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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

    
Charge for Content Writing
Huntster

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 10:23 am on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I was wondering if any of you guys have some kind of system or basis for charging fees when creating content for others. General question with many factors I'm sure, but I', looking for a basis.

First, I am not trying to break in to this field or make a living at doing this for others really. I am very experienced - have my own stuff with 12+ years, 15 sites, make a good living, support the family well and all that. I do put myself out there for SEO consulting to bigger companies as I enjoy it, I'm good and can make some money.

Anyway, I got an email directed to me (heard of me thru an article I wrote or something) from someone saying they are looking for a "content writer expert". I can write for almost anything (or know how to get my info). I'm just not sure how to handle it fee wise.

Just seeing if any of you guys have a basis you work from (time, number of words, pages...)Any thought or help is much appreciated. Thanks

 

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 11:57 am on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's a start here, [webmasterworld.com...]

Huntster

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 7:31 pm on Jul 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thank You

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 6:18 pm on Jul 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you're being asked to contribute your expertise then fee structures need to be considerably higher than the 'cheap content' rates outlined in the thread BDW has kindly provided a link to.

First things first though, how much work is involved and what is its nature?

Does the client just want a few web articles, or are their requirements much more than that?

Is the content part of a revised SEO/marketing strategy and do they want you to advise on it or oversee the work?

Lots of factors come into play here, as I'm sure you're all too aware.

More info please... :-)

Syzygy

s3rndpt

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 4:35 pm on Jul 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hello all, first post here, so please be gentle!

Anyway, thoughts from a full-time web content (sometimes freelance) writer: use a fee scale and charge by the hour. I've found that charging by the word works very well if you've got little experience and are trying to break into web content and don't actually have any stake in what you are writing, but if you've spent any amount of time trying to actually craft quality content, the $20 for a 500 work article doesn't even cover minimum wage.

Fortune Hunter

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 2:26 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

the $20 for a 500 work article doesn't even cover minimum wage.

I would agree with that, but I have also done paid freelancing and these rates are pretty low by any standard. Most freelancers will tell you the rate for writing pieces is between .75 to 1.00 per word for respectable publications. I hear some will even pay higher, but I haven't personally experienced it. You will always find publications, or web sites, that try and buy pieces for pennies, but they typically don't get good content very long paying those types of sweat shop rates.

Let's face it if you are a struggling writer trying to make a go of it full time and you can't pay your rent and have to eat Alpo because the only paid work you can get is from publications paying .04 per word isn't exactly "living the dream".

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 6:27 pm on Jul 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Charge by the hour... charge by the word...

Anyone hiring on either basis needs their head tested!

;-)

Syzygy

Fortune Hunter

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 2:33 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone hiring on either basis needs their head tested!

What other method would you use to charge?

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 4:18 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Syzygy did advocate a CPM basis in the first linked thread. Personally I prefer a per article basis with word count only as guidance.

Take this as my justification:

Breaking news often has few facts available, but is really useful and important material - it's also hard work to find it early and scrape together enough reliable information. More established editorial topics are likely to have much more detail available with press releases, publications and a wealth of back-stories however they will only be useful when made into a longer article. At the end of the day, both the short breaking-news article and the longer developed topic article are just as valuable to me and reflect serious work on the part of their author.

Why would I pay half the fee for the breaking news that I do for the developed topic, just because it's half the length? It would certainly discourage following up on fresh stories and breaking news, and encourage stale repetition of old themes with only slightly new twists each time.

If an article has covered a topic, it's clear to all parties involved. I therefore suggest that you seriously consider a fixed rate per article, with your guidelines as flexible as possible with regards to length (i.e. state only at least three paragraphs).

The worst guideline of all to give is a fixed length ("give me ten 300 word articles on these topics"). Even with a great writer, a hard word target is a serious and unnatural distraction at best. Imagine telling an artist that he can only make 1000 brush strokes per painting, or a composer that he's only allowed 300 notes.

If you must specify things; tell the artist you expect a fully developed painting, and tell the composer that the piece should last at least five minutes.

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 8:59 am on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

Typically in publishing writers are commissioned to provide articles of a fixed length. For feature articles anywhere between 800 and 1,200 words is pretty standard.

For this, and as Vince observed, the writer gets paid a fixed rate based on a cost per 1,000 words (CPM).

Usually I advise writers that the article length provided is a guideline and if they have additional useful information that takes the piece over - up to 150 words - then they can do so. But only if it helps the story.

One thing that's different between commissioning for print and commissioning for web is allocated space.

In print you know in advance how much space you have to devote to each article (in the same way you know how many pages of advertising there are).

Here the web is different. Articles can be as long - or as short - as you wish them to be.

Allowing writers free scope in regards of article length is, in my opinion, not necessarily a good thing. A good writer can expand the content to fill a book and still come up with more. Anyone can ramble when there's money at stake.

Better to provide the writer with a good brief in the first instance, and a specified length.

I have never taken on anyone on a per hour basis. It just isn't good business sense. However, I'm happy to be hired on a per hour basis - the money is so good!

About three weeks ago I did some freelance work for a university. They offered a ridiculously high hourly and daily rate. So much so that the work I did, which totalled three working days, was worth nearly two weeks salary!

Yup, I'm happy to be paid by the hour! Bring it on...

Syzygy

s3rndpt

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 7:57 pm on Jul 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think perhaps there's some disconnect between us all about the difference in the type of content we're discussing. I'm not sure if the OP is referring to articles, or actual web content. In general, I will not write "articles" for web sites (I've discovered I dislike doing so intensely), because, in my experience, they generally do not pay for the time spent writing them. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, the OP was talking about actual web content- as in, the actual writing structure and content for sites, not articles for sites. In which case I feel by the hour is definitely the way to go. But that is just my two cents. And if I could add a smiley face in here without looking like an interwebzN00b I would, just so no one thinks I'm trying to argue. I've already learned quite a bit just from reading through this section of the forums, and this thread is no exception.

danielthepoet

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 1:37 am on Jul 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's pretty obvious that many people have many approaches. There's no perfect answer, there's just what works for you and what works for your client.

For website copy (static content, not articles or blog posts), I prefer a per page standard rate. That rate has ranged from $30 to $50 per page. Keep in mind that many of these pages are 400 words or less. Not a bad deal.

I agree with the comment on expertise, however. If you provide deep insight into an industry or topic, your articles are worth far more than the hack who throws fluff together.

Web and print approaches will and should be very different. Traditional marketing materials are valued at a higher premium by most. Your price per word or per thousand works fine in this instance. On the web, however, most of us find that website copy is rarely valued as highly. Deep informational resources and SEO minded professionals will probably pay more than joe schmoe with a website.

Experiment with several pricing approaches, and track your satisfaction of each. That's the best way to know what you prefer best. But this is what I would do:

Static Web Copy - Flat rate per page (500 word max)
Blog Posts - Flat rate per post (400 word or 700 word)
Articles - CPM
Press Releases - Flat rate

anallawalla

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 11:25 am on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

We are paying about $60,000 for 2500 pages that require about 60 minutes per page research and writing time.

SEO Content Provider

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 3:10 am on Aug 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

There's something to be said about all methods of fee-charging.

I run two companies - one provides SEO content for websites and blogs and I charge a flat rate per 100 words through there.

However, I also run a more specialized niche company and for that I have hourly consultancy fees - both work and both earn me a comfortable living. The key is not to be too greedy, yet don't sell yourself short either. :)

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 10:53 am on Aug 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Skimmed... so I might have missed what others have said. If I got it correct, query was "what do I charge?"

If correct, then answer is "what the traffic will bear."

If expert for inquiry then charge by hours expended or words written. With words you and client can do the math and if really expert, you are at least as good as Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) who earned in his best years $10,000 for 78,000 words. Do the math and work from there. And did it year after year...

Old_School

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 8:24 pm on Aug 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hello

I'm new here and hate to just jump in on this conversation but (since I already have...)

WOuld these rates be basically the same for a copywriter writing sales copy for a product?

I had thought to hire a copywriter for one of my product lines, it might be more beneficial for us and the copywriter to get a % of the sales the copy converted. THis way they could test and improve the copy and make the effort something that keeps paying instead of a one shot deal... and for us, we would pretty much be asured of having "effective" copy (unlike my own copy which is uneffective in most cases)

Something like an affiliate.

But than, tha brings me to a new question...

I'm thinking instead of me trying to recruit, train and understand the dealings and intricities of the affiliate world, wouldn't it be easier to find just one guy to handle my product under an exclusive agreement. and let him write the copy and do whatever affiliates do to bring in sales... this way i wouldn't have to worry about who got paid and who's cookies expired or any of that (or hiring a copywriter)... just pay a comission to one guy for every sale regardless of who makes it or when and let him sort it all out.?

actually, it wouldn't even have to be an affiliate, maybe just to the guy who brokers the deal or makes the connection?

is that fesible?

jfyi
we design, prototype and manufacture high end niche jewelry.

thanks for any help or direction you can provide...

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 10:10 pm on Aug 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

...it might be more beneficial for us and the copywriter to get a % of the sales the copy converted. THis way they could test and improve the copy and make the effort something that keeps paying instead of a one shot deal...

And what assurances does the copywriter have that your marketing of their copy is sufficiently effective for them to forgo upfront fees?

And - welcome to the forum!

Syzygy

Old_School

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 8:36 pm on Aug 16, 2008 (gmt 0)


...it might be more beneficial for us and the copywriter to get a % of the sales the copy converted. THis way they could test and improve the copy and make the effort something that keeps paying instead of a one shot deal...

And what assurances does the copywriter have that your marketing of their copy is sufficiently effective for them to forgo upfront fees?

And - welcome to the forum!

Syzygy

Thanks Syzygy

That's a good question. To be honest, with my current marketing efforts I probably wouldn't even propose it... on the other hand, our current marketing efforts might be enough to satisfy the copywriter.? They would have to calculate and find some level of comfort not only with our product but with their ability to speak for it and weigh that with the potential commissions against the up front fees.

If I were a professional copywriter or could write effective copy and this was one of my primary concerns, I would want to either have direct input with the marketing or have a source of resources, contacts or skill sets that would handle the web design, marketing and other aspects to insure that my effective copy is being marketed as well as the product.

on the other hand... if I were just starting out and the choice was potential for working with a small but viable company helping them achieve their goals and getting a piece of all the sales that come in due to my writing efforts vs making a couple hundred bucks than, I'd have to say that would be a no brainer. just go for it. (assuming the copywriter had some entrepreneurial spirit or interest in marketing or something other than just some cash in advance.

This is exactly what I am hoping to learn here by coming to this forum... everything can be designed to perfection but we need to know what the ideal situation is for everyone.? I know what is ideal for me and my business, I have a pretty good idea of where our market lies and a pretty good handle on some things so consequently, I'm pretty sure I know what I want and will design that into the system but what would be the perfect situation for everyone else? I can only guess... on this forum, it seems like all the right people are here to ask.

SEO Content Provider

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 9:41 pm on Aug 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

QUOTE: "That's a good question. To be honest, with my current marketing efforts I probably wouldn't even propose it... on the other hand, our current marketing efforts might be enough to satisfy the copywriter.? They would have to calculate and find some level of comfort not only with our product but with their ability to speak for it and weigh that with the potential commissions against the up front fees.

If I were a professional copywriter or could write effective copy and this was one of my primary concerns, I would want to either have direct input with the marketing or have a source of resources, contacts or skill sets that would handle the web design, marketing and other aspects to insure that my effective copy is being marketed as well as the product.

on the other hand... if I were just starting out and the choice was potential for working with a small but viable company helping them achieve their goals and getting a piece of all the sales that come in due to my writing efforts vs making a couple hundred bucks than, I'd have to say that would be a no brainer. just go for it. (assuming the copywriter had some entrepreneurial spirit or interest in marketing or something other than just some cash in advance."

Welcome to the forum, Old School.

As a copywriter myself, I would only work on a paid basis. Please don't take this the wrong way, but you seem confused as to whether your marketing would work or not - therefore, not a very appealing prospect for a copywriter to look at on a commission-only basis.

With the affiliate marketing field full of "nice products", the chances of new ones making a serious dent and offering great ROI is few and far between.

Great affiliate marketers don't necessarily nake great copywriters, and vice versa (many Internet marketers I know outsource the writing for their sales copy).

The keyword here is "potential" - while in an ideal world it would be great if all potentials turned into tangibel success, unfortunately that's not always the case. Copywriting (like any business) is a highly competitve one, and I don't think too many would take up a project that has "potential" for earnings over a paid alternative.

Sorry if this sounds mercenary in approach.

I would recommend you find a copywriter to write you great sales copy and then strike up a Joint Venture with a dedicated Internet marketer who knows all about potential versus profit and would be willing to take the risk.

Hope this helps and good luck with your product! :)

Old_School

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3688346 posted 4:35 pm on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks SEO

I think the key is my "current" marketing vs my Proposed marketing efforts. But your right and I understand many if not most not wanting to take on any risk. at least without knowing the particulars... What do they say about the devil in the details?

my current "poor" marketing efforts are working so, I can only imagine and hope something more professionally done would work even better? that's the hope anyway.. take what I have started and improve on it.

Now a dedicated Internet marketer sounds like a good idea and a partnership is certainly something to entertain... but now I'm wondering if I maybe would be better off trying to find a project manager or someone to broker a deal for me? maybe all I need is an advisor?

We have spent over 30 years developing our product lines (most aggressively in the last 8-10) as well as identifying and test marketing various marketing avenues products etc... many didn't work but... some work flawlessly. (but still it needs spit and polish)

niche markets and products to fill them, I agree it's tough but it's a big part of what we already do. from identification, design, prototyping and manufacturing,

but, if you already have something that is drawing interest and making sales you have to explore professional representation. paid or partnerships, affiliates or commission, it's a part of the cost, it needs to be paid paid one way or the other.

But it always comes back to... how do I know I am going to get effective copy paying in advance. Like everyone, we want to limit our exposure to risk. so many times, I have paid in advance only to be disappointed in the end... in addition, to just go out and hire someone may sound easy but it takes a lot of time to explain the message we want to make (if assuming they can't figure it our from what we already have)

as a "Mr nice guy" I don't mind taking a hit now and again but as a person responsible for the profits to the company and our investors I can't justify taking chances when I am wanting to buy guarantees.

really, that's the only reason I would pay a commission for copy (the sole reason... ) I only want to buy effective copy... regardless of what it costs. I would hope that a single page could generate 50,000 in profits for the copywriter and more for the affiliate per year. if my copywriter was making that much for writing a single page of sales copy, I would be honored and proud to be the guy paying it. why wouldn't I?

it's not a lot for a salesman to earn, not difficult at all in real life and it should be even easier to generate a lot more than that using the power of the Internet and world wide appeal. so I see the copywriter as the same as a salesman... only the copywriter only has to sell it once whereas, a salesman has to make each sale individually vs en masse'. to the manufacturer, we don't care if a salesman get's the commission or the affiliate or the copywriter... or some combination. if a guy sells something, her should get his cut.

but if this same guy want's 50k in advance... regardless of it being guaranteed or not, I couldn't do it...

now, if someone can write me effective copy for 50 or 100 bucks a page and I only need one page and it makes even one sale .. the mercenary...? bring him on ( send him and 5 of his buddies to my shop asap!)

Now you say you don't think too many copywriters would take on a potential commission over a paid in advance deal... I don't know very many copywriters or, very many experts in this field but i am curious what % of the people who would...i only need one...or the 6 mercenary's...

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