Today, many professional communicators are responsible for a wide range of online content creation, which happens to be a particular area of interest for me personally. To get a measure of what employers are specifically looking for from their prospective communicators, I looked at three current open employment positions within the broad field:
- Digital Communication Positions – position with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Bureau of State Employment
Essential Functions: manage and track analytics of social media and website while maintaining brand consistency, design video and graphic products, implement SEO strategies, optimize website design, usability, and content while directing vendors or internal staff on creative projects
- Content/Social Producer – position with The San Francisco Chronicle
Essential functions: create 5-8 daily stories, photo galleries and videos, monitor trending topics from social media to inform editorial decisions, bring innovative ideas to daily creation and social marketing, prepare for a 24-hour newsroom
- Content Marketing Coordinator – position with KMS Technology
Essential functions: brand consistent content creation and strategizing, optimize content through SEO, analytics tracking and content effectiveness measurement, manage calendars, deadlines and deliverables, collaborate with technical resources for content publication
While the required experience ranges between 1 and 5 years for the positions, many of the duties synonymous, only two specify an educational desire/requirement of a Bachelor’s degree.
We’ve certainly come a long way from this:
But now, professional communicators are expected to be multifaceted Jacks and Janes of-many-trades. One must not only know how to create the content, they must know how to emphasize it ethically through the use of various technological capabilities like visuals and outsourced information that maximize the validity and effectiveness of the message and its reach (Lester, 2013, pg. 13). With the increase in reliance on electronic media for our communications, face-to-face connections have declined, making it even more important that professional communicators focus on the human element and cultural impact of their contributions, not the ratings (Nayab, 2014, para 11).
Back to the three positions I listed above, all involve heavy social media interaction, writing, photography, videography, creative outsourcing, brand understanding and implementation, along with more technical aspects like search engine optimization, and analytics understanding. While many of these skills may be taught now in school, for the well-seasoned communicator or one unable to afford higher education, resources such as Lynda.com offer a way to brush up on new skills and stay competitive in their field for a fraction of the cost of college courses. Professional communicators to the everyday individual can select from courses in 3D, audio, business, CAD, design, developer, photography, video, and web to enhance their technology based communicative skillset.
Essential functions of a modern day communicator have evolved beyond the written word sent to press. Today, communicators must be able to craft content that pulls on the validity of established resources while keeping true to the original message because often, “The Medium is the Message” (Lester, 2013, pg. 196). Because reach and affect are unknown variables in our digitally connected world, professional communicators must also discern what content is appropriate for a given medium (IABC, n.d., para 1, 3).
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). (n.d.). IABS code of ethics for professional communicators. Retrieved from: https://www.iabc.com/about-us/leaders-and-staff/code-of-ethics/
Lester, P. (2013). Visual communication: images with messages. Cengage Learning.
Nayab, N. (2014). How communication has evolved with new technologies. Retrieved from: http://www.brighthubpm.com/methods-strategies/79052-exploring-how-technology-has-changed-communication/