Content writers generally charge for their work in one of three ways – per project, per word, or per hour – and some will use all three. From a customer’s perspective, all three methods may seem to have pros and cons, depending on what you want to invest and what you expect to achieve.
In this article, we will investigate the three methods, reveal their advantages and disadvantages, and help you choose what will suit you the best.
Content writing charged per project
This fixed-cost method is frequently used for ‘off the shelf’ content offering a set word count for a set price. It is particularly popular with customers who are new to the concept of buying written content and have a fixed budget.
Charging per project also works well when the customer has established a good working relationship with a writer and hires the writer regularly or on a retainer. The writer will have developed a deeper understanding of the company, its products or services, and its market, and will be able to competently create good quality content that achieves results.
But charging per project can have its drawbacks. A fixed price may leave little opportunity for any necessary additional research, resulting in a lack of informative, interesting detail. This may result in content that fails to convey a knowledgeable, compelling message or attract a higher search engine ranking position (SERP) online.
Content writing charged per word
This pricing method is common in journalism, where editors have column spaces to fill, and has found its way into content writing as a convenient yardstick for comparing writers’ charges.
Paying per word does not however guarantee quality content. Put yourself in the writer’s shoes for a moment. If he or she is to be paid for quantity rather than quality, what financial incentive do they have to create something that is clearly articulated in fewer words?
Won’t they be tempted to needlessly pad out their sentences to earn a bit more money? Will they spend extra unpaid time looking up a better word or phrase to express an idea? Will they pause to research something they don’t understand, or make a wild guess?
Pricing per word is commonly used by online freelancer agencies, where the rates are often so low they seem irresistible – how can they write for so little, bearing in mind that the agency takes a percentage cut of all work?
Scratch a little deeper than the surface, and you will find many of these freelancers live in countries where the cost of living is considerably lower than in the UK; places where English is generally a second language. This, and cultural differences, make it almost impossible for such writers to create content with the authenticity of a native English speaker living and working in the UK.
Content writing charged per hour
To inexperienced customers, paying a content writer per hour may feel like handing over a blank cheque. In actual fact, it is the best means of guaranteeing thoroughly researched, thoughtfully written, results-bringing content.
Given this freedom, a competent writer will almost always exceed your expectations. He or she will appreciate the confidence you have shown in their ability and integrity and will reward you accordingly.
Hybrid pricing for content writing
At The Write Company, we like to take a hybrid approach to pricing as we have found this to be the most effective way to create content that delivers results and satisfies customers.
We primarily base our work on an hourly rate as we have found this works best for us and our customers, but if a customer needs an estimated cost per word we use our extensive portfolio of work to estimate the cost based on the average word count and time required for similar projects.
Similarly, if a customer needs to stay within a finite budget for a project, we can discuss with them the level of detail they are likely to achieve within that time allocation and help them prioritise the key points they wish to communicate.
Keeping your content within budget
The secret to keeping within your budget on content writing is to provide the writer with a good quality creative brief. He or she may ask for a few minutes of your time to either complete a template or answer a list of questions, and this will be time very well invested.
You will also have information about your company, products and markets that will be unfamiliar to your writer. Share this information generously with them, and they will understand what you are trying to achieve much faster – and more cost-effectively – than having to research it all for themselves.
If you’d like to talk about managing your content plan budget or discuss outsourcing your content writing to a professional, book a FREE 30-minute, no-obligation Phone or Zoom Consultation with one of our team, or contact us on 01760 723366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.