Multimedia is the combination of sound, animation and graphics that we
see in websites, games and mobile apps. A multimedia writer creates the text
that is interwoven with those other elements.
A multimedia writer may create an easy-to-search encyclopedia with links
to graphics and audio clips. They may produce interactive stories for video
games. Or they may create interactive content for websites.
Be careful, however, if you search job sites for ads seeking multimedia
writers. The word "multimedia" was once very common, but it has faded away
as multimedia forms of entertainment have become the norm rather than the
"We don't often see the term 'multimedia writer,'" says Paul Lima. He's
a professional writer and writing instructor.
"If you were to look at ads and job postings and things like that, you
don't see it a lot, but if you look at what you're being asked to write as
a writer then you would know, 'I'm being asked to write an article... for
a website or a publication' or, 'I'm being asked to write for TV or video,'
whether it's going to show up on the web, podcasts, whatever.
"So even if a potential client doesn't use the term 'multimedia,' you as
the writer need to be aware of what you're being asked to write," Lima adds.
"And often these days it's a multimedia script or story."
"Digital writer, or content producer, is another [term] that is used for
multimedia writers nowadays as well," says multimedia writer Michelle Ponto.
She says the terms tend to be industry specific.
"Newspapers and magazines generally use 'editor,' so digital editor, digital
writer, interactive editor -- that basically means you're editing content
for the website that was in print for the web and writing web exclusive content
that's not in their magazine. This could be articles, slideshows, their social
media, and anything else that they have going on," says Ponto. "For TV, we
use the word 'producer' instead of editor."
Just as in the traditional publishing world, writers specialize in different
types of products. Some multimedia writers develop interactive game and adventure
titles. Others who write and report for web-based publications may also call
themselves multimedia writers.
"It's constantly changing," says Ponto. "Years ago, multimedia writing
was more e-mail campaigns, it was website content, it was short online videos,
things like that. Now it includes all those things, but it also includes SEO
(search engine optimization) writing, writing for social media -- anything
that is not on paper."
It's a good idea to hone your skills by not limiting yourself to one type
of multimedia project.
"[I]f you take on a broad range of media projects, the work experience
will allow you to diversify later on," says Robin Grant. She's a professional
writer and producer whose services include web content development.
Multimedia writers are always learning about the latest technology. It's
the kind of learning that isn't restricted to the classroom.
"It's something that you kind of learn organically as a writer on what
works, what doesn't work, and social media's always changing, and how people
are finding things," says Ponto. "[S]omething new that people are starting
to think about is, 'How is my stuff going to look on a phone or tablet versus
how it's going to be found on a website?'"