Before we dive into the data, I want to briefly outline the purpose of this report. By collecting, analyzing and sharing salary data, we achieve a few things:
- We provide individuals with data to check their own salaries against. If you believe that you are underpaid, you can use this to negotiate you salary at your current job or bring it to future prospective employers. (And here's some proof that it works.)
- We find salary discrepancies. Sadly, the content marketing industry is not immune to gender and racial pay gaps. In some areas, we are better than average but in some cases, we are worse. Highlighting these discrepancies may feel uncomfortable, but it's a necessary step in fixing them. Employers can use this data to ensure they are paying all employees market rate or better.
- You can make data-backed decisions about your career. This data sheds some light on the content marketing career trajectory. Should you consider B2C? What about freelancing? Can you make a great career working 100% remote? Do job titles matter?
Transparency benefits all of us. I believe content marketing is rich with opportunity and this report backs that up.
Okay, just a few more notes before we dive in.
- 206 people filled out this survey.
- All salaries have been converted to USD.
- I cleaned up the data as best I could while maintaining accuracy. If a respondent input "W" or "woman" for gender, I changed it to "female" to make the analysis easier.
- I separated ethnicity into white and BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color). I recognize that this is an oversimplification but we did not have enough respondents to make the data for each ethnicity statistically significant. I hope to change this in future reports.
- I'll tell you if data is up or down versus last year. If it's not indicated, it's a new data point.
- I’m not a professional data analyst but have checked and re-checked my math. If you have any questions, please drop me a line in the Slack channel.
Okay, let's dive in!
So, how much do content marketers earn?
Average total annual income (full-time and freelance income).
This is up 6% over last year. This includes all income from all sources, regardless of experience, employment status or gender/ethnicity.
The average salary for people who make >50% of their income from a full-time job.
This is up 5% over last year. This number is meant to capture data from folks who have full-time jobs, i.e. those who make most of their income from a W2 job.
The average income for people who make >50% of their income from freelancing.
This is up 13% over last year. I define freelancers are people who make >50% of their income from 1099 work. Just like last year, these folks are outpacing their full-time counterparts. It is worth noting that of 206 respondents, only 19 people or 9% call themselves freelancers or consultants.
The average salary for in-house, full-time content marketing roles.
These are folks who do content strategy and creation for the company they work for, not on behalf of clients.
The average salary for content agency jobs.
These are folks who do content strategy and creation on behalf of clients. Many content agencies rely on junior-level writers for content creation, but I'm disappointed by how low this number is. The average pay for someone with 0 to 3 years of experience is about $8,000 more than this.
The average salary for B2B content marketers.
The average salary for B2C content marketers.
Content marketers with a full-time job that also freelance. This is down 67% from last year. I'm not sure how to account for this. I think it's possible that last year's data was from a smaller sample size and therefore not representative.
Of course, average income can only tell us so much. It's helpful to segment individuals by experience to see what kind of pay you could expect if stay in this industry. In general, folks with eight or more years of experience are in the $100k Club.
Interestingly, the average salary for folks with that level of experience actually dropped from last year. I'm not sure exactly how to account for that drop, but am pleased to see junior-level content marketers can expect to make about $64,000 on average. That's a massive jump over last year.
I did a quick analysis of average income by job title. Job titles varied quite a bit, so I chose to analyze by looking at titles that included words like "manager" and "director." In this case, a "content manager" and a "senior content manager" get lumped together. It's not perfect, but it does show a pretty clear progression as folks progress in their careers. It's obvious but worth stating: titles matter!
The bulk of respondents earned between $60,000 and $79,999. For the first time, I needed a new cohort to account for folks making more than $200,000/year. I hope to keep adding new lines to this chart in future years.
This was an odd year for remote work since nearly all of us worked remote. I asked folks if they work remotely most of the time (52%), or if they are temporarily working remotely (44%). It's hard to glean much but this year's data, but I do expect to learn a lot next year. Mostly, I'm curious if we'll see way more people working remotely in next year's edition.
The average income for people who work remotely (counting both full-time and freelance income). We did not include people who are temporarily working remotely due to Covid-19.
This is up 15% over last year. This indicates that content marketers absolutely can make a great career without living in a major city like San Francisco or New York.
The average income for people who do NOT work remotely (counting both full-time and freelance income). This includes people who are currently working remotely due to Covid-19.
This is up 3% over last year. It's interesting that this increased far less than the income for remote workers. I suspect this is because some people permanently transitioned to remote work this year and kept their salaries.
Gender and Ethnicity
As I mentioned above, it is extremely important that we root out income discrepancies related to gender and ethnicity. For the first time, we collected data on ethnicity to add more and better data to this report.
The average income for males (counting both full-time and freelance income).
This is up 2% over last year. This is basically right on pace with average inflation.
The average income for females (counting both full-time and freelance income).
This is up 10% over last year. I'm really glad to see that we made some headway here. We need to do better, but our industry is moving in the right direction.
92 cents on the dollar ↗
Average pay disparity between men and women.
This is a 47% improvement over last year. In content marketing, women make 92 cents for every dollar men make. This is up from 86 cents on the dollar last year It's better than the national average of 80%, but still not good enough.
The average income for people who identify as white or caucasian.
The average income for people who identify as BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color).
I did not have enough data to analyze average income for each ethnicity submitted in our survey. As our reach expands, I hope to address this.
The average income for white men.
The average income for white women.
The average income for BIPOC men.
The average income for BIPOC women.
According to Payscale.com, "Black women make 76 cents on the dollar compared to white men." In content marketing, women of color make 87 cents for every dollar a white man makes. It's better than average, but we can't pat ourselves on the back just yet. There is a lot of work to do. Employers: please take this data to heart. We can do better.
Some of this data is uplifting, but some is downright disheartening. Here are a few things you can do now:
- Talk about pay discrepancies—in your marketing meetings, with your coworkers, with your manager, with your friends and on social media. The more we talk about pay gaps, the more awareness we raise.
- Ask your employer to create inclusive job ads, remove bias from the hiring process and to do a pay gap analysis of current employees.
- Update your style guide to include guidelines for bias-free language, conscious language and diversity.
- Ask for a raise! If you this data tells you that you are underpaid, consider bringing it to your manager and negotiating a raise. If you're looking for a new job, make sure you know how much you deserve to be paid ahead of time.
If you want to talk with other content folks about this report and other career development topics, come join our free Slack group. There are already 2,000 of us learning and supporting one another and we'd love to have you.
Any questions about this report? Feel free to DM me on Slack or email me at email@example.com.