This Is How Much Bloggers Get Paid?

The question on everyone’s mind is How much does a blogger make? Folks ask me this all the time, not in so many words, but they ask with their awkward phrasing.

So, you’re a mommy blogger? Is that a hobby?

Or

When you say “work” what is it that you mean, exactly?

Every so often people will up and ask, “Can you make a living doing that?”

The answer is yes and no. Like any salary survey, bloggers will be deliberately vague. With most ad networks I’m seeing bloggers in my niche (parenting) making anywhere from $.20 to $20.00 CPM (CPM essentially means per 1,000 impressions). Now, if you factor in that a blog may have multiple ad spots on a page, this can be a nice living, or it can be crap. Assume that it’s crap.

The real money is made when a blogger partners with someone else. Sometimes they will be a brand spokesperson, sometimes they will have twitter parties, sometimes they will have live events, and there is absolutely no end to what brands and bloggers can concoct as revenue streams. If a blogger is talking sweetly about a brand, assume they are getting paid. These payments can range from $1 for a sponsored tweet to tens of thousands of dollars for events. Sadly, bloggers in my niche can be found tweeting for a branded hackeysac. I like to hold out for cupcakes.

If you’ve made it this far, you realize that I’m being vague. It’s deliberate, and it’s unlikely that I’ll ever tell you about my paycheck for a job I’ve taken. However, I had a job offer so fantastic that I absolutely must share it with you, this way you’ll get a sense of just how much money a blogger makes.

Before I begin this story I want to make two things perfectly clear. Firstly, before you have a conversation with me, or with anyone like me fax over an NDA. At a minimum send an email saying you want to have a confidential conversation. Posts like this do not happen with an NDA (or anything written) in place. Secondly, I will never tell you which television network this is. I will neither confirm, nor deny. If they don’t self identify in the comments no one will ever know.

Last week I got a phone call from a television network asking me if I was available to help them with their site. Blogging for a TV network? Sure. I had a nice conversation with the guy, who had clearly read at least one of my most recent posts, but likely no more than that (which is totally okay, just don’t lie and say you did) one. When he said, “how’s that arthritis going?” I knew I was in TV land.

He told me that their network had streamlined, they no longer have multiple weathermen in the same region, but that they wanted to launch a group of local sites, and they needed help launching their Los Angeles family site.

Perfect. This is my perfect job.

Then they showed me what they’d already done in another metropolis. Crap. Absolute crap. There was no thought given to SEO to SEM , and the writing was an affront to anyone who loves language. I knew I could do better. Had I used a little foresight, I’d have known to hop off the call immediately.

The TV caller had asked me if I could preload a site with about thirty posts, they would supply a few broad topics, and someone else would provide the clipart and upload to wordpress. I said I’d need about a half dozen women to do that well, and I’m pretty sure I could do it within a week.

I contacted a half dozen women in LA and asked them if they were available for a short turnaround post (or five), all of them said yes. I was ready for phone call number two.

Phone call number two came from a more executivey executive, who blew less sunshine up my ass, but was much more clear on what he needed. I explained to him how I could do the job, how I could do the job well, and I let him know loud and clear that I brought expertise to the job that few others would share.

So he offered me the job.

I was offered $1,000 to get a site loaded in twenty days. I was also supposed to be in charge of payroll for the six women who would get $50 a post (not part of my $1,000).

To be very clear, they were prepared to spend $50 a post, and buy thirty posts for a total of $1,500. Then they wanted to pay someone $1,000 to edit the posts, optimize them for SEO and administer a payroll system to the writers.

If I lived in a part of the country where a mortgage was $300 this might be appealing, but this is Los Angeles.

Here’s the kicker. I told the second (less Hollywood-y) executive that I’d need at least three times that amount to get the work done right, and he said they’d let me know pretty quickly. Within 24 hours.

Six hours later they emailed my friend. One of my friends who I’d asked to write for this project.

24 hours later they emailed another friend. She got them up a few dollars, but only a few.

So, if you’re looking for very real numbers about what bloggers make I can tell you this. Someone will work for $1,000 a month, lend their name to a project, run a payroll system, attempt basic SEO and SEM. Bloggers will write for the right sites at the rate of $50 a post (and frankly I think that’s just fine if it’s a no-research post), and television networks should really think about hiring someone within the space before launching a local site.

I absolutely would be delighted to be that person, but not at $1,000 a month.

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