“We can just add social media (or whatever) to somebody’s job title” doesn’t work!

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

“Other duties as assigned” might appear to be a blank check to some so-called managers but assigning tasks on top of tasks that an employee doesn’t have the skills for doesn’t set up anyone – including the manager – for success. Additionally, it might not make the best use of a team member’s top strengths.

Social media  and other content creation tasks are often thought of as easier than they actually are – especially by those people in charge who never have done them.

Just take a picture, shoot some video and while you are at it, please record a podcast. Don’t forget about the questions for the article that you’ll have to write. Could you do a behind-the-scenes Blab, too? This sounds simple enough in my head so not a problem, right?

It’s not that easy. 

Now, sometimes, it is indeed possible to incorporate many different forms of content and produce them all at the same time. But, it’s not as simple as it seems in our heads. If everything was as simple as it appears in our minds, I could write a book in two hours on one night. Shouldn’t take that long.

Related: How long does content creation actually take?

There’s a reason we used to have jobs without slashes. You know, like editor OR director OR producer OR writer OR reporter OR whatever else. The list goes on.

Today, we get more and more slash-jobs:

  • Editor/writer
  • Photographer/Editor
  • Multimedia-anything really means that the person in that role is supposed to be good with all multimedia – including the stuff that hasn’t been invented, yet.
  • Something of HR and Finance
  • Social media manager and website content editor

  • Designer/social media manager

There are plenty others and feel free to tweet me your favorite one not listed here. Some of those new and more “efficient” roles have job descriptions that were written from la-la land. As Marketing Guru Seth Godin has said before, if you don’t know anyone who can actually do that job and you’ve been around for a couple decades or more, it’s likely not a realistic job description.

Journalists, in addition to many creative professions, have seen this as well:

  • At the beginning of the traditional journalistic part of my career, I was reporting and writing articles.
  • Then, I would go on TV to talk about them.
  • Then, I’d do web previews.
  • Exclusive web reports
  • Update the website
  • Record audio
  • Shoot video
  • Edit video
  • Take photos

At one point, a c-level person asked me how hard it was to edit video and get it online after I had just shot it at an accident scene. My response:

“Not hard at all. I shoot it, call the web desk, tell them that I’m dropping off the camera for them to take care of the footage.”

The footage, in the big picture of video editing, was pretty simple, but I wouldn’t have had time to edit it and then to wait for it to upload. I had some more reporting to do. In theory, though, it sounds so easy to do it all.

Gathering content from an interview falls into a similar category:

Yes, I can go interview somebody, then shoot some photos and grab some other multimedia content pieces. Seriously, though, just the interview – depending on the topic can take up a content producer’s entire brain power. There’s usually one more question to be asked. Interviewing takes time and brainpower.

Now, in defense of the people who are coming up with slash jobs, some of the tasks can indeed be combined, but projects will take longer and it will be harder to find the right person who is actually good at all things – some slightly unrelated – required by these new jobs.

It’s something to consider as organizations continue to evolve into the authentic storytelling content marketing roam through their blogs, social media, e-newsletters and other channels. How will the staffing work out? Don’t assume people who have been around have the right skills or even want to do these new tasks.