The Murky and Mystical World of Content Job Titles

Content often becomes the catch-all department for jobs that need words. Content Design Lead at VMLY&R Natalie Pool unpacks some misunderstood content roles to find out if they really are all the same or deserving of their titles.

By Natalie Pool

  • Content job titles

Hi. My name is Natalie and I’m a content designer. Depending on the meeting, I am introduced as ‘head of content’, ‘copywriter’, ‘content director’, ‘content strategist’, ‘UX writer’ or – everyone’s favourite –  ‘content unicorn’.

Sound familiar?

I nod, smile and giggle uncomfortably because the truth is, sometimes even I doubt what I do.

(You would think a words person would be capable of articulating what she does for a living. But no.)

I’m sure most recovering journalists working in the marketing and advertising industry can identify with this content conundrum. Many of us survived publishing to reinvent ourselves as content writers with an SEO course and ‘writing for digital’ certificate under our belts.

And as the years passed, our titles changed to whatever content track was trending at awards shows and industry events.

Maybe some of you had the guts to specialise and become a technical writer, UX writer, organic search specialist or content designer. Maybe some of you tried, but found it more profitable to wear many hats, especially in a pandemic, where job security became sketchy but remote working opportunities opened up.

While I’ve always taken job titles with a pinch of salt, I think it’s important to understand the different content avenues and make a conscious decision about where you’re headed.

For my own sanity – and hopefully yours – I’ve taken a closer look at some of the most mystifying content job titles and unpacked what they mean to me.



Perhaps the broadest content role out there, this one is constantly evolving and depends largely on the brief. Ultimately, you’re responsible for composing a practical plan for content:

  • Who is it for?
  • Where does it live?
  • How does it sound?
  • What is its goal?


As content strategist, you’re expected to know a little bit about everything from SEO and analytics, to content tools and platforms, editorial calendars, tone of voice and what the competitors are up to. More importantly, you need to constantly upskill yourself on ecommerce, content marketing, social media and SEO trends.

Must love: research, problem solving, organisation, strategic thinking, content marketing

Required reading:  How to Develop a Content Strategy: A Start-to-Finish Guide



This relatively new role is self-explanatory – you direct the content. A content director takes the content strategy and brings it to life by collaborating with different disciplines, like Creative, Data, Media, Social, PR and Strategy. Often, they are platform experts who understand the functions and limitations of the medium and the formats that work best in that space. They know content is very rarely a one-way interaction and are often responsible for:

  • Content plans
  • Engagement plans
  • Influencer collaboration
  • Content curation
  • Content processes
  • Optimising content


Must love: collaboration, platforms, agile thinking, creativity, processes, insights

Required reading:Is the Role of Content Director the New Creative Director?



This newest of the content titles was coined by Sarah Richards after working on consolidating the content of government websites for 10 years (bless her soul). It’s a more focused and involved content strategist role, working with UX and UI designers to put the users first. If you want to be fancy, ‘content architect’ looks nice on a business card. Your role is to organise content in a way that helps users complete a task easily and efficiently. Things you might be responsible for include:

  • Content audits
  • Information architecture
  • Messaging hierarchy
  • Content briefs for creators
  • Writing – UX, technical, SEO, micro – all the words


Must love: empathy, collaboration, organisation, logic, writing, behavioural economics, critical thinking

Required reading:Confessions of a Content Designer



Another new and juicy job title, this role is often performed by the content designer, but on big jobs requires a dedicated and expert writer. They are responsible for crafting copy that helps users of any product – digital or otherwise – complete the task at hand.  They balance tone with functionality, keywords with practicality and bring content design to life with a consistent and unified voice. Copy you are responsible for includes, but is not limited to:

  • Headlines and blurbs
  • Error messages
  • Call to Action buttons
  • Validation screens
  • Instructional copy
  • Scripts for call centres
  • Style guides
  • Chat bots


Must love: language, user experience, research, empathy, analysis, usability testing, details

Required reading: The Rise of the UX Writer




Let’s take a moment to acknowledge copywriting and content writing are two different things. Of course, there are people who can be both conceptual (copywriters) and editorial (content writers), but they require different skills. Content writers are journalists at heart. They have digital knowledge and know how to write stories for humans and search engines. Some are generalists and some specialise in industries like beauty, tech or finance. Briefs that may come your way include:

  • Blogs & articles
  • Guides and whitepapers
  • Newsletters
  • Press releases



Must love: research, storytelling, SEO, writing, editing, working with content management systems

Required reading: A Day in the Life of a Content Writer


As I write (and rewrite) this, my heart remains with Content Design but, practically, I am juggling Content Strategy and Content Director briefs to stay busy and growing. And so are the days of our lives

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