An article writer specializes in writing topical information that usually gets included in a website, blog, magazine, book, or journal. These writers may focus their writing on a particular genre, or they may be specialists in a particular subject matter. In addition, article writers may be employed as writers by specific companies, or they may work on a freelance basis, either accepting commissions from various publishers or writing articles independently and then submitting them to publishers for possible purchase.
Traditionally, an article writer is someone who writes for a periodical, such as a magazine or newspaper. The article writer may write about current events, news, or other topics of interest to the publication's readers. While many newspapers and magazines pay writers for their accepted submissions, others do not. In cases in which publications don't pay for submissions, writers may benefit from publicity generated by the publication of their articles. This is often the case when the article writer is developing a reputation as an expert in his field or if he owns a business.
New media is a different matter, and many an article writer now specializes in writing online content, which can be very different in style from articles that appear in print. Some writers write blog articles, both for their own blogs as well as the blogs of others. Others write articles for major websites and online publications. Payment for new media writing varies considerably: Some writers receive a flat fee for their contributions, while others may take a share of any advertising revenue generated by their article. As with print media, some online article writing is unpaid work, and the article writer benefits from the publicity generated by the article as well as backlinks from the article to the writer's website or blog.
Many companies that want an online presence, but don't have writers on staff, may hire an article writer to keep their website and blog populated with fresh content. There are also several online businesses that provide custom content to companies that need a constant stream of fresh content for their websites. Writers who work for these companies are often known as "content writers" and may specialize in writing in a way that promotes high ranking in search engines, sometimes known as "search engine optimization" (SEO). An article writer may solicit Web clients independently or may work as an independent contractor for a Web content provider.