Study: What 1,400 Job Posts Teach Us About Content Marketing Hires
As an official job title, content marketer is relatively new. A decade ago, you would’ve just been a marketer. But the field is rapidly changing. In the last 5 years, strong support for positions like content manager, content director, and content marketing specialist is growing. Not only are there more content marketing jobs available now than ever before…
…more and more prospective applicants and companies are looking for them as well.When we saw these trends, two questions came to mind: What does the modern content marketer do? And what skills matter most to employers hiring for content marketing?
To answer these, we at Fractl completed a comprehensive analysis on more than 1,400 content marketing job listings from Indeed.com between January 6-12, 2019. Our exploration included quantitative analysis of hard numbers and a qualitative text analysis. The goal was to understand the nuances of the desired skills and traits most frequently associated with different content marketing jobs.
A breakdown of open content marketing roles
To start, we looked at the positional breakdown within our sample. As the graph shows above, junior and senior jobs were split pretty evenly, which suggests companies investing in content programs are trying to build balanced teams.
This hasn’t always been the case, though. More than 50 percent of B2B content marketers report that their content marketing teams are small or even just one person. So it makes sense employers are looking for people who are already junior or senior-level employees who have experience handling many moving parts. When it comes to seeking external help, many marketers are outsourcing content creation to contract workers and freelancers, which may explain the slightly higher demand for junior and mid-level applicants.
A look at content marketing salaries
Salaries are tricky to track because not all companies make compensation public on their job listings. That seems to be changing little by little. The Creative Group releases an annual salary report every year, and sites like Indeed and Glassdoor are pushing to give employers and applicants more transparency.
In our findings, we grouped salaries into two parts: low end and high end. Content marketing jobs can definitely pay more or less than the range, but based on our research, the graphs above offer an industry standard. Typical intern pay falls between $37,000 and $43,000, annually. Junior and midlevel pay sits between $50,000 and $67,000. Compensation for senior roles stretches between $60,000 and $90,000.
What does it take to make it to the high end of the pay scale?
Across any industry, one of the most common requirements for job applicants is years of experience. Unfortunately, that’s just as true for interns as it is for managers. Oddly enough, over 43 percent of intern job posts expected a minimum of two or three years experience. Interns are typically entry-level workers with little to no experience. The findings suggest a more competitive job landscape to start careers in content marketing. But once people are established in the field, experience isn’t as much of a hurdle.
For applicants looking to enter the content marketing field as an intern, don’t let the requirement scare you away. Specific marketing experience is only one part of the equation when narrowing down the best candidates. Additionally, many employers value work experience in other fields in such as journalism, advertising, and PR.
Surprisingly, there isn’t much difference in the experience expected for junior to senior-level jobs. More than a third of both junior and senior job listings sought out applicants with two to three years of experience. Coming in as just slightly less at 29.5% for junior-level roles, and 30.8% for senior-level roles was four to five years of experience.
Some data may be skewed here based on how companies classify their roles. Obviously, senior roles call for more than one year experience, even though about 22 percent of job posts said otherwise. Likewise, the 12 percent of intern listings asking for at least six years of experience doesn’t add up. Further research could be useful to suss out the numbers.
Hard skills needed for content jobs
We separated job skills into two categories: hard skills—ones easily measured and learned—and soft skills—ones related to work ethic and personality. As you look for a content marketing job, both categories are crucial to career growth.
According to our analysis, the top hard skills mentioned in these job listings were social media, content creation, and SEO. Together, these skills represent the core parts of traditional content marketing. You need to be able to brainstorm, create, and distribute. Larger companies with more resources can hire different people to take on each of those tasks. Smaller startups may only have one or two people responsible for everything. Either way, judging by how the job marketing is moving, employers expect new content hires to have at least have an understanding of basic principles for social and SEO.
Email marketing, project management, and content strategy were next in hard skills rankings. Content strategy is one of the fastest-growing fields in all of media. This makes sense since before you can create quality content, you need a clear plan to guide the marketing team. Having content strategy and project management experience under your belt could open up more appealing and unique opportunities.
When we broke down skills by role type, social media fluency was most commonly desired across the board. Content creation accounted for more than half of the junior and senior listings we analyzed, but only appeared for about 40 percent of the intern jobs.
When it comes to hard skills, junior jobs looked for more well-rounded applicants. Senior roles narrowed in for people with a certain focus in key areas related to management skills. Think of areas such as project management or content strategy. Intern roles, as expected, leaned heavily on a few hard skills.
Taking a deep dive into the hard skill of content creation, we can see which elements marketers are placing emphasis on, depending on the opportunity presented. For interns, an emphasis is placed on overall content creation, blog posts, and social media content. But, as the seniority of the role increases, the focus on blog posts and social content decreases. More employers are looking for the ability to write thought leadership articles and create videos. These more authoritative skills come with more experience and the freedom to create more ambitious content.
Soft skills needed for content jobs
In the world of marketing, chances are you are interacting with people in many different roles and departments on a daily basis. From internal teams and departments to outside vendors and clients, communication is key. So it makes sense that just over 45 percent of content marketing job listings mentioned strong interpersonal skills.
Next up in our research are mentions of people who are hard-working and growth-oriented. It’s easy to demonstrate these skills once you’re in the door but how do you prove that to those hiring managers? The answer is through examples, examples, and more examples. Speak about specific times when you had to guide people through a difficult situation or when you took the initiative to lead a project in your professional life. Don’t be afraid to talk about your goals and how you plan to reach them.
So now that we’ve identified the most desired skills overall, how do expectations change across experience levels?
Similar to the trend we observed in the breakdown of hard skills, all three levels value the same soft skills: organized applicants good at planning.
Along with being centered on growth, the ability to work across teams was a trait with more emphasis among senior-level job postings. This is likely due to the many “hats” executives wear as they tackle tasks and responsibilities that affect everyone throughout the business. Senior-level employees gain skills early on in their careers, which helps them lead as they move up the ranks. It’s important to master these basic soft skills in conjunction with staying on top of technical skills as employers want to make sure they have the most well-rounded candidates to fill a multi-faceted role.
You can see that the top skills of organization and planning remain the same regardless of total experience.
While the skills may be similar across all levels of experience, it’s important to understand how the definitions of these skills evolve over time. They go from being focused on learning the fundamentals of marketing and transition into more big-picture, cross-team skills that leaders possess.
For those with less experience, your organizational and planning skills are likely ways to be more productive on individual tasks like managing a content calendar or editing a post. As you gain more experience, the expectations jump to include bigger lifts like strategic planning and brand messaging work.
The 5 Most (and Least) Important Skills
Alright, so what does all of this analysis all boil down to? We consolidated the research on skills into one graphic that shows exactly what employers are valuing (or not valuing) overall.
For interns: Focus on social media skills and becoming proficient with applications such as Microsoft Office programs or the Adobe Creative Suite. Be less concerned about the nitty-gritty of content strategy or project management. Becoming more fluent in these tools while understanding how to navigate social media builds an important foundation for interns that are just breaking into the marketing industry.
Want to aim for a junior-level role? Recruiters are not only looking for people with technical knowledge. They are seeking candidates with strong writing skills and knowledge of email marketing. Applicants need more than one skill, but employers still value them for content expertise rather than softer managerial skills.
When we get to senior-level roles, hiring managers are looking for someone who is well-versed and cross-functional with skills in management and analytical thinking. This adheres to the traditional business structure of soft skills being more valued in management and upper-level roles. As someone gets promoted, daily duties become less about tasks and more about managing people responsible for those tasks.
Overall, the job opportunities within the content marketing world are growing as this field becomes increasingly valued by businesses and employers. By focusing on hard skills, like SEO, Social Media, and Content Creation and exemplifying soft skills like interpersonal abilities and a focus on growth, you can make yourself an appealing applicant to employers in this industry.Image by Unsplash