How much would you charge to write 280 words? Good quality content pays around 22p a word in the UK (that’s for content pieces, not sales copy). That would work out at £61.60 (or about $70 USD).
Sounds OK right? But suppose it took 3 hours to write, then another 2 hours to edit, would it still be good? Yes. It’s still above the minimum wage here in the UK.
But that’s relative. If the contract was one piece a week, you’d starve very quickly.
So we’d need a lot of contracts like that to survive. What’s important about that rate though, is it allows us to have employees and sub-contractors.
This is the distinction between freelancing and running an agency. Agencies MUST charge more to survive and allow for growth.
To do that they MUST also differentiate themselves from the rest of the market.
The simplest differentiation is to prove you write better content. How do you do that? Stats. Show your clients that your content gets attention. Prove to them that it’s quality first with you.
Show them you care about their business by getting to understand their business before you meet.
A new client’s top worry is that you’ll ruin their reputation. Make it your top priority to understand how they got their reputation in the first place and what you can do to increase it.
And when you’ve done all that, you’ll be in the perfect position to pitch them for all their copy work (including content) regardless of whether you run an agency or freelance.
You can explain how your content gets them attention, but it’s your copy that gets them sales. Show them how they differ, and why copy is more valuable than content.
Do this and you can happily justify charging £22 a word and not 22p when it comes to sales copy.
When people like Alan Weiss talk about Million Dollar Consulting Proposals, that’s what they mean. Deliver value no one else can.
Is it easy? No of course not. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But remember you’ve got the rest of your life to get there (just don’t leave it another day).
PS. I’ve set up an organisation called the ICA to support ambitious copywriters and help them stand out from the crowd. To find out more, make sure you subscribe to the Science of Copywriting Weekly Newsletter.
I've spent my working life starting and running a whole variety of businesses, from my first QPL Express Couriers where I travelled over 100,000 miles every year delivering packages on a motorcycle (along with a whole bunch of colleagues) to Accountz.com which made a major in-road in the UK, to ProofMEDIA my current business that focuses on Copywriting and the International Copywriters Association, which helps copywriters learn more about copywriting and the copywriting industry around the world.
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