It’s really hard to Google a price for copywriting services. This is not just because we’re a secretive bunch. It’s partly because our fees vary according to what you want done. Your “light edit” might really need a lot of work, and I need to see the text and talk to you before I can commit to a price.
Do you really want a copywriter?
This happens all the time. People ask me to “quickly check” a document, but what they send needs to be substantially rewritten – and that’s really what they expect to happen.
To avoid this confusion, here are the three levels of work you may need:
When they ask for a proofread, what my clients nearly always want is a sanity check. Real proofreading is checking galley proofs to correct production errors before printing. What clients usually have is some text that is almost ready to go on the site, but it needs a professional fresh eye to look it over and make sure that the spelling and punctuation are correct, links go where they are meant to go, and that there are no typographical errors.
This work does not involve any rewriting. It can be turned around quickly and is the cheapest option.
This is the bread and butter of my work. Clients have had a go, they have some text (in varying degrees of readability), but they know it could be better, just not how to make it so.
This is my slasher work – ruthlessly taking out superfluous words (less is definitely more) and going through with a fine toothcomb to check that the spelling, punctuation and grammar are sound. I also rewrite small sections to improve them – turning passive sentences into active ones, and so on.
At the top level you may have some words already jotted down, or just the germ of an idea, and you need someone to write it in a clear, grammatical, and effective way. Obviously, this is the most expensive and time consuming option, and prices vary because some clients provide all the information, while others need research as well.
To be effective on a website, you need SEO copywriting, which is where I specialise.
Copywriting is a real skill – you will get what you pay for
Inexperienced clients may be shocked at paying for “just bunging down words.” After all, anyone can sit at a keyboard and bash at the keys. True. But anyone can open a bonnet and twiddle with an engine – how successfully you do it is a different matter! Effective communication is a skill, and is something you should budget for just as much as you budget for an accountant or a solicitor.
Every copywriter has a different way of working, but you should find that your first discussion involves you doing a lot of the talking, while she listens, takes notes, asks questions. If your copywriter doesn’t seem that interested in your business, well . . . I’d steer clear.
Following that initial chat, I work out a firm price for the job – and keep you fully informed as we go along if additional work is needed. There won’t be any nasty surprises!
What’s included in the price?
- Preliminary work: With Word Hen, the research and interviews needed to gather the material are included in the price I quote. Other copywriters may have a different system.
- Full SEO writing: Grammatical, fluent, and consumer-targeted original writing.
- Advice: I want my work to be part of something excellent, and if I feel other areas of your website let you down, then I’ll say so!
- Editing: There will almost certainly need to be at least one going-over to proof and edit once you have approved the text, and these edits are included in the price.
- Error correction: If I fail to spot a mistake before the web page is published, I’ll put it right at no extra charge.
- Copyright: With original work, once you are happy with the text, and have paid, I transfer the copyright (confusing, huh?) to you, and you can use the writing as many times as you wish, subject to a few limitations.
- Basic social media promotion: I’ll share the finished work on my own social media accounts, and promote it alongside my other clients as part of my regular business.
What other services do you need?
Many copywriters will also be able to help with the design of your product, or with promotion afterwards. This may or may not be included in the price. Basic additional work is included in quotes from me, anything more and we can talk about it.
In addition to the writing, I can:
- help you design a social media strategy,
- show you how to promote your business through Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc,
- write and run your email newsletter or marketing campaign,
- create or check other business and personal promotional material – profiles, press releases, blog posts, etc.
So that’s the mystery behind copywriting prices. I know it’s frustrating that you can’t Google a price, and I know there are freelance battery farms where you can get a writer for tuppence. But I promise that you’ll get a much better result if you get in touch, and talk through what you need.