Knowing the right content writing rates to pay for a piece of content, a content marketing project, content strategy, or any of the services a content writer offers, can be tough.
It becomes tougher if you’re a new business owner looking to leverage the benefits of content marketing, but has a minimal budget.
Striking a balance between quantity and quality is a priority but you’re overwhelmed by the number of content writers and the range of content writing rates out there.
If you’re anything like the person described above, then you must have asked yourself any of the following questions;
- What does a good content writing service cost?
- How much does great SEO content cost?
- How much should I pay for a blog post service?
- How much do freelance writers make per article?
- What is the going rate for content writers?
- How much do content marketing services cost this year?
- And so many other questions involving quality and cost.
Any of these questions will lead you to one conclusion;
Content Writing Rates cut across a wide price range.
This article explains why it’s difficult to know the right price to pay for content writing services and how to hire the ideal content writing partner.
First Things First – Striking a Balance between Quality and Quantity
The need for content writers has been on a constant increase since the start of the internet age which ushered in digital marketing.
Several businesses are looking to take their business online and this sure requires a great level of content writing and marketing weightlifting.
This high demand for content writing services led to a simultaneous increase in the number of content writers out there.
Two groups emerged from all these;
- A group competing for quality and
- The second group competing for quantity and pricing
While writers who understand their value charge more, many others compete for the highest volume of content developed, within a short time for a much lesser amount.
The question remains – How do you strike a balance between Quality and Quantity?
How do you get the best content with your budget?
A Reason for Content Writing Rates’ Wide Range – Diverse Models for Hiring Content Writing Service.
When hiring content writing services for your website or blog, there are four major models to consider;
- Hiring a Freelancer from their Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
- Working with a Content Writing Agency
- Employing an In-House Content Writer
- Hiring from a Content Mill/Freelance Platform
The model you decide to work with impacts the content marketing writing rates you pay.
Hiring a Freelancer from their Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc
Hiring a freelance content writer via their website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc is an option you can take when looking to hire a content writer.
Freelance writers can help you with single pages of content, several blog posts, web pages, an entire content writing project, and ongoing long-term projects.
Depending on the freelance content writer, you may have to pay per word, per project, per hour, etc (How writers charge will be explained in a later section)
As a startup, MSME, or person looking to fulfill an instant content need, hiring a freelance is likely the best way to go.
They can serve as your marketing department extension – someone you can rely on to help you with content whenever you want.
Freelance content writing rates can range from $5 to $1000 depending on many factors.
Always get an estimate before you start your project with a freelance writer.
One of the upsides of hiring a freelance copywriter is that when you get a good one, they can offer you a personalized service.
I always recommend you develop a relationship with your writer if they’re the right fit for you. That way, they’ll be a part of your business and help you in achieving your content marketing goals easily.
Getting the right freelance copywriter can be challenging especially if you’re new to hiring content writers.
However, you don’t have to worry, I have some tips in later sections on how to hire the right freelance writer for you.
Working with a Content Writing Agency
The second option when hiring content writing services is working with a content marketing agency or a digital marketing agency that offers content writing services.
Most content agencies will charge you a monthly retainer fee while others might discuss with you to find out what works best for your situation.
A good number of digital/content marketing agencies charge higher amounts for content.
Furthermore, there is a high chance they will outsource your content to a freelancer they work with.
This is the major drawback to working with an agency (besides the high price of course).
This means you’re paying the normal pay rate for freelance content writers plus whatever the agency adds.
The good side is that the agency saves you the stress involved in interviewing and hiring a great content writer.
Myself, I work with and have worked with some marketing agencies, so I understand how the process works.
Employing an In-House Content Writer
This involves employing an in-house content writer to write the different pieces of content your business might need.
This means you’ll hire a content writer or a team of content writers which you’ll need to keep on a weekly/monthly salary.
This is however ideal for large-scale businesses and marketing agencies who wish to stay above their competitors.
If you’re an MSME, this might not be a good option for you, unless you have a frequent need for content.
Hiring from a Content Mill/Freelance Platform
This is probably the most popular way persons hire content writers to write for them.
These freelance platforms and content mills like PPH, Upwork, Fiverr, etc generate lots of millions of words at ‘very affordable rates.’
They’re affordable and the platform has done the weightlifting by making the writers available for you.
Also, the platform makes it almost impossible for you to get scammed. So you can discuss with your ideal freelancer and use the platform as an escrow.
The downside is that in a bid to have enough writers available and meet up with the affordability promised, these platforms recruit a great number of amateur content writers.
It becomes hard to differentiate between quality and otherwise.
Furthermore, to get more projects on these platforms, most of the writers compete on quantity and pricing.
If you’re looking to get more of quality than quantity, it would be hard to get someone that’ll give you these. (Unless you do your research or use the platform only as an escrow to work with someone you met off-platform).
Content Writing Rates’ Wide Range – Determinant Factors
Knowing the right content writing costs to pay your content writer is difficult because there is no fixed cost and there are several factors affecting content writing services pricing.
These factors that affect pricing for content writing services divide content writing rates into different types.
No matter the model you work with while hiring writing services, these content writing rate types play a crucial role.
Types of Content Writing Rates
- Charging by Writer’s Level of Experience
- Charging by Background of Content Writer/ Your Business Niche
- Charging By Word Count
- Charging by Hourly Rate
- Charging per Page
- Charging per Project (Flat Rate)
- Retainer Fee
Charging by Writer’s Level of Experience
Content writers charge by the level of experience.
Writers with more years of experience typically charge higher average content writing rates than persons with fewer years of experience.
Note that cost doesn’t always translate to quality, because, years in an industry don’t always translate to industry experience.
Besides, there are other factors to consider.
While looking out for an experienced writer, I recommend you interview them to understand whether they’re a good fit for your project.
Charging by Background of Content Writer/Your Business Niche
All content is not created equal. In that same way, all niches are not equal when it comes to content writing.
Some niches require special knowledge, background experience, and a considerable understanding of the industry.
Take the medical, cryptocurrency, legal, and travel niches for instance.
Writing content for these industries takes some specialities that generalist content writers don’t possess.
Niche-specific content writers typically charge higher content writing rates per project.
Charging By Word Count
The estimated word count of your project determines the writing rates you’ll pay.
How much you pay per word then depends on the writer, their experience, word count, any discount to be offered, project deadline, niche amongst other factors.
In a bid to reduce cost, clients make the mistake of reducing the word count to fit their budget.
Also, some content writers can inject your content with fluffy words to make it up to a higher word count, thus, higher pay.
Personally, I advise my clients to forget word count and focus on the goal and quality of the content.
That way, I deliver the best content that’ll yield the ROI for the client, regardless of the word count.
You should always choose value over the number of words.
Unless, of course, word count is significant to you.
Charging by Hourly Rate
Charging per hour is another way to go when it comes to charging for content writing services.
There is no average hourly rate for content writers.
Just like with the number of words, what you’ll be charged will depend on the writer, their experience, estimate number of hours, any discount to be offered, project deadline, niche amongst other factors.
Charging per Page
Charging a specific content writing price per page is another type of content writing rate.
The rate you’ll be charged for a landing page will surely be different from what you’ll be charged for an about us page, service page, or article.
There is no specific fee and just like other types of content writing rates, it’s dependent on a few factors.
Charging per Project (Flat Rate)
Charging per project, that’s paying a flat rate for a piece of content, is another way content writers charge.
This model is considered ideal for persons that want quality content that’ll solve their problem, regardless of the word count, number of hours, or niche.
In this type (which is my most preferred way to charge), the client takes time to discuss their project and what they want with the content writer who is the expert.
The content writer then picks it up from there, does the necessary research involved, and develops content that achieves the goal.
Charging retainer fee is typically adopted by content writing agencies who deliver content writing as part of a package.
This is likened to paying an employer.
The agency delivers the content you need while you pay them a retainer, monthly or weekly.
Now you understand Why Content Writing Rates Cut across a Wide Range. How Do You Pay What’s worthy?
The ‘What to Do’ – Striking a Beneficial Balance between Quality and Quantity
When interviewing my clients, the very first question I ask them is, “What is your Goal for this Piece of Content?”
The goal of a piece of content determines to a great extent how much you should invest in it and at what point on the quality/quantity balance you should stand. (This is if your budget is limited. Quality content pays, but then budget happens).
If it’s website content, you may want to hire an experienced copywriter that’ll offer you a package that’ll include keyword research, competitors’ research, and analysis and content development.
This will help you build a robust SEO infrastructure that’ll last your business website a lifetime.
Additionally, I always recommend you invest in quality content for your money pages.
Other Factors to help you easily decide what to Pay your Content Writer
Besides understanding the goal of your project, other determinants will help you easily know what to pay your content writer.
How Much Content do You Want to Create?
Knowing the amount of content you want to create helps you determine how much you pay.
It can range from as small as a page to as many as over 100 pages.
The amount of content you need and the frequency you want it will help you easily know whether you should hire a freelance content writer, an in-house writer, or an agency.
If you need a constant content supply, you might want to employ an in-house writer or hire a reliable freelance content writer.
Are you Interested in Add-ons? Package versus Single Content Writing Project.
This is another factor that’ll help you easily know the content writing rates to pay your writer.
Some writing agencies integrate the cost of content writing services with the overall service packages they provide. This might include social media marketing, SEO, digital strategy, etc.
Freelancers, on the other hand, may require you to pay extra freelance content writing costs if you need extra services besides ‘content writing’.
This may be content strategy development, competitor research, content distribution, posting to your content management system, etc.
A significant number of freelance SEO content writers offer a writing package that includes all.
You must discuss with your writer to know what they offer and the freelance writing rates for their package.
Furthermore, an understanding of the content writing add-ons you want will help you agree on a monthly salary to pay any content writer you may want to hire.
It helps you outline a comprehensive job description and avoid future complications.
What Type of Content Do You Want to Create?
This is similar to understanding your content marketing goals as explained in a previous section.
The type of content you wish to create determines how much you pay as the rate for a content writer.
Each requires a different type of content writer and the content writing services pricing is not the same.
Now you know why content writing rates run across a wide range and how you can easily decide what to pay.
How then do you hire the ideal content writer for your project?
13 Top Tips on How to Land Great Writers Ideal for your Project.
Knowing what to pay your content writer is one thing, hiring an ideal writer is another.
You sure don’t want to know what to pay and end up paying it to the wrong persons.
Here, I outline a list of tips that’ll help you hire the ideal content writer for your project.
1) Review the Content Writer’s Online Footprint
A great content writer is always writing whether for clients or personal projects.
I highly recommend visiting their LinkedIn and Twitter pages to see what they’re up to and know whether they’re a good fit for you.
Additionally, you can type in their name on a search engine and see what you get.
Note: Writing for LinkedIn and Twitter is not the same as writing SEO content. You might want to check other tips mentioned here.
2) Ask for Recommendations from Your Network
This will help you avoid a significant amount of research and background checks. Reaching out to persons you trust their judgments will help you land writers they’ve worked with and trust.
A huge emphasis is on ‘trust their judgment.’
Ask for their experience with the writer and the result the content has yielded them.
3) Reach Out to Content Writers Already in Your Network
In cases like this, you already have some level of relationship with the person.
You’ll find out that it’ll be easier to communicate and strike a deal with writers you know already than going for someone that’s not familiar to you.
You’ll be surprised at the level of content writers in your network when you make a simple job post.
Caution: Stay objective while doing this. The fact that a writer is in your network doesn’t mean they’re the best out there for you.
4) Decide on Your Content Marketing Goals (Hire Help if You Don’t Know How To)
Setting up a content marketing goal before you set out to hire a content writer will help direct you to the most suitable writer.
Outline your goals, know the type of content writer you want, and if possible get yourself a content strategy.
If you don’t know how to handle any of these, you can discuss with an expert to help you get it done.
As a content strategist and writer, I always welcome clients who don’t know where to start. I’ll help you lay the foundations for your content marketing; from the goals down to the writing proper.
5) Discuss Directly with the Writer
One of the mistakes business owners make when hiring a content writer is hiring a writer online without directly discussing with the writer.
Talking to your content writer via phone call or video chat helps to put things in perspective and ensure both parties are on the same page.
While a chat or email messaging can work sometimes, it doesn’t work all time.
If you have some special requirements, you should jump on a phone call or video chat with the person.
6) Ask for the Writer’s Samples
An experienced writer always has samples to supply you when you ask for one. Ask for samples, especially samples of projects that relate to your niche.
One thing to note here is that not all samples are true samples – stealing content samples is a thing.
Also note that a good number of writers operate as ghostwriters, so they might have less content in their names.
If the writer has a blog, you can check it out for their style of writing to help you know whether they’re a good fit.
7) Check Out The Writer’s Reviews and Recommendations
If the writer has a website, you can check out their reviews to know what previous clients think of their service.
Just like samples, reviews and recommendations on websites can be doctored too, especially if they’re from unverifiable sources.
What to do?
Check out their LinkedIn recommendations, Google My Business reviews (For Local businesses), and what others say about them online.
Don’t only look for the quality of content; also check their level of communication, professionalism, ability to meet up with schedule amongst others.
8) Ask How the Writer Measures Success
This is a tricky question for many, especially as most content writers measure content success by traffic.
The truth is the success of any content is measured by how the piece of content can achieve ‘the outlined goal.’
An experienced writer knows this and communicates it the way it should be – based on ROI.
9) Assess Writer’s Level of SEO Knowledge (If you Need an SEO Content Writer)
There are many writers out there, but a few offer SEO content writing services. Even amongst the few SEO content writers, a few offer quality SEO writing services.
So, if your content goal includes SEO, you might want to assess the writer’s SEO knowledge.
Sure, you might not want a core SEO specialist; however, you should hire an SEO content writer that understands the basics of search engine optimization.
10) Pricing Structure
This is a crucial aspect of interviewing your prospective content writer.
Find out how they charge and if it works for you (refer to earlier sections for how content writers charge).
Different content writers have dissimilar content writing pricing structures.
Per word? Per project? Per hour? Per page?
Understand how they charge before you invest your money. This will save you time, cost, and stress.
11) Find Out What’s Included in the Pricing
Different content writers include different services in their package.
Some include only content writing proper, others include writing and publishing on your CMS, others include editing, proofreading, and rewriting, another might include keyword research and competitors analysis, the list keeps going.
Ask what they charge, what’s included, and what they need from you to get started.
12) Find out the Writer’s Refund Policy
Not all content writers offer a refund policy.
Even when they do, there are terms and conditions you may want to get acquainted with before you invest your money.
Working with a writer that doesn’t offer a refund or offers a conditional refund might lead to you losing your money and achieving nothing.
Find out from the onset and agree on terms before you invest your money.
13) Both Parties’ Expectations
In every client-content writer relationship, there are expectations from both parties.
Communicate what you expect from the writer and have them communicate what they expect from you.
This can be in terms of how often they should give you update, how fast you want the content to be delivered, content delivery format amongst others.
Agree on what you both expect before proceeding with the project.
Bonus Tip – Give a Test
If you can afford it, give your content writer a test to know how they perform.
The test will help you determine if they’re a perfect fit for you and then you can decide to work on the long term with them.
This applies especially in situations where you wish to hire a long-term content writer for your blog.
Remember, you’re not looking at only content quality, you’re also evaluating compatibility.
Wrapping Up – Content Writing Rates; why it’s difficult to know what to Pay and What You Should Do
In conclusion, it’s already a fact that rates for content writers differ and runs across a wide range.
Hopefully, this article will help you understand why it’s so and learn ways to help you decide the best content writing rates to pay.
I also hope the tips for hiring the most suitable content writer help you to hire a perfect match for you and pay the right content writing rates.