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The Wall Street Journal deconstructed the job of "Blogger" in its "Paygrade" section yesterday, under Blogging for Web Sites. The Journal got some things right, namely....



  1. Full-time news bloggers work like dogs. Mario Lavandeira, author of the Hollywood gossip blog PerezHilton.com, says he averages 19-hour workdays that start at 5:15 a.m.

  2. Blogging is an obsession. Quoting Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine.com: "Blogging is an obsession. The guilt that piles up when I'm too busy to write a post is the worst."

  3. Bloggers can work in their feety pajamas and set their own hours, like Joel Cheesman of Cheezhead.com.

  4. And finally, self-employed bloggers must secure their own healthcare packages. (Although, to quote Homer Simpson here: "D'oh!")


Other things are oddly exclusionary, suggest ridiculous readership and revenue goals, and seem completely out of touch with much of the blogosphere. Here are some WSJ outtakes, with my comments, below:
THE PAY: Most self-employed bloggers take in between $2,000 and $10,000 a month from ad sales, says Henry Copeland, founder of BlogAds.com, a Web advertising concern based in Carrboro, N.C. The few that have huge audiences make significantly more, he adds. During election time, for example, a political blogger can bring in $20,000 to $30,000 a month, says Ken Layne, West Coast bureau chief for Wonkette.com, a political gossip blog owned by Gawker Media. Some bloggers are employed by companies, but they are often part of the marketing department, and blogging is usually only a small part of their duties."

Reality check: My issue is with the subject modifier in the first sentence. "Most bloggers take in $2,000 to $10,000 a month from ad sales..." Most? It should read "some" or "a few," because a minority of lucky self-employed bloggers rake in that kind of cash.
The WSJ fails to point out that $2,000-10,000/month is far from the norm. Most bloggers I know have bigger hearts than wallets -- in that they blog more for love than money -- and they often have other agendas, too. Like (but not limited to) visibility, intellectual stimulation, and other, less tangible reasons.
OTHER INCENTIVES: Mr. Lavandeira, who is based in Los Angeles, says he is frequently invited to events hosted or attended by celebrities. Jim Cahill, manager of marketing communications at Emerson Process Management, a global supplier of manufacturing systems and services in Austin, Texas, cites positive feedback from readers and being quoted in the business press.

Reality check: The WSJ loosely groups these two things as "incentives," but really... is licking margarita salt off of Paris Hilton's perfectly taut stomach in the same league as a manufacturing manager's being in tune with suppliers and customers, and scoring the occasional quote in a trade rag? Perhaps I'm splitting editorial hairs here, but the journalist in me sees the former as a fringe benefit, and another as a blogging cornerstone.
Weirdest of all:
CAREER PATH: Most bloggers start out using free Web sites such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com. They say it takes at least six months to build readership and clout in the blogosphere.

Reality check: Start out? Many bloggers I know still use WordPress and Blogger. But wait a sec... Is there some shame in using these platforms? Am I missing something? Why do I suddenly feel like the blogging equivalent of a teenage driver showing up in the high school parking lot in his Dad's station wagon?
Worse: "...six months to build readership and clout"? For some lucky souls, maybe. (Although -- and I'm wracking my brain -- I certainly don't know any I can link to here.) Most of the most successful bloggers I know have been digging in the blogging salt mines for several years already.
Don't get me wrong. Blogging has many virtues. But easy money and vast pools of eager readers aren't two of them. (Like with any publishing venture, you still have to grow your audience one reader at a time.)
That said, what do I know? Maybe I'm not kicking over the right rocks. My final comment to the "Paygrade" Blogger profile: Where can I apply?
(Many thanks to Laurel Delaney for the link.)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ann Handley

Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author who speaks worldwide about how businesses can escape marketing mediocrity to ignite tangible results. IBM named her one of the 7 people shaping modern marketing. She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, a LinkedIn Influencer, a keynote speaker, mom, dog person, and writer.