The Rise Of The Chief Content Officer: The Next Hot Job Of The Decade

Raygun Rocketship SF - The Rise Of The Chief Content Officer

Every year I tend to discover one significant thing that fish-slaps me in the face based on some sort of experience. This year, it's the realization of the next high demand job of the decade: Chief Content Officer.

You know how computer science and software engineering jobs have become all the rage over the past 10 years? I predict that any job that has to do with creating content online is going to blow UP in 2021 and beyond.

For those of you still in college, take as many classes on web development, creative writing, and online marketing as possible. For others who are looking to switch careers, now is the time to build your resume and take the leap if you like this field.

The most senior of these content-related jobs is Chief Content Officer. It is followed by Director Of Content And SEO. Then the Director Of Engagement And Social Media.

Chief Content Officer In The Making

From 2014 to 2015, I was involved in developing a content marketing strategy for a financial technology company. I've edited, written, sourced, curated, SEO optimized, and help grow the company's brand online through their blog and social media channels. Brand awareness has gone up, marketing costs per result has gone down, and lead generation has grown. Such a job is slowly beginning to pop up all over the place.

A company can no longer just have a website to do business. A company must also have a coherent and effective content marketing strategy. Every single startup or established firm will be hiring a Chief Content Officer or Director Of Content soon enough.

This bodes well for struggling journalists or editors of traditional media companies who have been hollowed out due to the desecration of offline content consumption. The natural path is for senior management to hire such journalists and editors due to their pedigree.

But I argue there is someone even better to fill the CCO role: the pro blogger who has organically built a brand from the ground up and displays the combination of creativity plus business savviness.

In 2020, the financial technology company I was consulting for, Personal Capital, ended up getting bought by Empower Media for 4X more than it was worth back in 2014. I'm absolutely sure the Chief Content Officer position had a lot to do with the company's success.

Why Hiring A Blogger As A Chief Content Officer Is Wise

As a consultant who provides online media advice to startups, whenever a CEO asks me what criteria they should consider when hiring for a content-related job I tell them something like this:

You must differentiate what the person has built vs. what the company s/he worked for has already built. In other words, was the person an integral part of the creation and growth of the content? Or did the person simply join an already fast-growing or established company that will continue to thrive with or without the person?

Hiring an editor or writer who joined Business Insider, Autoblog, Huffington Post, etc from the beginning is likely a much more impactful hire than hiring an editor or writer who joined The Washington Post five years ago. I've seen numerous ex-bulge bracket employees go to bucket shops for huge pay packages only to fail miserably within two years because they and their hiring managers overestimated their abilities vs. the embedded demand a Goldman, Morgan, or Merrill already commands.

A journalist is a soldier in an army of content producers. A journalist's job is focused on uncovering an interesting story with credible sources. The quicker the journalist can publish a scoop, the better. An editor's job is to edit articles to make them shine brighter than if they stood alone.

They manage the editorial calendar and decide what gets published and what gets shelved. The editor seldom writes, despite having a good eye for content. An editor seeks to generate as many subscribers, readers, and clicks as possible, but doesn't really have the best understanding of how to maximize profits because s/he doesn't own the entire vertical, and his/her background is in editing, not in business.

Now let's take a look at the pro blogger. The pro blogger built his business from zero. He came up with the brand, cultivated the brand, built the community, writes the content, edits the content, decides on the editorial calendar, optimizes the content for SEO, interacts with readers, built multiple distribution channels (RSS, e-mail, partnerships, social media), hires writers, manages writers, works with designers, does PR, pivots when the tides turn, and creates new products to sell. In other words, the pro blogger is a vertically integrated machine.

Because the pro blogger depends on her blog to survive, she is also the the CFO who understands the importance of generating revenue, managing expenses, focusing on operational leverage, and balancing business content and social content. If all a pro blogger did was try and sell, sell, sell, then the readership would never grow. There's an art to producing the right blend of content. Great content not only converts, but also engages and attracts new readers.

The pro blogger is the ideal Chief Content Officer candidate. He or she is not only a creative, but a business person as well. The pro blogger is always testing to find the right balance. She can tell you which articles work well in SEO. Or which articles have poor click through rates. Or which articles engender discussions. A company needs such an experienced person to help build a brand and sell.

Hiring A Blogger As CCO Is A No-Brainer

The only problem with hiring a pro blogger as your next Chief Content Officer is that the pro blogger likely already makes a comfortable income. Not only is the pro blogger making decent money, he has a lot of freedom as well, which is probably even more important than money.

Given the typical salary for a CCO ranges from $150,000 – $300,000, it's probably best to look for pro bloggers who have traffic figures between 150,000 – 400,000 a month along with the relevant knowledge and experience in your company's space.

Bloggers who generate more than 400,000 visitors a month can generate over $200,000 in revenue a year or more, which makes it very difficult for the blogger to go full-time. Bloggers who don't generate at least 150,000 visitors a month may require more seasoning to become a CCO. That said, I argue that a blogger who built a 100,000 visitor a month site is a better fit than others for the reasons mentioned above. Nothing can replace the actual experience of doing.

How To Hire A Blogger To Be Your Chief Content Officer

If you find the perfect blogger for the Chief Content Officer role, one of the best compromises is to continue letting him run his site during non-work hours. The blog is his baby. Which he will probably never give up since nobody gives up a child unless they are desperate. Further, nobody sells a cash cow online business in a low interest rate environment!

The other solution is to hire a pro blogger on a part-time basis. This way, they can keep their freedom and also contribute value to your company. If you can find the blogger who has created a site with the metrics mentioned above and has the relevant industry experience to produce authoritative content, you just might have found the perfect hire.

Learn how to start your own profitable blog today. You'll be glad you did. Not a day goes by where I don't thank my lucky stars for starting Financial Samurai in 2009. I had no idea I would be able to leave my job forever three years later.

Top Posts List

If you are to hire a blogger as a Chief Content Officer, you need to also have him or her highlight his or her top posts as well. The top posts list will prove to you the blogger has the skill to become your Chief Financial Officer. Here are some of my five most popular posts.

1) The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person. Everybody thinks they are above average, but statistically this is impossible. I've created a detailed calculation of what I think above average people are worth. The comments for this post are pretty feisty!

2) How Much Savings Should I Have Saved By Age? A lot of people are searching for savings guidance on the web. Here's some target savings amounts to shoot for by age.

3) How To Make Six Figures At Almost Any Age. I strongly believe that anybody with enough desire can make over $100,000 a year. There are plenty of professions and endless amounts of ways to make money nowadays.

4) What Income Level Is Considered Rich? – A discussion about wealth that keeps on going. Obama says $250,000 a year in household income is where people should consider themselves rich. What do you think?

5) The 1/10th Rule For Car Buying Everyone Should Follow – This car buying rule has continued to spread all across the web. I've received dozens and dozens of “thank you” e-mails from people who are so grateful they didn't spend what they initially wanted to spend on a car. There are also tons of comments saying I'm crazy. Love it!

Passive Income X Factor – Starting Your Own Site

It's been over 12 years since I started Financial Samurai and I'm actually earning a good passive income stream online. If you want to snag a Chief Content Officer job, then definitely start your own website. I've received numerous six figure content marketing jobs due to Financial Samurai.

I never thought I'd be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build.

If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with Bluehost. It's cheap and easy to start. They also give you a free domain name for a year too.

Blogging For A Living Income Example: $300,000+ - Chief Content Officer Resume
A real income statement example from a blogger. Look at all the income possibilities! Click to see more examples of how much you can make blogging.

Updated for 2022 and beyond. Everybody should start a blog today! It has never been easier to make money from home.

Check out my Top Financial Products Page. Subscribe to my free newsletter to help you achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later.

32 thoughts on “The Rise Of The Chief Content Officer: The Next Hot Job Of The Decade”

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  3. Nah, pro journalist is the way to go. Someone who’s worked daily news, particularly in print, trumps any “pro” blogger, unless said “pro” intuitively exhibits a work ethic mimicking that of a daily journalist. To be a daily journalist requires (or used to, anyway) adhering to the highest standards and the tightest and most unrelenting deadlines at the most inopportune or inconvenient times. Journalists are the Marines of the publishing world.

    1. Unfortunately, print circulation and revenues are getting crushed. It’s much more important to know how to create and run a business nowadays. Utilizing technology has leveled the playing field.

      And in the wise words of Brian Williams, “I was there.”

      1. ContentSamurai

        Print circ and revenue declines certainly aren’t a secret at this point — but that’s not really relevant to a discussion of the uniquely honed abilities of the people who produce those products. Agree that it’s more important to have an entrepreneurial sense; those tools that are indeed leveling the playing field allow more pros of any stripe who have the drive and skill to work toward being good bosses, not just good employees or good coders. However, that leveling of the playing field means some powerful communication tools are in the hands of people who really aren’t as adept at using them. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” etc. And I see, far too often, 20-somethings struggling endlessly to reinvent content wheels that have been around for a handful of decades. It’s painful to see what’s passing for “content strategy” these days — we’re talking pre-journalism 101 stuff here. Maybe in another 10 years, the level of “content-creation” sophistication will improve across the board.

        1. That’s true. So the question is:

          Would you hire a seasoned journalist or a professional blogger when trying to create awareness about your product online?

          My argument is that it’s better to hire a pro-blogger who is creative, business savvy, SEO savvy, and knows how to mobilize an audience. Journalists might be better at writing articles, but people no longer want to just read the news. They want to get some perspective from authors (Editorial pieces with facts).

          I’d hire journalists to help me write amazing content. But I wouldn’t choose a journalist to run my content marketing. Maybe a journalist who also served as an Editor for years, but not just a journalist.


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  7. Hi Sam,

    What if a blogger is smaller, say at only 10,000 visitors a month? Would they still have the skills needed or do you think something would be missing?

    What different activities are needed to get from 10k visitors per month to 100k?


    1. The biggest factor from 10K to 100K a month i probably time, content amount, and content quality. Creating a 10K visitor a month site is better than someone who has never created a site ever given the site creater will learn a crap load about everything.

  8. Sam your content is fantastic. I started writing a post called “Forget your net worth. What about your net present value?” But I just decided I want you to write it instead. Have you ever touched on that?

  9. I’m definitely one of your regular readers that joined in 2014 via some Google searches. One search was net worth related and another was on a real estate topic. I figured I should just start following if I ended up on your site more than once from searches.

    Your content mix is distinct and my assumption is that you’d have a fair amount of expertise to share in the business development/blogging space. Seems like it would be a great fit and a great value for readers, especially for those who are looking for new ways to grow financially. Could just be my bias speaking.

    Whichever way you go, have a great 2015!

    1. Hi James,

      That’s pretty cool you stumbled across my site through search from a net worth and a real estate angle. I do love talking about both topics.

      I’ll probably write just one biz dev/blogging related article in 2015, and see how it goes. After all, blogging has become one of my income streams.



  10. This post was timely, Sam, as I’m starting a new social media marketing specialist position for an online marketing / tech company this week. I completely agree with your analysis and it’s part of the reason that I left my entertainment industry job (focusing on traditional media buying) in 2014. My blog absolutely contributed to my hiring and I have no doubt that it will continue to help me as I progress into my new digital marketing career path. Happy New Year!

    1. So awesome to hear Kate! CONGRATS on the new social media marketing specialist position! I think we will be hearing more and more of such transitions in the future.

      All the best for 2015 and check in and let me know how it goes!


  11. Hi FS,

    Missed your post about producing something earlier in the year. A good back read :)

    How much time do you spend learning new skills? SEO etc?

  12. Great foresight here, Sam. I’m looking to make a career move in the next year or so, this definitely needs to be on the radar.

    1. Howdy Ben! I really believe in content production/analysis/marketing related roles. One doesn’t necessarily have to be a pro blogger and generate X amount of traffic and revenues to be considered. You and I know that no matter how big or small the traffic, the duties of a blogger are very similar.

      Look into it. I’m deep in the trenches and I believe this career could be a great pivot for you as you’ve mentioned in a previous post how you’re searching for that one role. Fight on!

  13. Thanks for the insight. For me, it’s more about the freedom. I don’t know if I can go back to work for a corporation again no matter how attractive the pay. Maybe if we are in trouble financially, I’d be more receptive to it. For now, life is just about right.

    1. This is great to hear Joe. I am very pleased that you’ve been able to remain retired for two years without having the itch to explore new things in the work force. I think your son is the big X Factor, and that’s great!

  14. Good insight about pro blogger stuff bud. Though the one variable that plays a big part there (in terms of income) is of course how well the site’s monetized. I know some with hundreds of thousands/mo making a normal salary, where others have substantially less traffic but making a ton. Overall though I think you’re spot on. Might have to save this to pass on to others when/if I’m in similar positions such as yourself ;)

    1. I hear yah. Optimizing revenue without blowing up your readership is a skill that has varying degrees of expertise. It’s like anything really. Some people make the most of what they have, and some people don’t care so much and have different priorities.

      A company who hires a pro blogger hires the creative and the business savvy. I think a lot of people are one or the other. But if you can find someone with both skills, I think that person will do well in a creative business environment.

  15. As someone who is actively looking for a job, I agree that content related jobs are on the rise. I see them posted everywhere. There’s a big appetite for content generation and strategy in the market now.

    Congrats on a successful 2014! You continue to publish fascinating and thought provoking articles and I learn something new every time I visit your blog. Keep up the awesome work and have a Happy New Year!!!

    1. Thanks Sydney! It’s been so fun to be free to write whatever and test out different types of content. I think we’re going to have an absolute blast in 2015. Thanks for all your support through the years!

  16. Even Steven

    I hope you are ok with me stealing your quoted info, this is going straight to the resume;)

    Now let’s take a look at the pro blogger. The pro blogger built his business from zero. He came up with the brand, cultivated the brand, built the community, writes the content, edits the content, decides on the editorial calendar, optimizes the content for SEO, interacts with readers, built multiple distribution channels (RSS, e-mail, partnerships, social media), hires writers, manages writers, works with designers, does PR, pivots when the tides turn, and creates new products to sell. In other words, the pro blogger is a vertically integrated machine. – See more at:

    1. Thanks for mentioning the FS-DAIR post! I kinda forgot about that one, but yeah, it makes sense for those figuring out how much to invest or save. Thanks for sharing the post.

      Happy NY to you and the Mrs!

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