Demand for content creators soars, but salaries lag behind

Range of marketing skills is crucial in the industry, according to a new report

The demand for content marketers has skyrocketed, with a 33 percent jump in the number of jobs in this field in the last year alone. And the rise is even sharper for those in search engine optimization, or SEO, which has seen a 43 percent jump.

That’s the result of a report released today by the global marketing company Conductor. Researchers at the company, acquired this year by WeWork, said the increase in jobs across the top 20 markets in the U.S. comes as online content replaces traditional advertising.

Conductor-Salary Guide 2018

“The need for high-quality content is exploding,” said Brian Benton, a longtime WeWork member who runs his own content creation company. “Companies are changing the way they think about content, which changes the type of work we’re doing for them.”

Benton says companies have been requesting a wide variety of visual content, often for social media.

Although the number of jobs for content creators is increasing—from 17,892 in 2016 to 23,846 in 2017—salaries aren’t always keeping pace. Entry-level jobs like content marketing specialists and mid-tier positions like content managers saw slight decreases in average salaries. The biggest drop came for SEO specialists, who saw a nearly 14 percent decrease in annual earnings.

But at the other end of the scale, content directors saw a 13 percent increase in the average salary to $87.142. Marketing directors also saw an increase of a little less than 1 percent to $105,727.

At Conductor, Content Director Charity Stebbins’s team sifts through data from numerous online sources listing jobs in what the industry calls “inbound marketing.” That includes jobs in content creation, SEO, and marketing.

“I don’t think anyone is really tracking these trends like we are,” says Stebbins. “We’re looking at the actual jobs out there in the world, and that makes what we’re doing unique.”

Stebbins says that content creation teams are a fairly new development at most companies. On average they’ve been out of college for three to five years.

“The nature of marketing is changing,” she says. “Companies are realizing that content that entertains or informs or provides solutions for their customers is more than just effective, it’s pretty much mandatory.”

Morgan Hammel is one of the people who snagged a content creation job in the past year. While on the sales team at Re:3D, a WeWork member company that builds industrial-size 3D printers, she brought along a video camera when she visited a hotel chain that used one of her company’s 3D printers to create the prototype for a robot butler.

“I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this,” Hammel says. “I thought that if the video I took turned out terrible, nobody would ever see it.”

But the robot butler video turned out great, and she began splitting her time between sales and marketing. Last April, she was offered a full-time content creator job.

“This was a great way to get into the field,” says Hamel. “Content creation is a sales tool and a marketing tool. I’ve gotten to see it from both sides.”

Having skills in a variety of areas is crucial to success in content creation. Those who rise to the top of the field have a broad base of digital marketing knowledge and experience. For example, 42 percent of content marketing jobs require SEO skills.

The rise in online content creation comes as jobs in traditional media—both print and online publications—are drying up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs at newspapers and magazines dropped by half over the past decade.

But Stebbins says the increase in content production and SEO jobs isn’t bad news for journalists.

“I do think journalists have a real advantage in this field,” she says. “They have the right skills for these jobs. They understand how to research and present data.”

Conductor has worked with over 1,000 brands around the world. It has focused on the online presence of major corporations including Citibank, Salesforce, CVS, and more.

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