Since publishing Freelancers: How to Find Them and What to Pay Them (Part 1), I’ve had some wonderful discussions with some very passionate people on this complex topic. I originally decided to break this into two posts in order to give myself more time to research the second part of the title—what to pay freelance marketing writers.
I solicited more input from members of the Content Marketing Academy – the largest content marketing group on LinkedIn – and reached out to some friends who both freelance and hire freelancer writers. Here are some of the responses I received:
“My pay rate goes all over the place from 50 cents a word to $1.50 per word.”
“I am considered a highly experienced specialist in the vertical market I focus on. And in my experience, my market won’t bear more than $1/word.”
“I used to hire writers when I worked for a large company. Prices ranged from $50/hr to over $100/hr.”
“$50K per year US is basically the minimum an independent writer/editor can earn and stay in business. To earn $50K a year we need to make $1K a week. So, if we can find folks to pay us $50 an hour for 20 hours per week, we can stay in business.”
“If you really want to develop a solid, long-standing relationship with a writer, the best route is to ask for rates or an estimate rather than to just say “we pay X, take it or leave it.” That way both sides feel like they have a say in the arrangement.”
“My normal blogging rates average around $50 for a short (400-600 word) post or curated summary, $75 for a longer original post (600-1000 words) or a longer multi-article curation post, or $100-$150 for a real monster (2000 words and/or highly technical).”
At Kapost, we favor a “per project” rate similar to the last comment over a per-hour or per-word rate. According to Kaitlynn Russo of Ebyline, “About 60% of freelance writers and editors are paid by the project, while about 35% prefer an hourly fee, and about 45% of freelance writers charge between $40 and $80 per hour, with the largest concentration being between $50 and $60 per hour.” Some of Kaitlynn’s research is outlined in the infographic below.
Now as you can see, the opinions varied widely based on experience and a variety of other factors. When determining your budget for freelance writing help, keep in mind your objectives and the complexity of the topic. If you can clearly define what you expect from the project, it becomes much easier to find writers who have a past record of producing that kind of content, and to gauge how much writers generally charge for their work.
When choosing the right author for a post or content asset, think about the call-to-action of the piece and which writer is best suited to discuss a relevant subject. Do you need someone who can break down complex topics and avoid marketing jargon? Are you looking for a writer with a demonstrated influencer network who can extend your readership? Is speed important or do you want a more in-depth piece? Will the writer be conducting researching, or just summarizing existing content? Will they get public credit for their work, or are they acting as a ghostwriter? These factors and others like them not only help determine who to hire, but the potential pay scale.
The key to successfully hiring a quality writer is not just knowing what end-product you want, but having a solid idea of the work it will require. If you don’t know what goes into writing a weekly blog, whitepaper, or eBook, then you’re setting yourself up for a challenges down the road.
If you’re looking for more resources on this topic, Ann Meany, Managing Editor at Brandpoint wrote a great article for Content Marketing Institute called Outsourcing Your Content? How to Get the Best Work from Your Freelancer, and Michael Schulze, Senior Editor at Bredin Inc. wrote one for us recently called How to Work with Freelance Writers. If you have your own input on this topic, add it in the comments below, start a discussion in the Content Marketing Academy LinkedIn Group, or you can harass me on Twitter at @andrewjcoate.