Why Every Company Should Hire A Blogger For $200,000 A Year Thumbnail

There’s something going on in the corporate world that I’m not sure many of you are aware of. Harvard Business Review calls it, “The Content Marketing Revolution,” while Ari Levy from CNBC writes a great report encouraging firms to “Hire More Writers If You Want To Rank Higher On Google.” In essence, corporations of all sizes are beginning to spend A LOT of money on content marketing. There is now the newest C-level title of “Chief Content Officer” floating around Silicon Valley as companies are beginning to understand the power of story-telling, community building, SEO, social media, and ROI focused marketers.

For the longest time, I couldn’t find any other industry that paid as well as the finance industry. For example, first year analysts out of college are now earning $80,000 base salaries plus a bonus in finance. When I left Wall Street in 2012, Directors (one level above VP) were making $250,000 base salaries plus bonuses that could easily equal a full year’s salary or more. It was only a full year after I left the finance industry that I truly appreciated how good the compensation was.

All the tech jobs I was interested in after leaving finance “only” paid between $80,000 – $160,000 full-time plus stock options, which are a complete crapshoot. Those figures might sound like a lot to some who are not living in expensive San Francisco or Manhattan, but I can assure you that $80,000 – $160,000 is squarely middle class with real estate prices costing so much.

Given the compensation packages, I figured I might as well focus on my online media efforts instead of working for much less compensation in a new industry. But after I learned how much Chief Content Officers make at large companies, from talking to various industry people and after spending a full year consulting for a startup, I’ve come to realize that once again bloggers have another fantastic opportunity!

How Does $200,000 – $300,000 A Year + Stock Options Sound?

Chief Content Officers make $200,000 – $300,000 a year in base salary and have close to an equivalent salary amount worth of stock options that vests over four or five years. In other words, you can have a base salary of $300,000, and options with an embedded value worth $300,000 that vests in $60,000 increments over five years. This type of compensation is definitely enticing enough for most full-time bloggers to give up their lives of freedom to venture back into the corporate world, don’t you think? And it’s not just the money either, but the ability to have a C-level leadership role and affect positive change in an organization that is quite meaningful.

What you’ll notice as you get older is that your options for work become more limited because you don’t want to go backwards in your career. The more you make, the less opportunities are available. As a consultant, I’ve got a lot of flexibility to work on projects I enjoy, without the long-term responsibility that tends to put more pressure on full-time employees. I also don’t get annoyed as much if the company decides to go in a different direction than what I advise. But I also don’t get to go 110% all-in either, which is what I tend to do. I’ve been searching for an equivalent role to my finance job in the media industry and I believe I’ve finally found one.


1) Bloggers produce. During the 2000 dotcom bubble, the people who got laid off the most were the Managing Directors who only managed and didn’t cover clients. Those who survived immediately started associating themselves with revenue streams in order to protect themselves during the next cyclical downturn. Bloggers are producers. We write content, create graphs, curate interesting work, and assemble them into working posts for others to consume. We know how to create Whale Posts that trump all others.

For 5.5 years I’ve consistently produced three to four posts a week on Financial Samurai without fail. The result is the creation of a recognizable brand in the finance space that brings in a large perpetual flow of traffic. Many other bloggers consistently produce original content and have seen tremendous windfalls as a result. 

2) Bloggers manage the editorial calendar like a maestro. A large part of the Chief Content Officer’s role is to manage the editorial calendar and come up with upcoming topics and posts that will engage the clientele. I’ve sat in on hours of brainstorming meetings with many people about what’s next on the editorial calendar. It’s an interesting process that takes a lot of time. Bloggers are able to adeptly think about seasonality because we’ve got so much experience from previous years producing content and engaging with our readers.

We understand seasonal online traffic patterns and what readers look for in every single month of the year because I’ve been producing content and analyzing traffic patterns for almost six years. I can answer what topics work best between June-August, and what works terribly in April and November, for example. It’s very easy to transfer our traffic analytics knowledge to a corporation with XYZ objectives.

3) Bloggers know how to edit in different ways. Bloggers not only write content, bloggers also know how to edit content in order to make it sing. A lot of bloggers employ staff writers to help fill their content calendar. A blogger will assign, edit, and publish content. Many editors in traditional media organizations (not blogs) only tend to edit and advise. And when you ask them to write any content, they balk, as if it is beyond them or as if they are too afraid to try. It’s very strange. I’ve concluded writing is a skill that not everybody has.

Although I do not employ staff writers for Financial Samurai, I do employ staff writers for my consulting job as a Managing Editor. It takes good management skills to consistently come up with topics with the writers, edit, maintain enthusiasm, and keep the process going. I’ve edited many guest posts on Financial Samurai before. One of the latest ones, “Confessions Of A Spoiled Rich Kid” ended up blowing up with over 10,000 e-mail shares. 

4) Bloggers understand social media and community building. Building a community is one of the most important aspects of blogging. A fervent community creates evangelists for your product and brand. They tell friends, who tell their friends, who tell other friends. Bloggers understand that spending money promoting products or our writing on Social Media is an anathema to the purpose of Social Media – a place where people can connect in a genuine way. As a result, bloggers know of better social media marketing tactics that piss off less users and connect better.

The weirdest thing I’ve come across is Chief Content Officers with no social media following. How are you going to be the head of social media if you’re not on Facebook, Twitter, G+? You won’t even know how to use the platforms to begin with. If you are on Twitter and have the average 200 followers, how do know what it takes to build a Twitter following? Just joining a massive firm with a huge following doesn’t make you an expert. I spend hours every week responding to comments from my entire 1,000 portfolio of posts. I believe that at least 20% of the people I respond to will appreciate the response and sign up to follow my site. Over time, these percentages add up and a small army of loyal followers is created. Take a look at the Comment Commentary Post System as a way to generate more engagement. 

5) Bloggers understand SEO. Bloggers understand all the SEO tactics around: black hat, gray hat, and white hat. We’ve seen multiple cycles of Google Panda and Penguin updates over the past three years and know what things Google likes and doesn’t like. After each change, such as the Exact Match Domain change, bloggers end up devouring content from the SEO industry, and other bloggers who’ve been hit, to understand what happened. Bloggers realize that there is this whole SEO industry out there that is trying to game Google.

It’s interesting to see companies hire “SEO Experts” for tens of thousands of dollars, who have NEVER built an awesome site generating perpetual traffic due to SEO. Think about this for a minute. How can you be an SEO expert if you don’t have a working example of a site that is doing well due to search? Making money passively through search is the holy grail of online marketing and blogging. Why would you try and trade your time for money as an SEO Expert when you can just make money passively from your website? 

A lot of executives at firms have been convinced by the SEO industry that they need to pay money for SEO. Executives believe that an SEO will somehow magically make everybody go to their site after doing some meta data tag changes. Beyond basic SEO, the most important thing one can do is produce content. There is no better SEO Expert than a blogger who is able to garner at least 50% of traffic from SEO and make an outsized income because of their SEO traffic. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Take a look at what the SEO industries earns to come up with your own conclusion. 

6) Bloggers have created something from nothing. Creating something from the ground up is the bigger reason why bloggers make the best Chief Content Officers. Through initiative, creativity, confidence, perseverance, and sheer hard work, successful bloggers have been able to create a presence online with their own two hands. Bloggers are not free-riding someone else’s success or some organization’s success to then tout their own success. Bloggers generally start with nothing. There’s no installed base of a million organic readers and a hundred thousand Twitter followers by joining XYZ media publication.

The greatest satisfaction is creating something on your own and seeing it grow. There was no such word “Yakezie” before 2010. Now if you Google “Yakezie” you’ll get over 100,000 pertinent results. Hiring a blogger as a Chief Content Officer means that you are hiring a self-starter with the experience and confidence to make a company’s presence grow. Bloggers have generally grown 100% organically. But if you can combine a blogger’s expertise in organic growth with marketing dollars, there’s a great possibility of creating something amazing. 

7) Bloggers are business people who understand analytics and ROI. Professional bloggers are most aware of ROI. Some take it to the extreme by hiring ghost writers and staffer writers and virtual assistants so they hardly have to do any work. They just tell people what to do, which is what most CCOs currently are doing, except for the fact that most CCOs haven’t created anything from the ground up. Professional bloggers understand what type of content converts, what headlines attract readers, and how much sales/conversion content is too much. Because bloggers have a deep understand of their community, they are able to adeptly produce content that generates revenue without burning their readership out.

I love the business aspect of blogging, but I also love to write. If I don’t write for a while, I start to get antsy. It’s a hobby of mine to spend time analyzing traffic patterns, revenue streams based on traffic patterns, and other revenue streams. A/B testing is part of a professional blogger’s DNA. Check out this post on When You Should Quit Your Day Job To Become A Full-Time Blogger.  


Now that you’re thoroughly convinced that hiring someone who actually lives, breathes, and does exactly what you want is the person to hire, there’s only one problem with trying to hire a blogger to become your next CCO. The more successful the blogger, the more unlikely s/he will want to join your firm because s/he will already be earning a good amount of money with a tremendous amount of freedom.

Let’s say a company wants to hire a blogger who is generating $30,000 a month in income with her 400,000 visitors a month. She’s working 20 hours a week and loves to travel for three months a year with her family. It’s going to be practically impossible to hire such a blogger if you don’t give her at least a six figure salary + options + autonomy.

Money is probably not the greatest attraction for the blogger since she’s already earning a lot. The ability to meet new people, be a part of something she believes in, learn new things in the digital marketing/corporate content world, and being able to make a difference are the most alluring attributes for joining.

Four Things Bloggers Desire Most In Order Of Importance

1) Autonomy. Successful bloggers are used to coming up with an idea and executing. The corporation must give the blogger enough leeway to do what he or she is most adept at doing, which is creating interesting content that generates interest. There’s a great deal of trust involved with autonomy. After allowing the blogger to understand the company’s culture, operations, and objections, it’s important for the company to let the blogger create freely. Do not clip a blogger’s wings, unless you have great experience creating something from nothing as well. Bloggers will sour on taking orders from someone who isn’t an expert in content creation.

2) Respect. The media world is slowly starting to respect bloggers who’ve created a business on their own. If you can control the entire business vertical, you are a King or Queen in media. But even though successful bloggers make multiples more than successful journalists, respect still goes mostly towards journalists who source experts and breaks stories. Not getting the same respect as journalists we hire to write our stories is our chip on our shoulder. Bloggers want to prove to the world that their skills are valuable and can help make others blow up online as well.

3) The ability to make a difference. Given bloggers are so creative and ROI focused, we feel inept when something we produce does not get the attention or results we desire. As a result, we try and try again through testing. If bloggers don’t feel like we’re making a difference and getting recognized for our efforts, we will eventually succumb to the Matrix and then realize it’s not worth trading our time for dollars any longer. We must constantly be challenged by smart people who know what they are talking about.

4) Fair compensation. Everybody loves money to varying degrees. A blogger realizes she will not get rich off a salary working for a company. The blogger probably also makes more money blogging than if she were to become the CCO of a company at current income levels. Hence, the only desire for the blogger is to be fairly compensated. Fair compensation is hard to determine because how much do you pay a blogger who is the SEO, Analytics, Editor, and Content Creator all in one? Stock options go a long way to getting a blogger on board because it shows a lot of trust and respect both ways.


There are billions of dollars at stake for companies looking to establish a brand and generate leads online. It is imperative that companies hire the right Chief Content Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, or VP of Marketing. If you want to hire a person who has intimate knowledge of building a brand and generating leads from nothing, you should hire a successful blogger who has already been a Chief Content Officer or Chief Marketing Officer for his or her own site for years.

If you are a startup that just raised $5 million in Series A funding and have no revenue because you have no clients, spending $200,000 for a person who can raise awareness about your product to build the top of the funnel is crucial. Your company will die without any revenue because your investors will not want to invest any more money at a higher valuation if you don’t produce or gain traction.

If you are an established company who spends millions a month on marketing, spending $200,000 – $300,000 a year for a blogger CMO who can help you better channel your marketing dollars for the best ROI is extremely valuable. His or her role can easily save you way more than the blogger will cost – perhaps savings in the millions, depending on your budget.

And to bloggers, I say don’t give up! I’m bullish on blogging because no longer do people want to just read the news. People want to read the news from people who have actual experience and authority about the content. So many good things tend to happen when you just keep going. Your small site might grow into a big site one day. Your big site might attract some interesting people you end up becoming life-long friends with. Your site might even attract the attention of companies looking to pay you a handsome salary to become their next CCO. Never stop trying for what you believe in.


I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, creating, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, learn how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes like this one. 

Leverage the 3+ billion internet users and build your brand online. There are professional bloggers now who make way more than bankers, doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs while having much more fun, much more freedom, and doing less work. Get started. You never know where the journey will take you!

Updated for 2017 and beyond.