What do you charge for website copy? What about blog articles? Do you charge per page or per word? How about a sales letter? What are your rates for those?
Those are typical questions for clients to ask a writer these days. Content is king, as every Internet marketing company will tell you, and I work with a lot of those companies. One of my Internet marketing clients suggested that I post my rates for various types of writing on my website. “It demonstrates transparency,” he said. That’s why he posts his rates for his different packages right on his website.
I had to think about that, primarily because I wasn’t charging the same rates equally across the board to my clients. I wasn’t even sure what rates to post. ‘Do other writers post their rates?’ I wondered.
As I began to browse other writers’ websites, I found some that did and some that didn’t. Most of the ones I found posting their rates were posting much higher rates that I was charging. However, upon further investigation, I noted that many of these freelance writers were not well-established freelancers, but pretty new to the game, just as I was. I decided they probably weren’t the ones I should be looking to for direction.
Since I was (and still am) in the process of building my reputation as a writer, both in my copywriting service and my more creative writing areas, I didn’t feel I wanted to box myself into specific rates. The rates I was willing to accept as a newbie with no experience are not the rates I was willing to accept 18 months later, with a strong portfolio behind me. But it isn’t just my ongoing growth as a writer that keeps me from establishing set rates for my writing; there is something more. It is the wide valuation that is placed upon writing services by the clients themselves that keeps me from posting set rates. This variation in valuation was demonstrated in amazing clarity recently through one of the brokerage services I work through.
I was accepted to write for three different clients through the brokerage. All three clients had requested approximately the same word counts for their articles and the same SEO specifications. The research needed for the articles also remained consistent in time requirements. The one big variable was the price each company was offering to pay for their articles. One company paid $30 per article, the next paid $75 per article and the third paid $90 per article.
This seemed a bit puzzling until I compared it with writing for magazines. When you have an article accepted for publication for a magazine, they don’t generally ask you what you charge per word or article. Instead, the publisher tells you what they will pay you, or will negotiate your rate. The rates you can expect from a local magazine, a trade magazine and a big name publication cover a very broad spectrum. Why is this?
Part of it may be the quality of writer the various publications require. For trade magazines, for instance, they are paying for your expertise in the trade, as well as your ability to communicate to their audience. A part of the difference though is just the size and quality of the audience.
This same principle can be applied to the variations in rates you can expect to receive for any type of writing, whether it is website copy, blog articles or white papers. So, by posting and charging set rates, a writer can actually be limited their earning potential.
I wish I could tell you there is an exact formula for determining how much each different client is willing to pay, but there isn’t, at least not to my knowledge. I did find a resource that discusses this subject of variable valuation, which I personally found helpful. It is a free e-book called “Breaking the Time Barrier – How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential” by Mike McDermott, the co-founder and CEO of Freshbooks, the online billing service. I would encourage you to check it out.
Quit limiting yourself to what you think you’re time is worth, or what you have posted as your rates, and start charging the value provided to your client, based on his perspective.
Kathleen Krueger is a full time freelance writer and poet from Minnesota. She is a regular contributor to several lifestyle magazines and also provides a variety of copywriting services. You can follow her blog at: http://living-listening-loving.blogspot.com.