How much do freelance copywriters charge?
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
As a business, you’ll be used to reading detailed price lists. And you’ll have an idea as to what most things are going to cost. Yet for copywriting, the picture can often be rather muddy. I’m going to clear some of that mud for you. So, bear with me.
The short answer to the question: “How much do freelance copywriters charge?”, is, it varies. Greatly. Because the quality can vary greatly too. It’s impossible to directly compare a night-owl writer from a content mill website to someone that has a huge amount of different industry experience, having made freelance copywriting their full-time career.
“You get what you pay for.”
“If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
What’s the value of good copy to you?
Before I delve into the nitty gritty, consider this. What do you want your copy to do? Increase your sales by 5%? Gain 50 sales leads this quarter? Heighten your business profile in a key market?
And how valuable is this goal to you, in terms of hard cash? £5,000; £50,000; more?
Great copy helps you to deliver your goals. Words are not enough to do this. Properly researched, well-thought-out creative copy is.
You need to consider the value of the copy you need. Cheaper copy is always possible to find. But its value to you might make it worthless.
Different ways freelance copywriters charge
You’ll not be surprised to know that the same copywriting project can be quoted many ways. That might be per word, per hour or per project.
It might be tempting to consider that per word is a great method. Especially if your needs are limited in length. I’ll forgive you for that mistake. There’s often more skill in writing less and ensuring it hits the spot. I’ve known times when brief copy takes longer to perfect than a few hundred words might. And what about the per-word copywriter that says it in 500 words when 20 will do?
Per hour is method number two. And to highlight the variability, you’ll easily find prices from £20 to £100 per hour. In fact, ProCopywriters suggests that the average day-rate for 2018 is £342 (with figures of up to £2,000 a day for a senior creative copywriter). To add some context, the average business consultant apparently charges £475 per day. And some, clearly a great deal more.
Back to hourly pricing. What if they’re just slow? A seasoned copywriter can use their years of skill to craft something that might take far longer for a copywriter just starting out. Who should get paid more? And who is more likely to deliver your value?
I could hazard a decent guess.
Like so many career copywriters, I’m a big fan of project pricing. You have a clear fee to expect. No nasty surprises. I ensure the fee includes all stages of the copywriting process; specific to your brief. And that is what I’ll explain next.
What will be included?
Wouldn’t it be lovely if freelance copywriters could just start typing away about your product or service, the minute you said “go”?
Back in the real world…
There’s a process to professional freelance copywriting. And whilst it can vary a little by project, the fundamentals remain the same. You wouldn’t build a house without initial research and a clear plan. Not even a website. It’s the same for copy.
So, here are the typical stages that might become part of your project:
1. Initial meeting or briefing
2. Numerous phone calls and emails
3. Review of your business
4. Further research into customers
5. Possible interviews
6. Competitor review
7. Planning the structure of the copy
8. If it’s web copy, keyword research (if requested)
9. Creative thought
12. Submission to client
13. Revisions and final sign off
I’ve highlighted point 10. That’s when we do the typing thing. Even with the simplest project, there’s work around the actual writing. And it all takes time, which must be factored into the copywriter’s fee.
How to find a great freelance copywriter to work with
OK, so this doesn’t answer our question of: “How much do freelance copywriters charge?”, but you need to find some copywriters to ask. And here’s how.
Of course, you can always make use of a content mill if you’ve got plenty of peanuts in your pocket. I’m not totally against content mills by the way. You’ll find some hidden gems in them. But that’s just it; they’re hidden.
Ask your network
Whether it’s LinkedIn or your local networking group, ask people you know for recommendations. And if it’s on LinkedIn, study their profile and see what others have said about them.
The Alliance of Commercial Copywriters (ProCopywriters) is a fantastic resource. I should know, as I’m one of their 600 or so copywriters. You’ll also find more advice on their website about how to find the right copywriter for you.
Talk to your shortlist
Get in touch with your chosen contacts. Dare I say it, pick up the phone. Do they have specific knowledge in your sector or the copywriting experience you need? How long have they been a copywriter? Can they supply examples of their work? Do you feel you could work with them?
You’ll find copywriters from many different backgrounds. The most common scenarios are those from a journalistic background and those from a commercial or marketing background. For commercial copywriting, I’d always hedge for someone with a marketing background. They can add further value in addition to copy, should you need it.
I hope I’ve helped to answer the question: “How much do freelance copywriters charge?” And I hope you’ll now appreciate there’s more to it than a simple figure, and that cost is not everything.
Could I be the copywriter you’re looking for? Why don’t you contact me and find out? I’m quite friendly really, and free to talk to…
Contact me on 01299 832161 or firstname.lastname@example.org