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Content Marketing Career Paths: What Can You Expect in 2023?

With content marketing being a relatively new career path, it can be tough to find the data we need to plot our next career move and ensure we’re being compensated fairly. To fill this information gap, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) recently surveyed 1,163 content marketers to produce a data-driven report — Content Marketing Career & Salary 2023 Outlook

Over 58% of respondents have more than 15 years of work in the industry under their belt, so you can be sure a bulk of the insights come from a place of experience. In terms of gender and generation, respondent demographics breakdown as follows:

  • Women (73%) and men (24%)
  • Millennials (47%)
  • Gen X (38%)
  • Baby boomers (9%)
  • Gen Z (5%)

And as far as roles go, content strategy (87%) and content creation (86%) were the most common positions of respondents, with content management (71%) rounding out the third spot. 

By assessing the respondents’ current salaries and content marketing career plans, the report offers key insights for everyone in the industry. Marketers can use the report to see exactly how their current salary and pain points stack up with others in their industry, and organizations can use the data to improve compensation, culture, and ultimately retention.

Read on for a summation of the report’s key findings complimented by our action-oriented tips:

Job Satisfaction: The Majority of Content Marketers Are Happy in Their Position 

The report found that 56% of content marketers are very satisfied or extremely satisfied in their current position. But that doesn’t mean they’re all planning to stay where they are. Only 43% said they won’t be looking for a new job in the next 12 months while 28% reported that they are definitely looking for a new job. Of those planning to change jobs, 1 in 4 aren’t sure if they are going to stay in content marketing. 

To get to the underlying issues, the survey delved into why content marketers reporting low job satisfaction were unhappy. Many of the respondents expressed feeling a lack of support from leaders or co-workers. Other content marketers felt that they have been given unfair timelines to complete their work.

Stress likely plays a large role in lower job satisfaction for many content marketers.

Almost a quarter (24%) of content marketers reported being very or extremely stressed in their roles.

However, stress and job satisfaction were not equal across genders. Women reported a 42% higher stress level than men, and 11% lower job satisfaction. On a positive note, nearly three-quarters of content marketers felt that their employer cares about their stress levels.

studioID’s Tip for Content Marketers:

If you’re experiencing high-stress levels in your role or feel that you aren’t given enough time to complete your work to the best of your ability, create a service-level agreement (SLA) between departments or teams. In your agreement, set your expectations, availability, turnaround time for different kinds of projects, and responsibilities between team members. 

Setting clear, agreed-upon boundaries with managers and external team members will help reduce some of the stress in your work life. But remember: no job is worth sacrificing your mental health over. If your work environment is toxic or consistently draining even after you work to set boundaries, that points to cultural issues at your organization that are likely beyond your control. Don’t hesitate to jump ship for greener pastures.

Salary: Content Marketers Expect Higher Pay 

Unsurprisingly, the majority of content marketers (54%) want higher pay for their work. 

The study found that the average US-based content marketer (excluding self-employed professionals) earns an average of $82,738 per year, with Gen X professionals earning the highest average salary at $95,766.

However, the survey also found a difference in pay between genders, with the average man earning $99,265, compared to an average salary of $79,891 for women. In the same vein, only 31% of director-level and higher roles were held by women. Additionally, men were more likely to hold higher-paid roles related to content marketing, such as UX design. 

studioID’s Tip for Content Marketers:

Because content marketing is a relatively new field, there isn’t much precedent set for salary. From your first day on the job onward, keep a list of accomplishments, big and small, that you’ve achieved. Be sure to collect metrics your work produces too. When yearly reviews come around or conversations with managers come up, you’ll have concrete examples of the value you provide, from brand building to increasing ROI. Couple that information with average salary ranges from reports just like this one to make your case for the compensation you deserve. 

Skills: Content Marketers Want to Grow Their Skills 

The report found that in addition to wanting higher pay, content marketers are looking to continually learn new skills and expand their areas of expertise. 

The top skills of interest include:

  • SEO (53%)
  • Data analytics/science (48%)
  • Technology (46%)
  • Audience development (45%)
  • Writing and editing (40%)
  • UX (36%)
  • Audio and video (34%)  

studioID’s Tip for Content Marketers:

Since content marketing is so vast, there are a number of specialties you can pursue. You’ll likely have exposure to all of the above skill sets at one point or another. But remember: you can’t be an expert on everything, so work to really develop your expertise in one or two areas. Take note of the areas of the job you’re a) most passionate about and b) best at, and try to assess if those areas will be valuable for years to come before committing. 

Once you know where you want to specialize, spend an hour or two each week watching webinars on the subject, and/or see if your company will sponsor you to attend related workshops. Your work is no doubt advancing your company’s agenda, so make sure it’s also advancing yours. 

🌊 Find how-to pieces across every area of content marketing by exploring springboard’s resources.

Content Marketing Careers: Many Marketers Are Unsure of Their Future 

Navigating their career path is a significant challenge for many content marketers, with 49% of content marketers unsure about how to progress in their careers. The majority of content marketers (69%) said they would have to leave their current employer to advance. Women were 15% more likely to feel uncertain about their next career move than men. However, the study pointed out that very few content marketers are considering their career path when determining whether to take a job — only 3% prioritized career paths in their job search. 

studioID’s Tip for Content Marketers:

Try to approach every job you take through the lens of where you ultimately want to be. What do you want to be 5 years from now? 10 years from now? Use platforms like LinkedIn to get a sense of some executive-level titles in the field that match your aspirations. Investigate typical hierarchies that ladder up to that position, and start working your way up. Better yet, find a mentor at that level within your own organization or outside of it. Everyone started somewhere, and many executives are more than happy to pay it forward if you show initiative. 

Career Priorities: Top Factors Vary by Generation and Gender 

According to the survey results, content marketers’ career priorities aren’t a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Interestingly, both Gen X and baby boomers ranked their career priorities in the same order:

  1. Cultural fit/shared values
  2. Higher compensation
  3. Flexible work
  4. Growth opportunities
  5. Quality of benefits
  6. Career path

Millennials ranked their top three differently, with higher compensation as their top concern, flexible work coming in second, and cultural fit/share values coming in third. However, all three generations ranked their lowest three priorities the same. 

While both men and women ranked higher compensation as their top priority, women selected flexible work next, followed by cultural/fit shared values, and growth opportunities. On the other hand, cultural fit/shared values came in second for men, with growth opportunities third and flexible work ranking fourth place. Both genders selected quality of benefits and content marketing career paths as their fifth and sixth priorities. 

studioID’s Tips for Content Marketers:

Each content marketer has different priorities within their career. Take a page out of this report’s book and pick the three most important factors to you. Ensure that every position you apply/interview for is able to prioritize your top three factors and avoid settling for anything less. Any position that doesn’t align with your expectations is going to get old fast, and you’ll be right back where you started hunting for a job that does.   

The Role of the Employer

As content marketing careers continue to expand and evolve, organizations must focus on creating a defined content marketing career path. Doing so will increase employee retention, job satisfaction, and the quality of marketing efforts. Happy employees stick around and produce better work, and you’ll only be furthering your organization’s mission by going the extra mile for them.

studioID’s Tip for Content Marketers:

Content marketers can and should continue to advocate for defined career paths at their organizations. With each new position you take, work with your manager to design a clear-cut path to the next level so you’re actively working toward getting there rather than waiting around for a promotion.

For all CMI’s content marketing career path insights, download your copy of the full CMI report.

A Note from springboard’s Editors: 

While we’re looking into what the future holds, we’d love to hear from you. Take our brief survey to share what content marketing trends, challenges, and adjustments you foresee for 2023.

 

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