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.
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 2016 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, followed by Director Of Content And SEO, and Director Of Engagement And Social Media. For the past 12 months I’ve been intimately 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.
WHY HIRING A PRO BLOGGER AS A CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER IS A WISE MOVE
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 that not only converts, but also engages and attracts new readers.
The pro blogger is the ideal CCO candidate because 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, which articles have poor click through rates, and which articles engender discussions. A company needs such an experienced person to help build a brand and sell.
WHAT A NO-BRAINER, RIGHT?
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.
If you find the perfect blogger for the CCO 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. The other solution is to hire a pro blogger on a part-time basis so 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 was able to leave my stressful day job in early 2012 and I never have to work for anybody or corporation again!
MOST READ POSTS WRITTEN IN 2014
2014 was a solid year for Financial Samurai. I wrote over 180 posts in 2014 (3.5 a week on average). Organic traffic grew by 50%, revenue grew by 74%, and operating income surged in the triple digits due to operational leverage and new advertising partnerships. Search engine traffic accounted for roughly 75% of all traffic, which is good because people who search have a problem to solve. Search engine traffic can also be bad if search engines decide to demote your articles.
One of the best feedbacks I occasionally receive from readers is when they ask whether I make any money online. Trying to find the balance between commercial free posts, keep-the-lights on posts, and hybrid posts is always a challenge. Regardless of the type of article, my goal is to always try and make every article as interesting as the topic allows.
Here are the 10 most popular posts written in 2014.
1) How Do People Live On Less Than Six Figures In Expensive Cities? – I say it’s pretty difficult, unless you’re willing to live like a college student for the rest of your life.
2) Confessions Of A Spoiled Rich Kid – Great insight by Financial Samurai reader Marco on his rich upbringing here in the San Francisco Bay Area.
3) The Average Savings Rate By Income (Wealth Class) – The media likes to drone on and on about how Americans don’t save; not even high earning Americans. You’ll be surprised by the average savings rate for the top 10%.
4) Focus On Building Net Worth More Than Growing Income – I don’t care if you make $100,000 a year, $500,000 a year, or $1,000,000 a year. You have to have something to show for your income because there’s a high likelihood your income will disappear or decline one day.
5) Why I’m Paying Down My Mortgage Early And Why You Should Too – There are a lot of benefits to paying down your mortgage. After this five year bull run, it’s a good idea to lock in some gains to pay down some debt and start fully owning your real assets.
6) If You Produce Nothing How Do You Expect To Make Any Money? – In order to make money, you’ve got to produce something. However, I’m learning that you can still make a lot of money just telling people what to do. I’ll write a fun post about this in the future.
7) How Much Do I Have To Make As An Entrepreneur Or Contractor To Replace My Day Job Income? – I put together a very detailed expense analysis for those who want to become contractors or entrepreneurs. Definitely read this post before you take the leap of faith.
8) Are You Smart Enough To Act Dumb Enough To Get Ahead? – You must choose your spots to showcase your skills and knowledge. I recommend acting a little dumb or aloof so you can more easily surprise on the upside. There’s a reason why it’s always good to give work to the busiest person in the room.
9) A Massive Generational Wealth Transfer Is Why Everything Will Be OK – No longer is hard work, risk taking, and sacrifice the only way to get rich anymore. Our parents have invested through the biggest bull market in history. Where do you think all that money goes?
10) Bankers, Doctors, And Techies: You’ll Never Get Rich Working For Someone Else – A sad look into the income and wealth potential of three high earning professions. Bankers, doctors, and techies will probably live comfortable lives if they remain employed, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever make the mega bucks.
TOP FIVE READ POSTS OVERALL
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!
NO LIMITS TO YOUR X FACTOR
Even though I give 2014 only a “B” letter grade in my personal review post, I’m proud that my enthusiasm for writing has not waned. In fact, I just told a friend during our outdoor annual hot tub strategy session in Lake Tahoe how much I still love blogging. Being able to read different perspectives from readers all over the world is amazing. Sharing my thoughts based on actual experience feels great. And discovering new opportunities due to this site is always exciting.
Thank you everyone for commenting, sharing, liking, pinning, e-mailing, tweeting, stumbling, redditing, and G+ing my posts all year. Social sharing is the biggest gift you can give me. I’ve worked hard to keep things educational and interesting all throughout the year. I also appreciate it when readers highlight the grammatical mistakes as well. Posts improve days after publication because I’m always adding to the content and correcting my errors.
Passive Income X Factor – Starting Your Own Site
It’s been over seven 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.
Updated for 2017 and beyond. Everybody should start a blog today!