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?
Content Strategist at a B2B public relations/marketing agency. Salary was probably in the $50s. I started at the agency on the media relations/PR track in 2021 straight out of college, but really wanted to get away from client management and do more writing (i.e., drafting bylines for client media opportunities, putting together proprietary data reports). The agency was small enough that I was able to convince leadership to let me be the guinea pig for our first full-time content role. Today, content is an entire division of the company.
List out your income by year for as long as you've been working in content marketing
- 2014 - $50,000 (This was when I transitioned within my agency from the PR track to new experimental content strategist role.)
- 2015 - $60,000 (After less than a year I was promoted to Senior Content Strategist and started managing 1 specialist.)
- 2016 - $67,000 (Got to a point where I was managing a team of 3 writers and 1 videographer at the agency. Our team specifically supported content projects for enterprise tech and professional services clients, at one point I think we were supporting close to 2 dozen different accounts.)
- 2017 - $75,000 (This was the year I finally made the jump to in-house, and became a content editor/strategist for a global consulting firm. No people management.)
- 2018 - $83,000 (Still at the consulting firm. I think most of this increase was a cost of living + merit adjustment based on performance review.)
- 2019 - $91,000 (In Jan. 2019 the consulting firm promoted me to Manager, Content Strategy & Operations. I managed 2 folks directly and mentored other writers across the corporate marketing team.)
- 2021 - $95,000 (In March 2021 I left the consulting firm to become the Managing Editor on the content team of a B2B SaaS company. No people management.)
- Dec. 2021 - $105,000 (Our marketing department conducted a salary/market study and I was the happy beneficiary of a salary adjustment!)
- 2022 - $110,000 (Before my one year mark, I was promoted to Manager, Content Strategy & Operations. Our team is quickly growing so we've needed to rethink our long-term structure, which played a lot into this opportunity. I now manage 2 folks.)
How much do you earn today? What's your job title?
$110,000. I'm a Manager of Content Strategy & Operations
What's the single biggest salary jump you've made? (either from job-hopping or a promotion/raise)
20% bump from being a content strategist to a senior content strategist (2014-2015).
What is your most valuable skill?
Balancing the big picture and the minute details. I can go down a rabbit hole to research specifics for an individual content brief or draft, but I also devote a ton of brain space to ensuring that content serves our long-term strategy and goals, that we're planning far enough ahead, anticipating trends / blockers etc.
What's the best book you've ever read on writing, marketing, sales, business or productivity? (Feel free to suggest more than one!)
I'm pretty business book-averse, but Ann Handley is my ride-or-die so I can't not shoutout Everybody Writes. I love that it's accessible for even the non-content person. It's relatable, digestible, infinitely reference-able. Ann rules.
This is not a book, but a while back I found this YouTube series, which is basically an editor from the LA Times talking about writing with two former colleagues / journalists. Though they're all coming from a news and reporting background, I've found so many relevant nuggets from these conversations, for both writers and editors. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1qC6iYhtFfKjA0KNtz-Qcw/videos
Have you had a career mentor/coach? If so, how did you find them and what have you learned from them?
Not formally. I will say that one of the best manager/coaches I've ever worked with was during my time at the global consulting firm. She is the best example of how to lead with strength and empathy, even in stressful or chaotic environments. Especially as I return to people management, I always think back on how she presented herself and supported her team.
What skills or habits help you thrive at work?
Blocking my calendar. Especially when I've been in manager roles, the meeting cadence can be crazy and so distracting from heads down work. I've always tried my best to offensively block focus time when I know I need it.
Something else I've always done, even since my PR days, is to read about a diverse set of topics (even stuff you think might be boring). You never know what connections you can draw, or where your next content idea will stem from. If you're working in MarTech and only read about MarTech, you're doing yourself and your creativity a disservice.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the $100k club?
- Find your niche. Content jobs look so different from when I started in 2014, so learn the market and better yet know what you want your focus to be.
- If writing / production is your strong suit, can you specialize in a particular industry? Or B2C v. B2B? Are you more interested in short-form copywriting and conversion content, or longform educational or thought leadership pieces?
- Same goes for all of the content-adjacent roles out there. The world needs more project managers who understand the realities of content production, more analysts who know how to report and tell a story about content performance, more distribution pros who can ensure promotion planning begins before a draft is finalized.
- Become an expert in something you feel strongly about.
Where do you live? What is your gender and ethnicity?
White female living in the Chicago-area, IL