Writer Rant: The Title of a Freelance Writer

Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging her this week. Enjoy.

lemon-nerd-rage

My friends and family are always asking what I do. But when I tell them, they need further clarification.

“I’m a freelance writer,” I say.

“Oh? …like books and poems?” they ask.

“No, a freelance writer for businesses; corporate blog content, website product descriptions, press releases – you know, that kind of stuff.” I quickly reply, not wanting them to think I’m working on my first draft of a self-published manifesto.

“Oh?” they say, clearly not understanding at all.

A Low-Paying Job by Any Other Name

Why is all of this so confusing? Most people simply list off some job title and that’s the end of the conversation. A freelance writer can cover a lot of ground, so it’s a little more complicated. After a closer look, however, it’s interesting to note I’m not the only one who is looking for a better title. In fact, there are plenty of professionals out there who are picking up some very inflated or strangely unique job titles. Some are from professionals who want their resumes to look better, but other titles come from companies who can’t afford to offer a raise – and giving your job a better title is tantamount to extra cash, right? Wrong.

According to Forbes, the Korn/Ferry International executive recruitment firm said 85% wouldn’t stay at their job just because of receiving a bigger and better title. Janitors have now become sanitation officers and Forbes notes that some companies are now referring to their receptionists as “Directors of First Impressions.”

Making the World a Better Place?

Some companies come up with job titles just for a laugh and increased moral. The top employee at the matchmaking service of American Online is called the CEO of Love. The Rainmaker Group began having fun in 2011 and instead of using mundane titles they create inventive titles like, “Minister of Intel” for the accountant, “Upward Mobility Big Shot” for their salespeople and the CEO has redubbed himself “Difference Maker.”

Companies aren’t the only ones riding on this train, professional s include titles like “Premium Communications Samurai” and “Information Sleuth” on their resumes to get more attention among a sea of competitors. Alexander Kjerulf wrote three best-selling books about happiness at work and now calls himself the Chief Happiness Officer. He told the Gulf News,

Whenever people ask me, I always tell them that ‘I make people happy at work.’ That is what I do. This may look like just semantics, but it matters. See, your job title is never going to make you happy at work, but knowing what you do, may. Knowing your contribution, how you add value, how you make a difference – that can make you happy at work.

A Title for a Content Writer

All of these creative titles make me wonder how I could re-craft my own job title. It seems the sky’s the limit – according to Barbara Bowes president of the Bowes HR in Winnipeg, “There are no rules – you can call yourself anything you want and no one can stop you.”

I’m not sure I would ever call myself anything too out there, or it would only result in more questions from my friends and family. So how about “Corporate Content Champion” or “Company Blogging Creative”?

Do you have any ideas or maybe have run across unique job titles? Tell us about your innovative job title ideas in the comments below!

Alethea M is a corporate blogging guru and freelance writer for WriterAccess. She often uses interesting facts from her article research to impress friends at dinner parties. Her husband is her biggest fan — though this may be because her writing income allows her to share in bill-paying each month.


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