The World’s Newest and Oldest Professions Respond To The New Economy Part I

Part I: America’s Newest Profession

There are financial stories today on how the world’s oldest and newest professions are responding to current economic conditions. I’ll start with the newest (as readers are more likely to return for Part II if done in this order).  The Wall Street Journal reports on  America’s Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire:

In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers or firefighters.

Paid bloggers fit just about every definition of a microtrend: Their ranks have grown dramatically over the years, blogging is an important social and cultural movement that people care passionately about, and the number of people doing it for at least some income is approaching 1% of American adults.

The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income. That’s almost 2 million Americans getting paid by the word, the post, or the click — whether on their site or someone else’s.

Blogging is easy to get into, especially in a tough economy, but only a small percentage of bloggers make much money at this:

One out of three young people reports blogging, but bloggers who do it for a living successfully are 2% of bloggers overall. It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as “spokesbloggers” — paid by advertisers to blog about products. As a job with zero commuting, blogging could be one of the most environmentally friendly jobs around — but it can also be quite profitable. For sites at the top, the returns can be substantial. At some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post.

A handful even do quite well. “Pros who work for companies are typically paid $45,000 to $90,000 a year for their blogging. One percent make over $200,000. And they report long hours — 50 to 60 hours a week.”

Update: Can we believe these numbers from Mark Penn?

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