Hey folks! Thanks so much for the many contributions to this report. We had a record number of respondents this year. Superpath donated $1 for each of the first 500 contributions to 826 National, a nonprofit organization that helps young people find their voices through writing (receipt).
This is the fifth edition of this report. Starting last year, we decided to update the report each year rather than publish a brand new one. This makes it easier to track year-over-year data and is easier to keep track of. This is now the only salary report you’ll find on this website, and it includes a summary of all the data we’ve collected over the past five years. This makes the good, bad and ugly of content marketing income plainly visible.
This year's salary report is presented by the great folks at Minuttia, an agency that helps B2B SaaS companies accelerate organic growth through data-driven content marketing and SEO. You can check out their customer success stories as well as the webinars they've done with us on content strategy, topic clusters, content briefs and audits. Many thanks to Minuttia for helping us make this report a reality.
Before we dive into the data, I want to outline the purpose of this report briefly. By collecting, analyzing and sharing salary data, we achieve a few things:
Transparency benefits all of us. We believe content marketing is rich with opportunity and this report backs that up. Okay, just a few more notes before we dive in.
Okay, let's dive in!
The above video is a conversation with our friend Carolyn Lyden. We talk about how to use this data to hire and pay equitably, as well as how to negotiate for better pay. Check out her site, Salary Negotiation Pro, for more resources.
So, how much do content marketers earn?
Average total annual income (full-time and freelance income).
This is up 1.77% over last year—a modest but still meaningful increase. The job market was chaos over the last 12 months and while we’d hope for a larger increase, we wouldn’t have been totally surprised to see this number decrease year-over-year.
This data includes all income from all sources, regardless of experience, employment status, gender or ethnicity, meaning that a person could make 90% of their income from a full-time job while supplementing some of their income with some freelance work. Conversely, someone could make 50% of their income from full-time work and 50% from freelance work. All of these variables are included in the average number.
The median annual income is $88,256, a 5.38% increase from 2022 ($83,750).
Here’s how this data has changed over the last few years:
I would like to note that the Superpath audience has grown and evolved quite a bit since we started collecting this data. Way back in 2019, only 36 people filled out our salary survey (we’ve excluded that data). This year, more than 14x that many people provided data. It’s hard to nail down exactly how sample bias affects the data, but we do feel confident that the trend—up and to the right—is accurate based on everything we’ve observed over the last few years. As the sample size increases, the validity of our data is strengthened. (Of note, we feel very confident in this year’s data.)
As you can see in the chart below, “Count of Respondents by Total Income,” the bulk of respondents earned between $60,000 and $79,999. In general, content marketing is still a young person’s field, meaning that the median content marketer is relatively early in their career. (This is an observation, not a data point.) This data is “right-skewed”—meaning that there is a long tail of responses above the average. It’s hard to bucket those folks into income brackets; those brackets don’t tell us much. One thing we do know is that once content marketers break out of the $60,000 to $79,999 bracket, there is quite a bit of earning potential.
The average annual income for people who more than 50% of their income from a full-time job.
This is up 4.87% over last year ($91,502). This number is meant to capture data from folks who have full-time jobs, but does include any additional freelance income—e.g. someone who makes $85,000 per year from a full-time job plus an extra $10,000 from freelance work. It’s an imperfect number but we believe it’s the best representation of how much income the average individual earns. This number also includes profit sharing, stock and all other non-salary compensation. About 57% of full-time employees earn at least some non-salary compensation in addition to their base salary.
The highest-earning full-time content marketer earned $286,000 without any additional freelance work. A few people earned more with combined full-time and freelance income.
The average income for people who make more than 50% of their income from freelancing.
This is down 14.27% from last year ($105,787). We define freelancers as people making over 50% of their income from freelance work. This is perhaps the biggest surprise from this year’s data. Many of our highest-earning $100k Club members are freelancers. There are at least three possible explanations for this:
Here’s a quick comparison of full-time vs. freelance income over the past few years. Please note that this data isn’t perfect—e.g. a full-time employee who does some freelance work has that extra income included in their total. Because many full-time folks also take on freelance work, their employment income is actually lower than what’s reported here. Note that someone could be classified as a freelancer if they have a part-time job and do freelance work in addition to it.
This is down from last year. We’re not sure exactly what to make of this. More people responded who have jobs and still freelance, but that cohort represented less of the overall respondent base. It’s still quite common and, for 100+ respondents, a nice way to earn extra income.
This is up 3.13% over last year ($94,168).
This is down 5.11% over last year ($93,183). It’s worth noting that we had nearly 4x more B2B content marketers fill out this year’s survey compared to B2C/D2C folks. It’s a smaller sample size and one that we’re not quite as confident about. Still, the B2C/DTC folks likely felt the pain of this year’s macro environment more than B2B content marketers.
As a reminder, Apple’s relatively new privacy policies are making life much harder for advertisers. Over time, this should make content marketers more valuable to these companies, but it seems to be a source of chaos right now.
Of course, average income can only tell us so much. It's helpful to segment individuals by experience to see what kind of pay you could expect if you stay in this industry. In general, folks with eight or more years of experience are in the $100k Club. This data includes income from any source and does not delineate between full-time and freelance.
Here’s how this data for “Income by Experience” has changed over the past few years. (Note: This is only the second year we’ve collected data for the “13+” category.) Interestingly, incomes were slightly lower for people with seven or fewer years of experience compared to data from previous years. We believe these roles, which tend to focus on content creation, are increasingly outsourced to freelancers and agencies.
For folks with eight or more years of experience, income is up. This, we believe, points to the fact that these roles focus on strategy, people management and vendor management—skills that are very difficult to outsource.
Below is a look at the average annual income by job title. We used a simple formula to pull keywords from job titles. Example: “What’s the average annual income of respondents whose job title includes the word director?” This data is not perfect—e.g. it’s possible that a job title like “lead strategist” was counted twice. For that reason, we’re hesitant to draw any firm conclusions other than job title does matter. And no titles matter quite as much as “director” and “VP.”
If you'd like a more in-depth look at salary data by job titles, check out the posts below.
This section applies primarily to full-time employees. We presented respondents with a list of benefits/perks and asked them to check all that apply. Note that we also asked about remote work. Nearly 90% of people said they work remotely “most of the time.”
Content marketing is a well-paying field overall but, sadly, income is not consistent for everyone.
A quick note on this data: We didn’t have enough respondents to differentiate between every ethnicity. We chose to bracket everyone who did not identify as white or caucasian into the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color) category. I recognize how imperfect this is and I’m sorry that this data isn’t as thorough as it ought to be.
We asked respondents which gender they currently identify as. We left the field open for folks to respond however they like (i.e. not a dropdown).
This isn’t good enough but it is a significant improvement over last year’s when we found that men were earning $14,604 more than their female counterparts. Last year, women earned about 86 cents on the dollar. This year, women earned around 94 cents on the dollar. The average male salary decreased by nearly $5,000, and non-binary and fluid folks earned slightly more than last year.
Once again, this data is really disheartening. This pay gap improved by just 2.5% and worse, BIPOC men saw a 22% decrease in average income. We need to unpack this further, however, since the overwhelming majority of American, Canadian and British respondents were white while the majority of folks from other countries were BIPOC. More on that in a minute.
Of note, several male BIPOC respondents reported earning less than $10,000 in the last year. This brings the average down but isn’t enough of an outlier to remove. The bottom line is simply that companies need to pay at or above experience benchmarks, regardless of gender or ethnicity.
As we alluded above, we need to note that the majority of respondents from the United States, Canada and the UK are white. The ethnicity data definitely exposes wage gaps, but it also speaks to the economies of each country represented. This year, we asked folks if they lived in the US, Canada, UK or somewhere else. Here are the average incomes of people by country. In future years, we plan to collect more location data so that we can more accurately report on this.
To find more clarity, we pulled average income by gender and ethnicity, but limited it to the United States. These numbers tell a very different story. This year, people of color earn more than their white peers in the US.
It's wonderful to see wage equality here in the US. We know this doesn't mean wage gaps are over. We as content marketers need to be vigilant about racism and sexism in our industry. We're making progress but there's still work to be done.
Some of this data is uplifting, but some of the findings are incredibly frustrating. Here are a few things you can do now:
Come join our free Slack group if you want to talk with other content folks about this report and other career development topics. There are already 12,000 of us learning and supporting one another and we'd love to have you.
Any questions about this report? Feel free to DM us on Slack or email me personally at jimmy at superpath dot co.