The $100k Club

Associate Director of Content Strategy earning $114,000/year

Jimmy Daly
June 25, 2021

Welcome to another post in the $100k Club series. You can see the full series here. This is "My Morning Routine" for content marketing folks making six figures. The goal is to shed light on the skills and habits that enable people to achieve lucrative jobs and help get more people in this club.

These will be anonymous and updated regularly. If you make more than $100k/year and want to contribute, email me.

For more info on content marketing salaries, check out our salary report.

If you'd like to see more info on salary by job title, check out these resources: Content Marketing Manager Salary, Content Strategist Salary, Head of Content Salary, and Content Director Salary.

What was your first full-time job in content? What was the salary?

I was a Content Strategist making $40,000/year.

I was right out of college and looking for any and all jobs in the marketing field that I would be able to get with my seemingly useless liberal arts degree. It was a super small agency and our clients were not the most exciting but I learned a lot.

List out your income by year for as long as you've been working in content marketing.

I earn income through my full-time job, bonuses and some freelance work.

  • 2016 - $40,000
  • 2017 - $52,000 + $5,000 bonus
  • 2018 - $60,000
  • 2019 - $60,000 + $3,000 bonus
  • 2020 - $75,000 + $4,000 bonus
  • 2021 - $100,000 + $4,000 bonus + $10,000 freelance
100K Associate Director of Content Strategy.jpg

How much do you earn today? What's your job title?

I earn a $100,000/year salary as an Associate Director of Content Strategy.

What's the single biggest salary jump you've made? (either from job-hopping or a promotion/raise)

Promotion to a director-level position at the same company was the largest pay bump I've gotten. As terrible as it sounds, the only reason I made that big of a jump was that I was willing to take a job somewhere else and my current company matched the other job's pay. It's really hard to make a $25,000 pay jump at the same company.

What is your most valuable skill?

Being able to code. A lot of content strategists can write and think of big ideas, but not many speak the language of their SaaS clients or are able to quickly SQL some data to find valuable insights that drive their strategy. I'd say I'm a pretty mediocre writer which is rare for this industry but my ability to code has made me stand out and progress quickly. This "valuable skill" made it hard for me when I first started out because nobody knew what to do with me and it was hard for employers to see my value on paper. So I guess I should be eternally grateful to my first content gig even though I was severely overworked and underpaid haha!

What's the best book you've ever read on writing, marketing, sales, business or productivity? (Feel free to suggest more than one!)

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan

Content Science by Colleen Jones

The Elementary Forms of Religious Life by Emile Durkheim ... I know this sounds wild, but hear me out. The book is about our most pure desire as humans to coalesce around something sacred; understanding the idea of the totem and totemic things has been so helpful for me as I have to understand audiences and what will make them interested in a product or convert.

Have you had a career mentor/coach? If so, how did you find them and what have you learned from them?

Not until really recently. We started a mentorship program at work and I got randomly matched. It's been the best thing ever. I learned less about how to do a good job at my job and more about how the company works, how to navigate politics, how to ask for more money, when to ask for more money, what really matters in the executive circle, etc. I didn't expect that that's what it would be but, wow, it's been life-changing. If anyone ever offers to mentor you, take them up on it.

After that phenomenal experience, I've started mentoring two people through that same program at work and another external program for women in tech. Mentorship FTW!

What skills or habits help you thrive at work?

I'm super process-oriented. When I make something or do something I always think about it with a systems mindset and how I can make something repeatable. That's been infinitely helpful in scaling our department and growing our business.

I'm an inbox zero kinda person and that has helped me stay laser-focused on what matters most at any given moment.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the $100k club?\

Invest in yourself and differentiate. Nobody is going to pay you $100K+ if you have the same skills as the person next to you.

Don't expect it to happen overnight.

Ask... I wish someone had told me this three years ago! I was so scared to just ask for what I wanted. I thought I would come off as too bold, rude, and outlandish. But once I entered the exec group I learned that people with way less skills ask for way more money every freaking day! Ask for what you really want and if your boss is a good one they'll either make it happen right then and there or they'll work with you to make a plan to get you there in X amount of time.

And last but not least, make the most of every position you're in. If you're newer in your career and you're not making the big bucks yet, what CAN you make in your role? The wise Upasna Gautam once said something along the lines of "You should always either be earning or learning". In my super junior, right out of college years I was not making much at all but I was learning so much -- how to write better, how to think, how to communicate to clients, how to write for a specific audience, etc. And all that learning helped me earn more later down the road!

Where do you live? What is your gender and ethnicity?

I’m a white female living in Chicago, Ill.

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