How much does a copywriter cost?
So you want to hire a professional copywriter. How much will it cost?
Copywriter costs vary depending on the type of work you are after, how much time you’d like to allocate to managing the writer and the quality and experience of the copy.
Generally content is charged per project or per hour. Many freelancers charge per word, however this is not ideal and I explain why below.
Copywriting for websites, search engines, social media posts and advertisements is critical to get right. Nowhere is concise, crisp copy more important and it could halve your CPM/CPC (advertisement costs) and significantly increase conversions and sales.
Sure anyone can write up a few lines telling people to “Buy This or “Do That” or “Look At Us”, but that’s “meh”. Good copy inspires. It connects with people’s emotional cortex, resonates and drives action. Good copywriting requires business acumen, audience empathy and lots of practice.
Expect to pay between AUD$100-150 for a good digital copywriter, usually – but not always – scaled on experience and ability.
Good journalism articles condense vast amounts of information from authoritative sources into clear, succinct packages of around 300-500 words.
The key is authoritative source: that being a professional or two on the subject matter or sourcing peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Wikipedia or johnsblog.com does not count.
Finding these resources forms a large part of the research process into understanding the topic, the brief, the angle and what questions or analysis will lead to meeting the desired outcomes. If done properly, the research process should consume around half the amount of time taken to produce a piece of quality content.
An experienced and capable journalist or content marketing agency will nail the brief, not need editing, re-briefing or revisions.
Expect to pay around AUD$350 to $400 per article.
Sure you can get it for less, however as an experienced editor and content marketer who has managed hundreds of freelancers over the years, trust me when I say if someone is doing it cheap, they are almost certainly forgoing the research and rushing the writing. Usually, in that case, the juice is not worth the squeeze.
There are cases where you might be tempted to have a writer simply pump out content; to slightly modify a press release or use other peoples’ work – with citations and links of course! This is unoriginal and usually not recommended unless the source being quoted is unattainable for comment and adds essential input. If you are doing that and are supplying all the resources that need to be rewritten, expect to pay for around two hours’ work.
Paying Per Word:
Consider that word count is generally not a good indication of what a piece of content is worth. As the famous saying goes: “I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.”
Writing more words is easier than condensing that same information into less. In today’s time-poor world, the latter is far more powerful, which is why paying per word is a strange way to price content.
That said, if you’re after a 3000 word white paper, there is clearly more work involved than a 500-word article.
Longer does not mean fluffier. Every word must still serve a purpose. There must be no wastage. In these cases, expect to pay per hour, between AUD$100 and $150 depending on the complexity of the topic – and therefore the ability of the writer. Sometimes a set price might be negotiated however the brief must be very clear or it may lead to frustration.
If it’s campaign copy you’re after, expect to pay for a campaign. That means developing a strategy. Just as a journalist must have deep understanding an article topic, so to must a copywriter understand your business.
Think about the 1948 De Beers advertising campaign “A Diamond is Forever“. Those four little words completely transformed the way people think about diamonds and you can bet they weren’t charged out per word and that they formed a part of a larger campaign.
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