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, fill out the form here.
I started out my career as a full-time marketing intern making $28,000 a year...while the job wasn't strictly in content, it helped lay the foundation for my love of content marketing. I think it's important to start in generalist marketing positions (intern > assistant > coordinator) to become more well-rounded.
My foray into the marketing world, however, truly began when I was doing sales to make ends meet. I ended up creating my own flyers and understanding the best areas to sell and what pain points they had. I eventually became the de-facto marketing manager, before I went back to school to pursue a related degree.
Today I earn north of $195,000 a year in a contracted role in a Lead Content Strategist/Head of Content Marketing position.
I also have a couple smaller side engagements that net between $10,000 to $30,000 a year.
The biggest salary jumps I've made have come as a result of remote work openings and being laid off. My local market paid well below the salaries that are available if you find a job working for companies in larger cities.
Looking back now, it's been a blessing that I was laid off. It forced me to pursue new opportunities and I was able to rapidly accelerate both my career growth and salary.
My most valuable hard skill would be my understanding of content strategy and how it goes beyond just a content calendar. Content strategy starts with understanding your audience first and then meeting them where their pain points are.
My most valuable soft skills are communication and time management. Today more than ever, content marketers are bombarded by asks from every department. Being able to communicate priorities and manage your own time are key to succeeding.
I enjoyed the book "Contagious: Why Things Catch On."
I also would suggest subscribing to newsletters as a great way of learning and seeing different perspectives on marketing.
I've never had a true mentor or coach, but I have had the pleasure of having two great marketing leaders who I've continued to stay in touch with and lean on for advice when I need.
They taught me most of the valuable leadership skills and styles that helped me be able to become a manager/head of.
One small thing that makes a huge difference for me is that every Friday I will pull any projects/people I need to reply to/due dates/etc. out that are most important for the following week.
I know we have tools like Monday, Airtable, Asana, and more these days...but being able to list out my priorities for the week and have a checklist stuck to my monitor helps me prioritize.
I also, block off chunks of my calendar specifically for work and make sure to allow space for creativity. If I have a day that I know will be an information dump and know that I also have creative projects to get done, I will take an afternoon off to reset and then do my work in the night (perks of a remote job and trust to get work done).
Don't be afraid to ask questions and don't be afraid to fail as long as you fail fast.
Marketing is a constant state of trying new things to get better results. Not everything you try is going to hit the mark. Failing fast and then being able to learn and pivot from that is huge.
Secondly, don't be afraid to apply to jobs that you might feel unqualified for. I know this sounds cliche, but I've literally been able to pick up new skills or learn each new industry I've moved into. Pushing myself outside of a comfort zone allowed me to get my pay up.
I live in the Pacific Northwest.