What’s it like to work in content marketing? Is it a rewarding career? Does it pay well? What’s the career trajectory?
You certainly know your answers to these questions. But, until now, little industry research has dived into content marketing careers.
We set out to find answers. Our goal is to help content marketers understand their opportunities and positions – and help companies develop meaningful roles and the resources and opportunities to retain them.
So, earlier this year, we asked content marketers about their work satisfaction, career development, and salary expectations.
More than 1,100 content professionals had their say. You can read the full story – including salary breakdowns by role, gender, and generation – in the Content Marketing Career & Salary 2023 Outlook (gated).
Let’s take a sneak peek at some of the intriguing findings.
You (mostly) like your content marketing jobs
More than half of the content pros (56%) tell us they’re very or extremely satisfied with their current position.
One content marketer explains: “I can be creative while being tied to business impact. Content marketing offers the fulfillment and growth of a creative career with the stability and compensation of a corporate career. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s possible.”
Another offers this explanation: “I love seeing all the pieces come together; how great words and innovative designs can affect and influence consumers and audiences. And I love working behind the scenes, getting to turn the cogs of the content machine.”
Satisfaction rates stay roughly the same from millennials to Gen Xers to baby boomers. (We had too few Gen Z respondents to report on their segment with confidence.)
Of course, that’s not to say the job is easy. When asked about stress levels, 24% of content marketers say they are “very” or “extremely” stressed.
One survey taker explains, “The pace of work can be relentless. Just when you’ve completed one big project, another is right behind it.”
And some kudos go to employers. A significant majority (74%) said they feel their employers care about their stress levels and mental health.
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You’re well educated – and eager to learn more
Among the surveyed group, one in three has a master’s, doctorate, or another advanced degree. As you probably know from your and your colleagues’ career pathways, people come into content marketing from many backgrounds (some come from multiple fields), including:
And content marketers are eager to expand their knowledge base:
- Over 45% want to advance their skills in SEO, data analytics, audience development/segmentation, and integrating new technologies.
- 40% show interest in honing their writing and editing skills.
- One in three wants to hone their audio and video skills (filming, editing, and production).
Content marketers clearly rank high on the “digital dexterity” scale – the ability to learn new skills and adapt to new environments. That’s a sign of an adaptable, resilient workforce ready to meet whatever the future brings.
As Jean-Marc Laouchez, president of the Korn Ferry Institute, says in a Computerworld article: “Constant learning – driven by both workers and organizations – will be central to the future of work, extending far beyond the traditional definition of learning and development.”
And yet, many content marketers are looking for new positions
Content marketers like their jobs and are ready to learn. And yet, most (57%) say they plan to find another position within the next year or are unsure about their next steps.
Looking at it from another angle: Only 43% say they won’t be looking for a new job in the next year.
What’s driving this restlessness? Is it a persistent echo of the Great Resignation? Or a wave of “quiet quitting” in content marketing?
I don’t think so. Instead, the research points to something at the heart of content marketing careers.
Content marketing lacks a clear career path
The data highlights a troubling phenomenon: Only 23% of content marketers say they have a clear path for advancement inside their current company.
Nearly all the rest (69%) say they must leave their companies to advance or simply can’t visualize the path forward. (A small share – 8% – say they’ve reached the pinnacle of their careers and aren’t looking for advancement.)
This isn’t a new phenomenon. Robert Rose, our chief strategy advisor, has written about this problem: “Content marketing is growing exponentially. But the advancement ladder for content practitioners is missing most of its rungs.”
Companies that don’t address the content marketing career ladder will struggle to keep these highly educated, adaptable employees.
Content marketers want better-defined career paths and are eager to advance their skills. So, where to begin nurturing their ambitions? With dialogue.
If you’re an individual contributor on a content team, speak up about your needs and wants.
If you’re a team leader, involve your creative, results-driven professionals in open, honest conversations. Invite them to help shape their career paths based on their aspirations. Then partner with HR and executive leadership to provide what they need to achieve their goals.
After all, investing in their future also pays off for the brand.
Content Marketing Career & Salary 2023 Outlook offers more insights into:
- Content marketers’ income
- Unique career priorities by age and gender
- Advice on how companies can recruit and retain the best content marketing talent
I hope you’ll download the e-book to learn more. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. How do these findings align with your experience? What would you tell the next generation about content marketing as a career? Let me know in the comments.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute