If a recent survey is anything to go by, blogging for dollars is not a way to instant wealth. Perhaps not even to long term wealth. Except for a few: there are exceptions to every rule.

On ReadWriteWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick reports on a survey he undertook with a fairly small group of top “tech bloggers and social media consultants” – twenty invited, ten participated.

The results are summarized under three headings:

Payment Per Blog Post

– based on responses and assuming an average of 3 blog posts in 4 hours at $25 per post, he posits a blogger with two part-time blogging jobs earning $40,000 a year

The Wages of the In-House/Full-time Blogger

– reports of annual pay from $45k with benefits to $90k with bonuses, 50-60 hour work weeks, so most making the equivalent of $20-$35 an hour, with a handful making six figures

Consulting – The Big Money

– social media consultants reported hourly rates not less than $150, commonly $300 an hour

None of that surprised me, but I did find it helpful.

And being in the business of helping companies with social media and coaching executives and entrepreneurs in the use of social media, I was encouraged by the author’s bullish view of the market.

It’s a new world online and people with experience succeeding in it are widely sought-after by businesses wanting to catch up fast. There’s a nearly bottomless need for and a strong demand for high-quality social media consulting – the big challenge is bridging the gap between living a Web 2.0 life and reaching out effectively to people.

John Chow points out that the bloggers surveyed are writing for others’ blogs, not their own.

Allan Stern does some  debunking of the survey (and Marshall replies in the comments).

From where I sit, there is a dearth of data on what bloggers and social media consultants earn. I believe Marshall’s survey, even with the limitations which he readily acknowledges, is a helpful contribution.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).