Becoming a Business Writer: Career, Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a business writer career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming a business writer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Business Writer

A business writer researches, writes and clearly communicates business information. Read the following pros and cons to determine if this career is right for you.

Pros of Being a Business Writer
Better than average pay ($58,850 in 2014)*
Ability to work in various mediums, such as Internet, print or digital media*
Flexible schedule in some positions*
Can often work anywhere with a computer*

Cons of Being a Business Writer
Low growth field (3% growth from 2012-2022)*
Many positions are competitive*
Must be willing to work on weekends and holidays*
Meeting deadlines can be stressful*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

A business writer may be responsible for writing articles, press releases, proposals, newsletters and website content. Professionals may also be hired to write corporate and business-to-business communications, direct marketing flyers and market research reports. They may act in a consulting capacity by conducting necessary research and fact checking. Roughly 26% of writers and authors work part time; however, some writers work during regular office hours. Freelance business writers are typically paid by assignment and have the freedom to set their own hours, plus the ability to work anywhere in the world.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for all writers will grow at a slower than average rate of three percent from 2012-2022 and salaried jobs will be very competitive (www.bls.gov). As online publications gain in popularity, business writers with Internet or multimedia experience will have the best chance of finding employment. The median yearly income for salaried writers was $58,850 as of May 2014. What a business writer will actually earn is dependent on a number of factors, such as their employer, experience and the industry in which they work.

What Are the Requirements?

A bachelor's degree in English, journalism, communications or a business field is generally a basic requirement for business writers. Some employers prefer to hire writers with writing experience in their particular industry. Work experience is vital, as writers typically advance based on their reputation. Experience in a specific area of business may also be required for some positions.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Business writers need to possess strong writing, proofreading, researching, project management and editing skills. Professionals should be flexible, versatile and creative. This career may also entail talking to industry leaders, so strong interviewing and interpersonal skills are beneficial. Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suites and computer-based tools used for presentation creation, writing, analysis and research is essential. Here are examples of what some real employers looked for during May 2012:

  • A security firm based in Pennsylvania with three subsidiaries posted a job listing for a business writer able to compose press releases, marketing letters and white papers. This position also required the ability to create content for websites and maintain electronic files. Applicants were required to have between three to five years of experience writing and editing in a business-to-business environment.
  • An engineering firm based in Ohio advertised for a technical business writer with two to three years of relevant work experience and a bachelor's degree in English or business. Applicants with experience in the mortgage industry were preferred.
  • A staffing company in Texas sought a marketing and business writer to help with building brand awareness. Candidates needed between two to five years of experience and knowledge of brand marketing, proposals and social media.

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Education

In order to get an edge as a business writer, you may want to consider earning bachelor's degrees in business or journalism, perhaps earning a major and minor. In addition, the best job prospects will be available for those with an advanced degree in business. For instance, earning a bachelor's degree in journalism along with a Master of Business Administration may lead to greater opportunities.

Skills and Experience

Knowledge of multimedia software, graphic design and page layout may also give you an edge in this field, especially since the Internet has become more popular than in-print resources with readers. You will earn respect as a business writer by consistently producing quality content on time. Writing experience through school newspapers, publishing companies, not-for-profit organizations and magazines may improve job prospects. Furthermore, an Internet blog on a relevant subject of interest can provide business writers with valuable experience, as well as a body of work that can lead to paid assignments over time.

Alternative Career Paths

Editor

If you would like a writing-related job with more consistent work, you may consider becoming an editor. Editors review articles, fact-checking and making general revisions. Most of these jobs are full-time and the growth of online media has created jobs for digital editors. The BLS indicates that editors earned more than $52,000 annually as of May 2011, but there is little to no change expected in employment opportunities, just one percent from 2010-2020.

Public Relations Specialist

Another avenue for you to use your business writing skills is as a public relations specialist. These professionals help companies maintain a positive public image through the media and other avenues. They may use their writing skills to produce press releases and statements. Other duties may include running campaigns and giving interviews. In May 2011, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for a public relations specialist was about $53,000. The BLS indicated that employment opportunities for these professionals were expected to increase 23% from 2010-2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Government - Political Communication
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Professional and Technical Writing
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Writing
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Advertising and Public Relations
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Reading Education
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Freelance Writer
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication - General
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided
  • Campus and Online Programs
    9. The Art Institutes

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Professional Writing for Creative Arts (BFA)
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Creative Writing for Entertainment (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Creative Writing for Entertainment

Featured Schools

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Science Writing
  • Master of Arts in Communication

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American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Professional and Technical Writing
  • Bachelor of Arts in English - Writing

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Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • M.Ed. - Reading Education

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Freelance Writer

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

What is your highest level of education?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Arts in Communication - General
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Integrated Digital Strategy Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Communication - Undecided

What is your highest level of education completed?