scope and influence. With time the value of content rises. Content with high marks for quality, relevance and originality is quickly becoming the expectation not the exception. Talented and experienced content developers will be in demand for a long time to come.

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