Career Survey Report 2021

How Much Do Content Marketers Make?

Organizations are looking ahead to expand their reach and attract new customers, and they’re relying on content marketers to build their communities and grow their audiences. As we head into a healthier economy, you will have more opportunities to step up, play a strategic role, develop your skills and increase your compensation.

In our second career survey, we wanted to look more closely at the drivers of salary growth. The type of organization we work for, our job responsibilities, skills and education, and our experience level all shape our earnings.

For instance, if you want a six-figure salary in this field, our survey found improving your data analytics and content strategy skills can help you reach that goal. It also doesn’t hurt to put in some longer hours.

The survey also highlighted the opportunity — and an obligation — we have to create a more mature content marketing industry, from elevating diverse talent to solidifying titles and roles across the field.

Content Marketer Salary Survey Methodology & Key Findings

Managing Editor conducted this survey Feb. 9-March 23, 2021, and collected 387 responses. Respondents were required to be 18 or older.

B2B marketers reported higher earnings on the whole than their B2C peers and were more likely to be eligible for a bonus.

Data analytics was among the least favorite job responsibilities among respondents — but it’s also one of the skills most correlated with higher earnings.

Managing bigger teams, 11 people or more, and bigger annual budgets, $100,000 or more, are correlated with larger salaries.

Most of us are putting in long hours. In the U.S., the majority are working 41+ hours, and many of the top earners surveyed are working 51+ hours per week.

Not surprisingly, most of you reported working full time at home now. A full 77% work remotely full time, compared to 26% last year, and nearly 95% of us have been on a Zoom call in the past year.

Explore the Data

Associated with higher salaries
Associated with average salaries
Associated with lower salaries
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Who Took The Survey

Survey respondents were overwhelmingly white, cisgender women in the 25-44 age range. Three-fourths of our responses came from the U.S.

Our typical respondent highlights a concern that content marketing, as an industry, has been grappling with: a lack of diversity. The content we create is distributed widely to diverse audiences, and the strategists and creatives behind this content should better reflect their audiences.

It’s incumbent on content marketing leaders to elevate diverse voices to be more representative of their audiences because diverse teams tend to make better decisions than homogeneous ones. It’s also the right thing to do.

Age

chart: age

Gender

chart: gender

Ethnicity

chart: ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

chart: sexual orientation
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Overall Compensation & Benefits

We changed the way we collected salary data in 2021, using bands instead of requesting an exact number. This improved engagement in the survey, but our data is not as precise as it could be if we asked for exact salary numbers.

Comparing across these bands, we didn’t detect a statistically significant gap in salary along gender or ethnicity lines — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist *within* those bands.

Other factors do play a significant role, though. B2B brand marketers were more likely to outearn than their B2C peers and more likely to be eligible for a bonus.

B2B brands are looking for content marketers who can expand their reach and manage their own marketing team and budget — and they’re willing to pay content marketing managers for those skills. We found that managing larger teams, with 11 people or more, and bigger annual budgets, $100,000 or more, also correlated with higher salaries.

The most common salary band for the most common job titles:

titles & associated salaries

What was your base annualized salary on Feb. 1, 2021?

chart: base salary

Is your current role eligible for a bonus?

chart: are you eligible for a bonus?

Is that bonus cash, stock or both?

chart: bonus type

What was the value of your bonus in 2020?

chart: bonus value

What benefits does your employer offer? (Check all that apply)

chart: benefits
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Education & Content Marketing Career Paths

Content marketers come from a variety of educational backgrounds, including the liberal arts, business and journalism. The skill set honed in these degree tracks that are most useful to content marketing include critical thinking, language proficiency and strategic comprehension. The vast majority of respondents have an undergraduate degree.

Many of the highest earners have master’s degrees, too, but it’s not a primary driver of earnings in the field. Content marketing is an emerging field, and we already see a great need for ongoing education to stay up to date on trends and changes. But we foresee responsive, web-based content filling this void before static education, such as traditional degrees, catches up.

Is that bonus cash, stock or both?

chart: bonus type

What was your undergraduate major in college?

majors

What was your base annualized salary on Feb. 1, 2021?

chart: base salary by degree

Is your current role eligible for a bonus?

chart: bonus eligibility by degree level

Is that bonus cash, stock or both?

chart: bonus type by degree level

What was the value of your bonus in 2020?

chart: bonus by degree level
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What Does a Content Marketer Do?

We hope you like variety: The job titles, experiences and skills involved in content marketing are all incredibly diverse. We offered 18 options for job titles this time — all related to content marketing — but “Other” was still the top choice. This variety of titles signals that content marketing hasn’t yet arrived at a universal language encompassing titles, roles and responsibilities.

Data analytics was among respondents’ least favorite job responsibilities — but it’s also one of the skills most correlated with higher earnings. Improving your data analytics proficiency can make your resume more attractive for hiring and promotion opportunities.
Not surprisingly, most of you reported working full time at home now. This year, 77% of respondents work remotely full time, compared to only 26% last year. Although the pandemic spurred this change, we expect more employers to adopt full-time or hybrid remote work models moving forward.

B2B brands tended to have larger content marketing budgets than B2C brands, with nearly 12% of B2B brands boasting an annual budget of $600,000 or more, compared with less than 6% of B2C brands in the same range. Because they tend to have a larger content marketing budget, B2B brands could afford more career options and compensation opportunities than B2C brands.

What best describes your current role?

chart: business type

What was your base annualized salary on Feb. 1, 2021?

chart: salary by business type

Is your current role eligible for a bonus?

chart: bonus eligibility by business type

Is that bonus cash, stock or both?

chart: bonus type by business type

What was the value of your bonus in 2020?

chart: bonus value by business type

How long have you been in your current role?

chart: time in role

What is your job title?

job titles

Is your role considered:

chart: full time, contract or part time

Is your content program more focused on branding or customer acquisition?

chart: marketing program focus

What are your favorite job duties?

favorite duties

What are your least favorite job duties?

least favorite duties

What was your base annualized salary on Feb. 1, 2021?

chart: salary by role

Is your current role eligible for a bonus?

chart: bonus eligibility by role

Is that bonus cash, stock or both?

chart: bonus eligibility by role

What was the value of your bonus in 2020?

chart: bonus value by role

Do you manage other staff?

chart: do you manage staff?

How big is your staff/team?

chart: team size

Do you manage freelancers?

chart: do you manage freelancers?

How many people are on your freelance team?

chart: freelance team size

What is the size of your organization's content marketing budget for 2021?

chart: marketing budget

When was the last time you received a promotion?

chart: when was your last promotion?

How many hours in a typical week do you work?

chart: hours worked per week

What was your base annualized salary on Feb. 1, 2021?

chart: salary by hours worked

How many hours in a typical week do you work remotely?

chart: hours worked remotely
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Content Marketing Technology

Many of us pivoted quickly to managing entirely virtual teams last year. For collaborative tools, respondents gave Slack an edge over Microsoft Office, but the numbers are tight. Asana and Trello are the most popular project management tools.

No one tool dominates email marketing, interactive content creation or social media management, which means that content marketers will have to evaluate many technology providers to find the right tools for their teams. Several respondents signaled that they haven’t adopted a tool for these tasks or that their company doesn’t yet have a unified process and strategy to manage them.

WordPress remains the most popular content management platform. And Zoom, unsurprisingly, has dominated our cultural lingo and became most content markers’ go-to video conferencing tool. It will be interesting to see what role content marketers play in shaping event marketing strategy as we return to in-person and hybrid events.

Which of the following project management tools/platforms have you used in your work in the past 12 months? (Check all that apply)

chart: project management tools

Which of the following project management tools/platforms have you used in your work in the past 12 months? (Check all that apply)

chart: other project management tools

Which of the following tools/platforms have you used to create interactive content in the past 12 months? (Check all that apply)

chart: tools for interactive content

Which of the following tools/platforms have you used to organize/schedule content in the past 12 months? (Check all that apply)

chart: social tools

Which of the following events tools/platforms have you used in the past 12 months? (Check all that apply)

chart: event platforms
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Is Content Marketing a Good Career?

We see tremendous opportunity in content marketing. It’s an emerging field that is poised for growth and change. But we need to work together to establish sustainable career paths and provide more educational opportunities to grow as a community.

Content marketers have more work to do when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, too. Managing Editor is committed to highlighting and celebrating all the diverse voices in our community.

The future is in our hands. Our insights reveal that we can increase our pay by focusing on data analytics, content strategy and managing larger teams and budgets, especially for B2B brands, as the economy recovers. Managing Editor magazine wants to help you achieve your career goals and make the content marketing community better for everyone.

Sign up to participate in the 2022 survey.