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Allison Riggs

By Allison Riggs

Jan 1, 2024

Topics:

Hiring a Marketing Team Content Managers Advanced They Ask, You Answer
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Hiring a Marketing Team  |   Content Managers  |   Advanced They Ask, You Answer

Is a Content Manager Salary Really Worth the Investment?

Allison Riggs

By Allison Riggs

Jan 1, 2024

Is a Content Manager Salary Really Worth the Investment?

If you’ve read They Ask, You Answer, you know how critical the right content is to your success.

Depending on what you sell and who you sell to, your content may include articles, videos, social posts, podcasts, and buyer's guides — all focused on answering your customers' most pressing questions. 

We teach our clients that content creation needs to be a part of their DNA. It's a commitment to education and transparency. 

And, like any other commitment, it takes effort. 

Even in the age of AI, you need someone on your team that "owns" content — what we call a content manager. It will be their job to coordinate your content marketing efforts, which may include written, video, and social content.

We teach our clients that content creation needs to be a part of their DNA. It's a commitment to education and transparency. 

 

But is this employee worth the cost?

Below, we'll provide details about content manager salary — as well as alternatives you may want to consider.  

Let's dive in.

First off, what does a content manager do?

Before we dive in, let's cover the basics of what a content manager may do for your business. Keep in mind, your needs may be different from another business, so duties may shift accordingly. 

Your content manager, as a writer, may produce"

  • Blog articles
  • Newsletters
  • Social posts
  • Website copy
  • Case studies
  • Research reports
  • Nurture campaigns
  • Buyer's guides
  • Video scripts

Additionally, the content manager runs content brainstorms, interviews subject matter experts, maintains the editorial calendar, and tracks data to report on everything.

Screenshot 2024-02-20 at 4.35.15 PM

What is the average salary for a content manager?

Content managers need a variety of unique, expert skills, including writing, interviewing, editing, organizing, and researching. In a dedicated publishing organization, their duties are split across multiple job titles.

In the United States, the average content manager salary is currently $75K according to Glassdoor. This number may dip to around $40,000 or rise to around $120,000 depending on company size, years of experience, location, or additional cash compensation.

Content manager salaries range from $45K to $120K+, with an average of $75K.

Keep in mind, though, that the content manager role gets defined differently at different companies. Hence the wide salary range. 

If you're looking at hiring your first content manager, you might want to look for someone who's a bit greener but eager to learn

Is a content manager worth the investment?

Having helped hundreds of businesses hire for this role, we can confidently say yes, a content manager is an invaluable person to have on staff. 

All the same, we know that a hiring decision comes down to numbers. 

If, over the course of a calendar year, you invest $50-$70K in compensation for a content manager whose work leads to more than that from inbound leads, you’re in the land of positive ROI.

Screenshot 2024-02-20 at 4.30.48 PM

The ROI really starts to compound when your content manager spends multiple years as a dedicated creator for your business. Over time, you will build up a library of content that builds your audience and brings in leads.

New content gets published as older content continues to get found, shared, and consumed. 

Salary vs. cost of customer acquisition

Content marketing is the ultimate tool for building relationships with prospective customers.

By honestly answering a question they have about a purchase, you’re showing your buyers you’re an expert in your field and they can trust you to do good work.

They begin to see you as a helpful teacher, not just a brand trying to sell them things. This builds a relationship based on trust, the kind of trust they need to ultimately buy from you.

The first factor to consider when evaluating the cost of a content manager salary is the average lifetime value of a client relationship for your business.

At IMPACT, our client relationships can last for years and result in revenue of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Screenshot 2024-02-20 at 4.32.29 PM

Oftentimes it’s one Google search that leads prospects to one blog post that starts these client relationships. From there, they read another blog post, sign up for our newsletter, come to an event we host, and eventually, convert into a customer.

We know that a single touchpoint will not lead to a sale. We know one blog article is not going to bring in a customer by itself.

But at the same time, we know that a content manager is vital for spreading the word, growing our audience, and building trust with our buyers. 

Using content in the sales process

Perhaps the most important work your content manager will do is with the sales team. 

The right sales enablement content can shorten the sales cycle and improve close rates

If your content manager produces a case study, a buyer's guide, or a product comparison that helps a buyer move forward, they're having a real impact on your revenue. All of a sudden, your sales velocity increases and your pipeline gets unclogged. 

Content manager alternatives

You can see why hiring a content manager is a cost-effective way to grow your business and generate leads, but you might be asking yourself at this point, “Why do I have to hire someone full-time? Can’t I hire a freelance content creator? Can I just use AI?"

Let's check out those other options.

The downsides of a freelancer

When you hire someone to write content for your business, whether they’re a freelancer or full-time, in order for them to create anything that’s of real value to you, you’re going to need to educate them about your industry and your business.

If the content they create is going to educate a prospect and realistically describe what it will be like working with you, they need to learn enough from you to make the content substantive.

When you hire someone to write content,
you’re going to need to educate them about your industry and your business.

The downside of a freelancer is that they lack that inside knowledge, so the content they produce is generic. They do research with Google of ChatGPT — just like everyone else covering the same topic. 

Or, if you take the time to educate them, you might find yourself having to start over if that freelancer moves on to another opportunity.

Additionally, many freelancers do their work as a side hustle, so it can be hard to connect with them during the work day. Scheduling interviews, brainstorms, and feedback sessions can be difficult. 

Then there’s the volume factor to consider.

We recommend our clients publish 2-3 pieces of content every week.

For a freelance writer who charges somewhere in the range of $300 per article, that comes to $46,800 for three articles a week for 52 weeks out of the year.

If you’re going to invest that much in a freelancer, why not just hire them full-time and have someone who acts as a dedicated content strategist, manager, and writer?

'But what about AI?'

Artifical intelligence is an incredible tool in the hands of a savvy marketer. But it is not a full-fledged writer. Even the best AI tools hallucinate and plagiarize, so you'll need someone on staff to double-check everything that comes out of ChatGPT or Jasper or Content at Scale. 

A better idea is to hire a content manager who knows how to multiply her impact with the right AI tools

After all, AI is a tool, not. strategy. The right content manager can build the strategy and choose the right tools to get it done. 

Digital marketing and measurable ROI

Marketing is notoriously hard to measure. Even the most sophisticated attribution models are problematic. There's a whole body of research to suggest that we struggle to fully understand the touchpoints that prompt a buyer forward.

If your would-be buyer is out there asking a question right now, wouldn't you want to be the one to answer it? 

What's certain is this: Buyers spend more time self-educating before a purchase than ever before. If your would-be buyer is out there asking a question right now, wouldn't you want to be the one to answer it? 

A content manager lets you meet that rising need. 

Imagine how much better you'd feel with a library of content to answer every buyer question. 

Investing in quality content will give you the ability to draw a straight line from the content you’re publishing to traffic, leads, and, most importantly, sales.

If I’m a business owner spending money on marketing, I want to know how I’m going to get a return on it.

The only way to consistently create quality content that produces the kinds of results our most successful clients have seen is having a full-time content marketing manager. That’s where the ROI is.

Your content manager

If you're serious about adding this role to your staff, schedule a free coaching session with IMPACT. For more than 10 years we've helped companies hire and onboard great content managers — and we can help you too. 

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Register for IMPACT Live in Hartford CT, October 14-16!

Register for the one and only They Ask, You Answer conference before rates go up July 31! Save $200 now.
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