Friday, August 15, 2014

How Much Should I Pay For Good Content?

One of the most difficult pieces to putting together a great website is going to be the content. Sure, you can have all the bells and whistles that make a website pop out at you, but without good content you're pretty much the only human being who will be looking at it. If someone does happen to stumble aimlessly onto your page, you want the text to hook them in and intrigue them enough to stick around. Whether you want to run a successful business or just need to get your opinion out there, having a good content service to help you is simply the best way to go.

One of the most frequent questions that we are asked is “How much does content writing cost?”

This is a fantastic question, and certainly one that shouldn't go overlooked, however, very rarely does someone ask, “How much does good content writing cost?”  Because there's a monumental difference between just paying for web content and paying for good web content. This, in turn, is the issue when dealing in the matter of cost for web content. Some writers will charge significantly less or more depending on what you need done and how good they are. - (Or think they are)

Let's take a look at the different types of payments that content writers might ask for. Good and bad. SEO prices not included, of course.

Paying per word
Paying per word seems to be a good choice. It's what a lot of writers and customers prefer, because when you deal in hourly wages, there's a large amount of trust involved that most people just aren't comfortable with at first. We totally understand. The only real downfall here is - a lot more goes into writing copy or content for a blog or news article than just simply text. The content writer needs to research the topic and spend some time planning out the copy or content for your website. It needs to make sense, as well as contain the correct information they are trying to deliver. You might start to find that rates increase beyond paying per word, into a new realm of hidden fees that you weren’t ready to deal with.

Now let's take a look at what some writers will charge you per word. This gets a little bit tricky, and by “a little bit tricky” I mean college-level astrophysics tricky. You can find that some content writers charge $0.02 cents per word, which is a steal, and you should probably take it and run -except- the old saying, “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here. If you are willing (or can only afford) $0.02 per word, then you might just want to take that deal. Your content will most likely be incoherent and sloppy, but I guess that's fine for what some people want to do with it. After all, if you pay $20 for a car because you only need the windshield wipers, that's a steal. If you need a vehicle for driving to work each morning...well you see where I'm going with this.

On the opposite end of this spectrum is $1.00 per word. This is substantially more than what most people are willing to pay. If someone told you a 200 word article was going cost you $200 you would politely (or maybe not politely) hang up the phone. There seems to be a huge difference in paying $0.02 per word ($4.00 for 200 words) vs. $1.00 per word ($200.00 per 200 words). The writer charging you all that money better be good. Even more so – they better be the best.

Somewhere in between is the sweet spot and that spot relies on the content writer. We find that $0.12-$0.15 per word is pretty standard for a freelance content writer. If you venture into the realm of professional content writing, you are looking at a bit more than that, and again, it all depends on the writer. 
Paying per hour
“Paying per hour! There we go! I don't have to worry about all those $0.02 cents per word, $0.09 cents per word, $1.00 per word-” Slow down's not that simple. As stated before, good content writers need to do their own research (hopefully) and planning. This all takes time, and time is money. But also as stated before, there's a trust issue here. Did they really spend 18 hours researching and writing your 250 word article on flip flops? Probably not.

You need to make sure you trust the writer; do they have a website? Facebook? Twitter? What are clients saying about them? The last thing you need is to get swindled by some crackpot content writer. Not to say there are many of those, but you need to always make sure you don't spend extra money on something just because you don't understand how the business works. Some writers might take advantage of that. And it's a crying shame.

A good rate to expect when dealing with good content and copywriters is usually around $30.00-$80.00 an hour. There are writers out there who charge as much as $120.00 or more an hour. Not including research.    

Pay per page / flat fees

Most people would probably rather pay a flat fee than anything else. A flat fee is like great because there are no hidden costs or fees that come along with the work you're paying for. With a flat rate, you know exactly what you are getting, you want a 500 word article? You'll get exactly that, for a flat rate that won't surprise you. If you require revisions, or research, or anything else at all, it's usually included within the flat fee.

This means that you and the content writing service you wish to hire, both know what you're getting and there are no surprises come invoice time. “Oh, it took you 3 weeks to write my website? Well too bad, there's a flat fee.” Seems like the easiest choice? Maybe not.

A lot of content writers and companies I speak to will tell me that they don't prefer that method. The writers never know how much time the research is going to take in advance – they would rather not rush the research process to fit the constraints of the flat fee. For example; if you hire a writer who is willing to give you a flat fee for a 500 word article on something they maybe only heard about once in their life, they might not spend a ton of time putting in the research needed to make your article shine. Sure, they can discuss additional research fees, and sure, you might be willing to pay them, but that's some confusion that could be avoided.

If you find a good content writing company, paying somewhere between $50.00-$75.00 per 500 word article seems fair depending on the topic. Again, I say good content writing company. If you see writers advertising $2.00-$3.00 for a 500+ word article, and you're comfortable with buying the $20.00 car, go for it. I just wouldn't recommend it.  

Writing takes time. Time that not everyone has. If you're willing to shell out the money for good content and a great deal of amount of time you don't need to spend doing it, it's just the recommending thing to do. Virtually everyone who runs a website needs someone to write the text for them; it's just a matter of how much you have to spend and how good you ultimately want the content to be. If you understand the value of truly good content you will understand why paying more pays off big time in the long run.