If the story recounted below appears ripped straight from
a cheap banner ad, well, it is. Here's the apparent secret to blogging
riches: keep your head down, pump out a ridiculous number of posts, and
never, ever stop scribbling about Justin Bieber. That was the magical
formula behind the stunning success of the laid-off car dealership employee Jodi Jill,
who turned to toiling on The Examiner's
freelance content farm and somehow managed to reap $100,000 in her
first year. Her earnings, which surpass that of many full-time
journalists, were relayed to (and verified by) an impressed Edmund Lee at Advertising Age.
Her secret, it turns out, is a combination of shrewd topic selection (Bieber, Taylor Swift and Disney Land) and velocity (30 posts on some days—far outpacing us mere mortals at The Atlantic Wire). It also doesn't hurt that she loves writing about celebrities and has started to recognize the "little facts that aren't covered" by the majority of the media about the celebrities. Lee crunches the numbers and figures out how a hopeful content farmer could plausibly reach those heights:
A bit of back-of-the-envelope calculation shows it's entirely feasible. Assuming she brings in around $95,000 a year and that her base rate is in the midrange of around $3.50 for every thousand impressions, given that her beat -- entertainment -- is a semivaluable category, she's booking close to $1,800 for every 120 articles, or about $15 per article, which is a handsome though not unheard of rate in the blogging world. At $15 an article and an assumed CPM of $3.50, each post generates around 4,300 impressions, or over 500,000 page views a week -- all from a single contributor.A word of caution: Many forays into content farming appear to end like this.