A few months ago, I received an email from an Internet company that provides ghost blogging services. The pitch was sound: increase your SEO and improve your website by consistently blogging, but get blogging off your “to-do” list by outsourcing it with their company.
Sounds good, right? But the price of the service gave me pause — not because it was too high, but because it was astonishingly low.
Curious, I went to their website and did a little clicking around. It turns out that their writers work on spec. In other words, they write the posts, but only get paid when (and if) the posts are accepted. They work in the hope that they will be paid for that work.
First, I do not suggest writers work on spec. Next, based solely on the price point for a month’s worth of blog posts, those writers were not being paid very much when their articles were accepted.
The service is clearly not a very good deal for the writers, but is it a good deal for you as a business owner when you get copy written at such a steal?
Of course, as a professional, I am biased, but regardless, I say “no.”
Quality content costs more.
Recently, on a webinar, Sonia Simone of Copyblogger responded to a question about pricing by saying that a single outsourced blog post might cost a business owner anywhere from $25 to $200 — but the difference between the low and high end of that range would be in the quality of the work. In fact, you can get blog posts written on sites like Fiverr for as little as $5.
And you’ll get exactly what you pay for. As Warren Buffet said “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
It’s true that there are exceptions to the old “you get what you pay for” rule. You might be lucky enough to find a student, a mom working from home, or someone just starting out who is a talented copywriter and charges incredible rates. If so, hold on to them, praise them and give them a bonus now and then!
However, be ready for their prices to go up as:
- They get more experience.
- Their clients come to realize that they are good at what they do.
- They gain notoriety and become more in demand.
An experienced copywriter is an investment.
Many business owners would agree that investing in quality equipment upfront is a good business practice. Whether you’re buying a machine to produce your widgets or computers for your employees to use, you don’t want the cut-rate version that requires constant repair and downtime.
Likewise, the copy for your website, marketing materials, blogs, and so on is also an investment in your business. Quality copy does so much more for your business than just throwing any old words out there and hoping for the best.
“Writing … when you have no talent at written persuasion is a false economy (i.e. saving money in the wrong way) … .Using an amateur because you don’t want to pay for a pro, even though one is needed, is not a way to save your money.” -Jay Conrad Levinson
If you want a copywriter that is not only a talented wordsmith, but really understands marketing, keep in mind that this comes as a result of much time, experience and knowledge. A skilled professional like this is priceless.
So, how much should you pay for copywriting?
The only answer here is that you should pay what you can afford in order to reach your ultimate goals.
An eBook on content marketing from Internet marketing giant Kapost reports that marketers for a mid-sized business should plan to pay at least $1290 per month for blog posts (approx. two per week) from a reputable freelancer and $2,500 per month for a premium content piece (i.e. eBook, white paper, etc.).
Larger businesses pay at least $1720/month for blogs (approx. 2 posts per week) and $3,500/month for premium content.
Consider the following 5 questions when determining how much to invest in your copy:
1. What’s the scope of your project? How much copy do you need? If you’re looking for a high volume of copy (i.e. a brochure, Web site content, sales page, and email messages) or consistent copy over a long period of time (i.e. several blog posts each month), you might be able to negotiate a better rate in exchange for a pre-determined amount of work.
2. How quickly do you need it? If you are in a hurry, you should expect your costs to go up. Most writers ask for a rush or accommodation fee for last-minute projects (i.e. I ask for it when a less than 72-hour turn around is requested).
3. How sophisticated is your topic? You should also expect to pay more if your topic requires a good deal of expertise and research. Someone who already has knowledge in your field or is ready, willing and able to put in the time to do the required research is worth paying for, as they’ll save you valuable time in the long run.
4. Do you need images? Do you need technical skills? A freelancer who will find or create images to go with the copy deserves appropriate compensation. In addition, the same applies if you want someone who has the technical skills to post the copy to your website or blog.
5. Do you want an experienced copywriter? My mentor, a seasoned direct response copywriter, earned $40,000 for direct mail packages he wrote for one of his clients. Many professionals are paid $5,000 and more to write online sales page content. Having been in business for more than two decades, the investment you’ll make for my services is more than if you hire a “newbie” who is just getting started and seeking to build their portfolio.
When you want content that supports your business, drives sales, increases your bottom line, and builds your good reputation (all things that excellent copy can do), you should be ready and willing to invest accordingly.
I know pricing can be a sensitive topic, so I’d like to open it up to (courteous) discussion in the comments. Are you willing to compensate a professional accordingly for creating quality content that represents your business in its best light? Please share your thoughts below because I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks and here’s to your sweet success.
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