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 Superpath.
For more info on content marketing salaries, check out our salary report.
I was self-employed for many years and made $14,000 the first year freelancing.
I really started taking my freelance career seriously in late 2009, early 2010. I was basically doing whatever I could to get money. So blogging for dollars, social media consulting, like all the things that people do to say like, Hey, I know what I'm doing on the internet when I really had no idea what I was doing on the internet. That slowly built up over time.
After about five years, I started working at ConversionXL and made $48,000. I had freelance wrote for them for a year, and was getting paid $200 an article. At the end of the year, I got an email saying, Hey, congratulations, you have the number one and number six most trafficked articles on the site this year—you now have a full-time editor. So that's when we locked in a steady rate of $4,000 a month.
Today I earn $250,000 as a Content Marketing Consultant and Founder.
The next big jump was from $48,000 to $90,000 a year as the Editor-in-Chief at a big tech company, and that was more money than I had ever seen or known of. I did that for two years, built out some credentials, and created a really great body of work at that company.
I then started consulting with another big tech company and negotiated my salary to $130,000.
I did that for a couple years and built up more credentials. As the Global Editor-in-Chief, I ran a global content marketing program and had 40 plus contributors across 16 markets. We were publishing five days a week across all the different markets. And then they had a massive layoff. I started my own consultancy business and within the first few months I had secured double my salary.
Building content programs, which deals with everything from strategy to operations, to hiring, to budgeting, to standard setting and editorial and basically everything that a company needs to get content marketing working within their organization.
That also includes cross collaboration between different departments and seeing where we can get information exchanges and build better internal distribution systems.
I have a few that have inspired me during my career:
Not really, but connections with the right people have helped me get to where I am today. I've never applied for a job. Anytime I've actually tried to apply for a job, I haven't gotten anywhere with it because I don't have a bachelor's degree. I have an acting certificate from a conservatory in Manhattan.
So it's always been a matter of recognizing the opportunities, meeting the right people, doing good work constantly, focusing on my technique and then letting the work carry itself by introducing it to new people and seeing things spread organically.
The biggest thing I've always focused on is my technique in how I create. It's not about throwing content out to a bunch of different people and trying to spam the internet with my links. Rather I ask myself, how can I create something that gets people wanting to talk about it? And then how can I start those conversations with people once that thing has been created?
I want to give you something that you can remark on because if it's remarkable, then we can have a conversation and the rest of it takes care of itself.
Focus on honing your craft and technique. Get good at one skill at a time. Be intentional about everything you create, and practice on each area of a piece of content—headline, opening line, sub headers, etc.
Intentionally practice making good work that people want to share and discuss. The major thing for me has always been keeping myself accountable to the standards that I set for myself. I had a teacher in high school that said, if you expect greatness, then you'll achieve greatness. And that's always stood out to me because I think that the work itself should always push you. Just like if you were going to the gym, you push yourself just a little bit further and you can do a little bit more next time.
I think a lot of us get really complacent and rest on our own skills, get into our own rhythm, and think, Hey, this is making me money, so why change anything? But it's a constant dedication to improvement and making sure that the next thing hurts just a little bit more than the thing before. If it's not hurting just a little bit, then your skills aren't improving.
I'm a white man living in Berwick, Maine.