Some copywriters work for advertising agencies or design firms, while others prefer freelancing so they can choose their clients and what projects they work on. This article focuses on the cost of engaging freelance copywriters. Two advantages of hiring freelancers are: You can work with them directly, and you avoid paying agency markups.
When deciding how much to budget, know that freelancers are businesses. As in any other business, they set their own pricing. Below are the seven most common factors that affect copywriting fees.
7 FACTORS AFFECTING COPYWRITING RATES
- Project Research: Many times, the copywriter needs background before starting the project. This may include interviewing your customers, researching the industry and your competition, reviewing past marketing campaigns, and so on. The greater the amount of research needed, the higher the project fee may be. For example, if the copywriter must develop your buyer personas or read your 400-page book before writing an email campaign to promote it, the time commitment will add up.
TIP: Keep fees down by providing the copywriter with as much relevant data as possible at project start.
- Specialization: The more specialized and in-demand your copywriter, the more they may charge. It’s basic supply and demand. For example, if you need a direct-response copywriter with an electrical engineering background to sell your highly technical product to other engineers, then expect to pay more.
TIP: It’s usually smarter to pay a little more for specialization when needed. A direct-response copywriter with an electrical engineering background will take less time to understand a technical product and may be more effective at selling to other engineers than a generalist accustomed to writing blog posts.
- Planning and strategy: For more complex projects, the copywriter may benefit from meeting with other project team members to help strategize a rollout or plan a campaign.
TIP: Before engaging your copywriter, get clear about the project outcome you want. Having a clear outcome helps the copywriter bid more accurately, because they’ll know if they need to schedule time for additional conference calls and so on.
- Project type: Project fees aren’t just dependent on the amount of copy needed, fees are also affected by the project’s complexity. Writing a four-page brochure will obviously cost less than a 40-page website. But a single Pay Per Click (PPC) ad can cost as much as an email. That’s because when an ad only has 25 characters to entice a conversion (e.g. get the click), each word used often requires more thought and research.
- Deadline: If you need something done sooner, you may have to pay what many call a “rush fee.” Fees vary depending on the project and deadline. Also, expect to pay more if your writer has to work over the weekend or during a holiday period.
TIP: More expert copywriters are often booked out at least two to three months in advance, so plan accordingly.
- Additional skills: Generally, copywriters just write the copy, without formatting past a basic MS Word or Google document. Some copywriters have other skills such as graphic design or voiceover talent. More advanced direct-response copywriters often provide marketing strategy as well. If you need the copywriter to do more, such as write and design a brochure, or to enter blog posts on WordPress, expect to pay more.
- Level of expertise: As in most professions, the more experience and skills needed, the higher the professional fees. Copy for a multimillion-dollar product launch often requires higher expertise than copy for a blog post that nurtures prospects.
TIP: The copywriter’s skill level can also affect the total number of drafts or editing rounds before the project can be finalized. Usually, more skilled writers require minimal editing, which can save you time and money in the long run.