Who Produces Content & Who Needs Content Producers?
When we recently googled “content producer” we found more than 70 job openings in the Manchester area alone. From ASDA to The LEGO Group, law firms and the BBC – all of these companies, organisations and agencies are looking for content producers/digital storytellers.
When you add all the job openings that don’t specifically mention content production but nevertheless require those skills, there are thousands of jobs open in this region. The people who handle communications for the police, cities, counties, school districts and all other public agencies must now have at least basic content production skills.
Hospitals and health care companies have discovered the necessity of hiring not only marketing and communications staff with subject-specific content production skills, but also staff who do their community outreach and education programmes. In fact, it is difficult to think of a single organisation or industry that doesn’t have a direct or indirect need to hire people who produce content.
Content drives the digital economy. Whether it’s for websites or social media platforms and used for sales, marketing, entertainment, education or advocacy – any entity that needs to engage effectively with the public must need to produce and “push out” content.
What’s Fueling The Global Growth Of Digital Content?
Firstly, some research statistics according to ResearchAndMarkets.com: In 2019, the Global Digital Content Market size was $167,370 Million and it is expected to reach $397,390 Million by the end of 2026, with a CAGR of 13% during forecast 2021-2026.
Increased adoption of digital content creation software applications is one of the key factors expected to drive the expansion of the digital content market. Also, the growing technological advances and product improvements to combine hardware with digital content software applications by manufacturers and software developers are expected to generate substantial business expansion opportunities for existing players.
The increase in mobile devices is expected to fuel the digital content creation market size. Smartphones and other mobile devices make it easier for consumers to access the internet and music & video content in one go.
Furthermore, the rising popularity of Over-The-Top (‘OTT’) media platforms with simplified payment options is also expected to boost the size of the digital content market. The e-commerce industry is witnessing spontaneous growth, which has added to the use of digital content to view their goods on-line images, videos and catalogues. The rise in the e-commerce segment, in particular is expected to continue impacting overall digital content market size.
In short, the demand for more content is unlikely to slow down any time soon. The content marketing world alone is a $44 billion industry, making content creator jobs abundant in just about any industry under the sun.
As Demand Soars, Salaries Lag Behind…
The demand for content creators has skyrocketed, with a 33% 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 optimisation, or SEO, which has seen a 43% jump.
That’s the result of a report released by the global marketing company Conductor, acquired by WeWork. Researchers at the company said the increase in jobs across the top 20 markets in the U.S. comes as online content replaces traditional advertising.
“The need for high-quality content is exploding,” said Brian Benton, a longtime WeWork member who runs his own content creation company, says companies have been requesting a wide variety of visual content, often for social media: “Companies are changing the way they think about content, which changes the type of work we’re doing for them.”
Although the number of jobs for content creators is increasing 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 during the pandemic.
The biggest drop came for SEO specialists, who saw a nearly 14% decrease in annual earnings. But at the other end of the scale, content directors saw a 13% increase in the average salary to $87.142; marketing directors also saw an increase of a little less than 1% to $105,727 per year.
At Conductor, Content Director Charity Stebbins’s team sifts through data from numerous online sources listing jobs in what the digital marketing industry terms “inbound marketing.” That includes jobs in content marketing, SEO, and paid advertising.
“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 said 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 realising that content that entertains or informs or provides solutions for their customers is more than just effective, it’s pretty much mandatory.”
Case in point: 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 well, 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% of content marketing jobs require SEO skills.
Freelancing & Flexi-Job Apprenticeships
If working for someone else isn’t your cup of tea as a creative content producer, rejoice. In fact, by 2020, up to 50% of the workforce will be self-employed but contributing more than £51 billion to the economy, says PeoplePerHour founder, Xenios Thrasyvoulou. This is obviously great news. But we believe that number could go even higher since there are now countless ways to create a minimum viable product for solopreneurs and freelancers.
Not to mention the proposed £7 million fund in the UK to create and test new “flexi-job apprenticeships” which are intended to help skills providers to align training with the needs of sectors that have more flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, including agriculture, construction and creative sectors including TV, film and theatre production.
Given that freelancing and short term contracts often prime the mind for self-employment, flexi-job apprenticeships could potentially strengthen the growth of freelancing and the gig economy by giving independent creators the business skills they need to thrive.
Further evidence that the demand for digital storytelling and content production will only increase is that many children who grew up on digital content will have reached adulthood by 2020. (It’s only fair to point out that this is also the generation who taught us not to be ashamed of bingeing!)
Bingeing on TV, podcasts, videos, games, and social media, that is. You name it. We want it. And we want it in an endless variety of ways. Digital content delivery makes the satisfaction of even the most peculiar tastes possible. Look no further than the self-publishing industry to see an illustration of this; Only in a digital-first economy could a book called How to Drink Your Own Urine get two five-star reviews.
How Skills Providers Can Fill The Content Skills Gap?
While there is strong demand for digital marketing programmes on both the training provider and learner sides, digital marketing refers to a broad range of tools, channels and tactics designed to create brand awareness and name recognition for brands. Whereas content production and content marketing fit under the umbrella of digital marketing but are, in fact, distinct skill sets.
The Digital Marketer L3 standard does not go through the process of developing content in quite the same depth and detail as the lesser-known (but increasingly popular) Junior Content Producer L3 standard. The latter teaches defining a brand’s voice, video marketing and audio/podcast design skills, developing an editorial calendar, learning to write for different channels and audiences, copywriting, and more.
In a nutshell, if one needs to produce great content that makes people aware of your brand/product/service and drives customer acquisition and retention, a programme focused on content production is a wise choice.
Of course, the ultimate solution is to deliver both digital marketer and junior content producer, as several of the training providers we’ve worked with have opted to do.
Because determining what standard is best for your organisation or customer and your budget can be a challenge though, we’re here to support you in making that decision and can run a free skills scan. Just reach out here.
Above All, Remember…
Digital content creators of all kinds have software engineers to thank for their success. Long live the software engineer. Long live content producers!