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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

    
Is this rate ok for getting original articles?
freelance writing, travel writing etc
eddy22




msg:3071309
 3:20 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

I have hired a senior freelance content writer to write articles for my sites.

His work is excellent.

For writing these articles for me, he is charging approx USD 50/- per article (approximately 600 words).

Is he expensive? Could I get someone cheaper and as good?

thanks
eddy

 

Syzygy




msg:3071331
 3:36 pm on Sep 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

If the writer is supplying you with fresh and original content then in my book that's cheap - very cheap! Good writers, especially those who understand and fulfill your requirements, can be worth their proverbial weight in gold.

If you're happy and the costs are within your budget I wouldn't even think twice about looking for less expensive alternatives.

Syzygy

eddy22




msg:3071942
 6:21 am on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ultimately, I am now alloting work to both - the senior writers and junior ones.

yeah, the articles are all original & worth it since it has increased the traffic to my sites.

Since the articles are long, sometimes I break it up into 2 pages. I am Saving money this way.

( I keep a check on originality by Copy pasting sentences on google, yahoo etc).

VegasRook




msg:3074214
 12:02 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

He's not expensive. I charge a little more than that for topics that I am an industry expert in. For outside topics where greater research and care are needed, I charge higher.

For print quality, I charge much higher than what you quoted.

Don't look at the price. Look at the content itself. Let that determine your satisfaction level.

Syzygy




msg:3074552
 8:02 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

For print quality, I charge much higher...

Why differentiate between online and offline content in terms of rates? Do you provide work of a lesser quality for online readers?

Syzygy

lancer




msg:3074990
 3:35 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I also think this is incredibly cheap. Many of my clients pay double that for a page only 400-450 words long.

The only differentiation I make is whether it's SEO copywriting or natural language. For natural language without any thought to keywords and phrases it's cheaper.

VegasRook




msg:3075209
 6:32 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)


Why differentiate between online and offline content in terms of rates? Do you provide work of a lesser quality for online readers?

Syzygy,

In our business, "print quality" doesn't necessarily mean the intended platform of the article, it refers to the quality level. A "print quality" article is something you would see a respected media outlet utilize (like your local news, top magazine, etc).

Here's a quick example. Pick any article submission website you want. See all those articles? 99.99% of them are NOT print quality. They wouldn't even make it through the query process. If those authors wanted to make their articles print quality, and they had the talent, much more work would need to be done.

Hope that makes it clearer.

:D

Syzygy




msg:3075313
 7:54 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

So you do differentiate between online and offline worlds as far as editorial standards are concerned?

Are you saying that you knowingly use sub-standard content online because it's "cheap"?

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, in which case my apologies, but why presume readers of online content deserve less than 'paper' readers? Can you explain the rationale?

I also think this is incredibly cheap. Many of my clients pay double that for a page only 400-450 words long.

Quite right, too. This is more like it in commercial terms - if you want quality.

Syzygy

[edited by: Syzygy at 8:02 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2006]

VegasRook




msg:3077504
 7:27 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, you misunderstood me.

Content comes in varied styles/quality. For instance, a blog posting is almost never "print quality." Again, the term "print quality" is not referring to the medium used to deliver the content. It's referring to the level of writing. If an article is written well enough to be used in a major magazine, for example, then it's print quality.

A blog post could certainly be written to print quality standards, but they almost never are. The same goes for articles submitted to article submission websites. They are fine for their purpose, but those articles fall far short of being upper level quality.

axgrindr




msg:3078234
 7:55 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've been getting my 500 word articles written for either $15 or $20 an article depending on how much research the topic requires. The content is original and high quality, in fact I have been learning valuable lessons about my own field of expertise from the articles I'm having commissioned.
I did have to go through quite a few content writers before I found a few guys I can rely on for fast, high quality work.

rbacal




msg:3079557
 1:27 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Are you saying that you knowingly use sub-standard content online because it's "cheap"?

Just wanted to kick in here since I'm both a print writer (books, articles), and a webwriter (I don't do original work for others in e-format).

The issue is that basically you have different media, with different reader expectations, needs, wants and behaviors. And you have different "editorial" procedures which range from zero (on the web) to exceedingly rigorous (in, let's say a high value slick magazine).

So, the standards are different. In fact, what might fit as a really great article on the web would probably NOT fit as an article in a glossy mag. And, vice versa.

That said, if you went to my website and read some of my more recent material, and compared it to the material in my books (which had to pass through 3-4 editors, rewrites, etc), you'd probably see a difference in "quality".

Syzygy




msg:3080074
 1:57 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Content comes in varied styles/quality.

As far as the quality aspect is concerned, it’s either good or bad.

A blog post could certainly be written to print quality standards, but they almost never are.

True. But what about paid for content? When commissioning content, who’d happily accept and pay for inferior “blog-quality”?

The issue is that basically you have different media, with different reader expectations, needs, wants and behaviors.

But on one’s own medium, editorial standards shouldn't be, should they?

I still see no reason why there should be any sort of difference in expected quality of content - and rates - between the online and offline worlds. Indeed, why are they perceived as different from one another?

Should I expect differing rates – or indeed, supply differing quality – based on the platform the vehicle is on?

If I’m commissioned to write 1,000 words for a magazine, the chances are it’s also going to appear on that publications web site, right?

What if the publisher were to say, “Thanks for the content. Now, we’ll pay you this much for printing it in our magazine, but considerably less for publishing it on our website.” Would that be acceptable?

In this scenario, if it’s a half-decent web site it’s probably got a much bigger readership than the paper version! So why pay less? As the audience’s is bigger, perhaps it should be argued that web rates should be higher than the "paper" rates?

Syzygy

[edited by: Syzygy at 1:58 pm (utc) on Sep. 12, 2006]

rbacal




msg:3080345
 4:51 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Syzz, I don't have time to go through what you wrote to comment, but just to clarify, are you a professional writer?

This may make a difference in your perceptions. I noticed at least one or two comments that suggest to me that you aren't, because you have a few slightly "off" comments that aren't really reflective or writing professionally.

Syzygy




msg:3080365
 5:18 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't have time to go through what you wrote to comment...

Then why comment? :-)

...are you a professional writer? I noticed... "off" comments... aren't reflective or writing professionally.

In the sense that it's my living? Nope. It would be fair to say that, in part, other people's writing is my living.

<cough>Jeesh! Suddenly everyone's a critic!

My perspective is based on professional experience; my opinion is personal.

Syzygy

[edited by: Syzygy at 5:41 pm (utc) on Sep. 12, 2006]

hunderdown




msg:3080367
 5:20 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Syzygy, you make some good arguments for why their shouldn't be differences in quality between the web and print, but the fact remains that for the most part, there ARE differences. Just as there are differences between an article in The New Yorker and an article in your local free paper.

I think it's important to note that differences in quality do not necessarily mean differences in accuracy. I expect a web article to get the facts right. What I don't expect is for it to be as polished as a print article.

rbacal




msg:3080641
 8:42 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

In the sense that it's my living? Nope. It would be fair to say that, in part, other people's writing is my living.

Not being critical here, but if you are a writer as a profession you have a different understanding of the more subtle stuff, in the same way that a professional webmaster is going to know a lot more, and a lot different stuff than a person who once built his own website for fun.

It's clear you don't have all that much experience re: writing as a business. I'm sure you know lots of other stuff.

Ok. I have time. Lets not confuse what is "good writing", and what constitutes a "good article". They are quite different. Good writing is what we'd expect regardless of medium (with some exceptions) and it involves the mechanics, good sentence structure, proper use of words, punctuation. Pretty much all writing is evaluated by those standards.

But what constitutes a "good article" is much different, and the standards used to evaluate same are quite different for different media, audiences, etc. An article for an academic journal, for example, could be excellent for that context, but absolutely unpublishable in most other print or online contexts. And vice versa. I can tell you that as a former academic journal editor, we called articles that don't fit, "bad", or "really bad", or "man, this sucks bigtime".

One specific difference - length and depth. I have a lot of print material I ported over to the net, but I can tell you that now I do much smaller articles (and a lot more), so people can go direcly to the specific thing they want, and not have to hunt through, let's say a 3,000 word piece.

Finally, (and this is something most people don't think about being a professional writer involves being in business. We (as with many other fields), are not going to give you the same kind of attention for a 100 word filler that pays $5. compared to a 3,500 print piece that pays $750.

The quality thing is a bit of a red herring. A piece has to be "good enough" to satisfy the client, and we're talking business here, there's a business limit on how much time, research, editing and energy pro writers will spend on a piece, and that limit is related to what you pay.

What satisfies the editors and readers of Playboy (I pick that because it's a high pay market) is different than what satisfies the editors and readers of The Podunck Review which is different again from what may work for a website owner.

Syzygy




msg:3080661
 8:57 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh, I'm not disputing the certainty that there are many different levels of quality in content. What I'm wondering is why there should be differences in editorial standards between the online and offline versions of the same product, and why rates of pay should be dependent upon whether the work is to be published online or offline - particularly when online versions can have larger audiences.

Let me broaden this out. Why do webmasters (in the main) see content as something that can be had so cheaply (a few £/$ per 1,000 words), whilst the offline world still values it highly. Why don't webmasters see content as being of more value than they do? Is it because too many webmasters see content as padding for made-for-adsense (MFA) sites?

Why should a writer get paid a handful of coins from an online source when, if they were actually any good, they could get paid ten times more in the offline world? Is it because those commanding such low rates aren't actually any good and that many webmasters wouldn't know quality content if it came up and slapped them with a wet kipper?

I don't know; this is what I'm wondering...

Syzygy

rbacal




msg:3080707
 9:25 pm on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh, I'm not disputing the certainty that there are many different levels of quality in content. What I'm wondering is why there should be differences in editorial standards between the online and offline versions of the same product, and why rates of pay should be dependent upon whether the work is to be published online or offline - particularly when online versions can have larger audiences.

Because they aren't the same product. In the same way that a StarWars book, a starwars movie, and a starwars broadway production are completely different products, and have different standards and styles for writing, and presumably fees for writers).

Let me broaden this out. Why do webmasters (in the main) see content as something that can be had so cheaply (a few £/$ per 1,000 words), whilst the offline world still values it highly. Why don't webmasters see content as being of more value than they do? Is it because too many webmasters see content as padding for made-for-adsense (MFA) sites?

Different businesses, different business models, different industry maturity levels, different entrance requirements, but do you have any idea what a full page ad in a major publication or trade journal costs? When the advertiser is paying $10k for a single full page ad running adjacent to an article, you'd better believe the standards (and the writer's fees) are going to be higher.


Why should a writer get paid a handful of coins from an online source when, if they were actually any good, they could get paid ten times more in the offline world?
Because in most cases they aren't capable of getting paid ten times more in the offline world, either because they aren't good enough, or don't understand how to run an offline business for writing.

supper, gotta run.

axgrindr




msg:3080893
 12:26 am on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why don't webmasters see content as being of more value than they do? Is it because too many webmasters see content as padding for made-for-adsense (MFA) sites?

I know you're speaking in broad terms but personally the content that I hire copywriters for is very important to me and doesn't have an Adsense ad anywhere near it when published.

I use the content to keep our position as an authority site in our niche, to get inbound links (not really possible with low quality content) and to attract the right type of visitor/customer for the ecommerce part of our site.

When I hire a copywriter I also do a large part of the work up front with lists and descriptions of specific topics, lists of keywords, reference sites, etc.
I also do quite a bit of work after the copy is delivered making it a bit more web friendly with bullet points, paragraph titles, reference links, graphics, etc.

Don't get me wrong though. I still feel I am getting a really good deal at $15 an article.
But that's what the copywriter is asking for... ...so that's what I pay him.

Beagle




msg:3080907
 12:55 am on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

But that's what the copywriter is asking for... ...so that's what I pay him.

If he asked for more, would you pay it?

--BTW, in my day job, I write for academic (medical research) journals. They pay even less than websites. ;)

[edited by: Beagle at 12:58 am (utc) on Sep. 13, 2006]

axgrindr




msg:3080929
 1:27 am on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

If he asked for more, would you pay it?

Yes, definitely.
In fact one of the guys I used I paid him more than he asked because his bid was ridiculously low for what he ended up delivering.

For the latest project I'm paying $120 for 6 articles but I am asking for much longer, more in depth essay type pieces.

From my experience I wouldn't blame the "webmasters who wouldn't know good content if it slapped them in the face" for the low pay that some website copywriters are getting.

Syzygy




msg:3081292
 10:53 am on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's clear you don't have all that much experience re: writing as a business.

Don't tell my boss that...

...do you have any idea what a full page ad in a major publication or trade journal costs?

Yes, I believe I have an idea.

Because in most cases [online content writers] aren't capable of getting paid ten times more in the offline world, either because they aren't good enough, or don't understand how to run an offline business for writing.

Thank you.

Syzygy

jlr1001




msg:3082225
 11:54 pm on Sep 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Okay....

I write professionally, both for print and online. Frankly I find this conversation, and the other similar topics on this site, disturbing.

Whenever someone writes a post soliciting going rates for paying a web writer he is usually doing so from a false context.

No one, that I've seen, has brought up the fact that most of these (low) web writing rates were set by people (site owners) who didn't understand or fully value the importance of content. If X number of years ago all of the websites out there were testing the Internet waters, then there would be an inherently low value for the copy put on those sites... Unfortunately most people--and by this I mean individual site owners--are still operating from this same place.

People in this thread have compared the fees for writing for print versus writing for the web. That's a mistake... (though realistically I think there's little distinction in cost for both types of content).

To be more accurate one should compare what a person starting a niche website--say one for the bridal market--would pay for a piece of content of X number of words versus what an established website--say, TheKnot.com--would pay for the same piece. (I guarantee you that the fees wouldn't be the same).

I think this is a question of project budgets, not the intrinsic value of online content.

Of course, if I'm only willing to pay $20 - 50 per piece of content, then I'll only get content worth $20 to 50 dollars. The fact that writers will find this rate "satisfying" should be absurd.

I've seen people throwing around accusations about who writes professionally and who doesn't... Just because you get paid to write, while meaning you are a "professional", doesn't mean you're a competant business person.

While you're happy receiving $20 for a 800-word article, I'm charging ten times that for "the same work"... Or, to state it differently, if you have a client who's insisting on only paying you gas money for your valuable time, find another client.

Think about it.

-jlr1001

Beagle




msg:3083387
 7:50 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

You make a vitally important point, jlr. There are printed periodicals at all different pay levels, so it would be logical for that to be true of websites, too. The general game plan for freelance print writers is to first offer an article to the highest-paying magazine they think it "fits." If that one doesn't take it, you go to the next one down the line, etc., til you get to the ones that don't pay anything but will at least let you claim a publishing credit. (This is in general; There are sometimes valid career reasons to offer an article to a periodical that might not be the highest paying.) As you said, the pay level goes by what the magazine can afford; the higher-paying ones will end up with the better articles (theoretically).

A big difference is that freelancers can open up a copy of Writer's Market and check out the pay rates of printed magazines. Some years ago, that book added a section for "E-Zines". I haven't seen a copy for the last couple of years, so don't know what they're providing for web writers now. Maybe the websites that post projects looking for writers perform somewhat the same function. (Thankfully, the sites that post articles that can be copied by anyone and legitimately end up on multiple pages seem to be a web-only phenomenon.)

Another difference on the web is that articles tend to be much shorter because of the medium, so it would eat up a writer's time to have to sell each of them individually.

And perhaps the biggest chasm between writing for print and writing for the web is that the web is insatiable. A print magazine has to decide how many pages of content it can carry (and how much it can pay to writers) based on advertising and subscription income. There's no comparable check on the amount of content for websites, although there are limits to what a site can afford to pay writers. But if writers can learn to "work" the web in somewhat the same way they do print, IMVHO the idea that the highest-paying sites will end up with the highest-quality articles should still remain basically true.

ETA: I also wanted to agree with the point that an excellent writer is not necessarily a competent businessperson. Maybe web writers should have agents.

[edited by: Beagle at 7:58 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2006]

greenleaves




msg:3083399
 8:01 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I find this whole, "content is not good enough" idea inadequate.

Instead of using good and bad (overly simplistic) I am going to use low and high quality to describe writing styles.

Content only has to be of the quality that the USER can appreciate. Just like in the world of books you have your Garcia Marquez and you have your generic writers. The writers of each of those books are writing to a specific audience. You can't say either of them are not usable, many people will not be able to appreciate Marquez, just as many people won't appreciate a low quality book. On the other hand for each of the mentioned books, there is an audience that likes it.

Many people want to get a headache when they read others just want to escape their daily lives.

Content is good enough if your *visitors* find it good enough. If you have an audience of not-too-bright people, give them not-too-bright articles (which happen to be cheap, since a not-too-bright person can write them). If you have brilliant people, you need brilliant content (which is expensive because brilliant people are need to write brilliant content)

jlr1001




msg:3083600
 11:01 pm on Sep 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sometimes I wonder if elance, hireafreelancer.com, and the numerous other "bid for work" websites aren't hurting this profession...

While I understand the allure of not having to actively market oneself for work, the overt aim of these sites is to drive the fee for work down.

One could say that these sites mirror other, more established, bidding processes--such as government contracts or responding to corporate RFPs... But for the reasons I stated before, the employers using those sites tend to have extremely limited budgets.

Again, I've never used those sites and, perhaps, my notion of what I'm "worth" doesn't correspond with winning a bid. Of course, I don't get all the projects I send out proposals for, but things even out because I ask for more than some other writers might...

Then again, I know for a fact that I don't charge nearly what I could.

-jlr1001

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