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.
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What was your first full-time job in content? What was the salary?
My first few jobs out of college were writing-heavy digital marketing roles. I worked at tiny startups (max six people!) making around $30k. This was before content marketing was really a *thing*, so I dabbled in everything: organic and paid social media, email marketing, website copy, blogging, ghostwriting, media pitching, etc. It was great experience (especially for someone so early in her career) and really taught me that writing was my strength and passion.
A few years later, I joined a later-stage startup as a pure writer and made $71k plus equity.
How much do you earn today? What's your job title?
My current title is content marketing manager. My base salary is $155k with a $25k annual bonus and equity.
What's the single biggest salary jump you've made? (either from job-hopping or a promotion/raise)
After working at that startup, I joined a very large public company. My salary jumped from $71k to $120k plus equity. At the end of my tenure at the public company, my annual cash compensation was around $175k.
What is your most valuable skill?
Getting sh*t done. I am a very efficient writer and can produce a lot of high-quality content in a short amount of time. I've covered dozens of different topics, from technical concepts for B2B audiences to more fun, consumer-friendly topics and as a result, I can consume and process a lot of new information very quickly.
What's the best book you've ever read on writing, marketing, sales, business or productivity? (Feel free to suggest more than one!)
I am a huge reader, but prefer books that let me explore a new world and escape my day-to-day reality (currently loving sci-fi novels). I truly believe that making a habit of reading *any genre* will make you a better writer.
Have you had a career mentor/coach? If so, how did you find them and what have you learned from them?
I have never had a formal mentor or coach -- it has always happened organically. My mentors in the past have included managers, editors, peers in completely different functions, or even friends. I think people tend to overthink the whole concept of mentorship. Everyone has something to teach you and it doesn't have to be a super formal, thought-out partnership for you to get value.
What skills or habits help you thrive at work?
- Time management: I strategically block my day/week based on my creative patterns. I usually reserve Mondays for catching up on emails and planning the rest of my week. I also know that I'm most productive in the mornings, so I do the bulk of my writing then (mostly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) and save the afternoons for other tasks.
- Asking questions: As the writer, you need to fully grasp new, complicated ideas to be able to produce a quality piece of content. I quickly got over my embarrassment about asking the most basic, mundane questions when interviewing subject matter experts. In fact, asking the "obvious" questions usually leads me down a really valuable path.
- Writing the ugly draft: The hardest part of the writing process is filling that blank Google Doc. I am most effective when I brain-dump an ugly, quick draft and then go back to it a day or two later to refine. I force myself to forget about copy editing or polishing or making things sound good. Many times, I just write placeholders (like <transition>) to get me to continue writing. I'll write out of order too, like starting with the conclusion or the middle of the piece and filling in different sections as I go. At the end, it's not pretty but it is a completed draft and makes it so, so much easier to improve.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the $100k club?
Find a company that truly values content marketing. You could be the best writer in the world, but if leadership doesn't fully understand the impact of content, they won't appropriately value your skills nor give you the room to grow.
What is your gender and ethnicity? Where do you live? (optional)
I'm a caucasian female in a high cost of living city.