The job title Web Content Producer or Manager can be used interchangeably, and is sometimes synonymous with Webmaster (though this role typically requires more technical skill in systems and hardware). Unlike more concrete titles, such as firefighter or lawyer, the web content role varies depending on the needs and structure of the company. Generally speaking
A Web Content Manager or Producer is responsible for generating and updating content on a website.
Here are some of the tasks I have taken on with clients that you (or your web content person, if you’re hiring) may be responsible for:
Building a Site from the Ground Up
If you’re working with a startup or a very small team, you’ll probably be developing an entire site from zero to everything. This is an instance where the company may call you a Webmaster, in which case you are all responsible for all things related to their site. Unless you have background in web development or programming, you will need to look into site builders, such as Squarespace or even ones tailored to specific industries. I’ll go into more detail in a later post about my favorite site builders. There’s a good chance you’ll also be securing their domain name and hosting as well.
For organizations that do not have their own graphic design team, the images and layout of the website become your job. I highly recommend taking at least an introductory level to graphic design course if you’re interested in going into web content production. You’d be surprised how many mid to larger size companies outsource all of their design work. By having a fundamental understanding of visual concepts and programs (ie. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), you’ll not only save your company money (which they all like), but you’re a more viable candidate.
Writing Web Copy
It helps tremendously to be a good writer in general, but especially for a job in web content. There are so many times where you will need to “write something quick.” I’ve heard time and time again from other producers that the ability to write succinctly and grammatically correct with ease comes in handy. All the better if you’re clever as well – the internet loves that.
It’s only natural for a company to want to know if the content you’re generating is doing them any good. Most often, you will be asked to pull this information – which includes click thru rates, conversions, etc. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not great at this aspect of my job (mostly because I am not good with numbers), but there are tools you can use to help (ie. Statcounter, Google Analytics, Bitly). In a later post, I’ll go over my favorites and most user-friendly. I’ve found that it is good practice to always know how many unique visits and clicks your site gets daily. This is a question I’m asked frequently, and it makes you look very competent if you can easily rattle these numbers off. And it doesn’t require much effort. Any site builder has some sort of basic analytics built in, which will give you the info you need.
An organization that doesn’t have a social media manager will look to you to fill this role. Many older companies (launched before year 2000) haven’t grasped how monumental a social media presence is, and so haven’t hired someone specifically for this job – as well as their current audience may simply not use social media. As time progresses, that will no longer be the case, but for now these people are your market as a job-seeker, and this is why design and writing are such essential skills for you to have. If you can create compelling graphics and snappy copy, you’ve got the basics of social media down and are another asset to your employer.
Coding / HTML
A web content manager / producer is NOT a programmer or developer. Those jobs literally require fluency in other languages. If you’re hearing words like “Java” and “C++”, this is the wrong job for you. That being said, it’s very helpful to have at least a basic knowledge of HTML coding, which you can pick up for free at W3 Schools. You’ll find this theme of being a “jack of all trades, master at nothing” a common theme in web content – but it is ultimately what makes you good at what you do!
Photography and Video
I’ve been asked to photos and video mainly for social media purposes, but there have been occasions where my work has been used for entire campaigns. Typically a company will use a hybrid of professional photographers/videographers and you to create this content. Your stuff will fall into the realm of quick clips and timely material. Leave the permanent stuff to the professionals – less stress.
I hope this little introductory to web content production / management has been helpful to you – as someone interested in the field and to those looking to hire for this position. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about things I’ve learned being in the industry for the past eight years – including tips, tricks, tools, and guest posts from other experts in the field. Thanks for reading and let me know what you’d like to know about in the comments!