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Content Writing - Is it still possible to sell high

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Melisa455, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. #1
    Hi everyone from digital forum,

    I have read almost all of the thread in copywriting in this forum.
    There is some thread saying it is impossible to earn much selling content here.
    And I also saw other posts on content writing. It is true the majority people here sell $3-$5 for 500 words article.

    Yet, I have seen people trying to charge up to $20 for 500 words article. Some even more.
    For those charging so high for those article, can I have your advice?

    How do you do it?
     
    Melisa455, Jul 19, 2014 IP
  2. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #2
    Hi, Melissa,

    Well, I can give you several pieces of advice. The best is in my link below, where I exlain how to make money in detail.

    however, not to get stuck on that and look like I'm only pushing an eBook, let me start with a recent example.

    At this website:
    http://www.shuttereaze.com/blog.php

    You'll see a whole series of blogs I wrote for this company. About 500 to 500 words each. They break down to $35 for each entry.

    So how do I do that? Well, it's a bit complex, but I had to start somewhere. The trick to charging well for copywriting / content writing is to build a solid portfolio behind you.

    Also, there is something to be said for bravado. Do you think you're worth $25 for a 1.5 page (500 word) article? then demand to be paid well for it.

    I'd also suggest writing about 10 articles and puslishing them on ezine articles or some of the other article sites like hubsot, buzzle and the like. post these links on your website. make these articles authoritative and showcase your knowledge. Yes, you'll get a few back links, but you can at least showcase your talent and it may get syndicated.

    The truth is that the reason I wrote my eBook was that to really tell you what to do, it would take quite a while. But writers write, and you should be writing high-quality content every day, regardless of whether or not you're being paid.

    Use the ODesk and elance platforms and do a few $5 per article jobs. At the very least, you'll have a starting point.
     
    SCookAAM, Jul 19, 2014 IP
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  3. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Active Member

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    #3
    Indeed there is much advise to be given but essentially it all comes to a few simple scenarios.

    You can either be nitpicky and select only the cream of the crop in the freelance websites like oDesk (i.e. looking only for the higher paid articles). In this case you would have to be very strong in your introduction with the potential employer and grab their attention right from the start. Problem here is that most of the times things will come down to your portfolio, so if you don't have a solid one, your chances to get the job are slim. Best case scenario is that the employer would simply request a test article before they tie up a relation with you and if you can really shine there, you will be good to go.

    The other simple way is to start small and build your way up as SCookAAM suggested. Write some cheaper paid articles for building your portfolio and impress the employer. Especially if they have a long-term project a good start means that you are in a better position to negotiate a better pay. If you spend a little more time in the freelancing websites you will see that there are many people seeking for a long-term partnership who are well aware of the business fluidity and thus offer more money to such partners.

    I personally relied on the second approach and it is working quite well for me. After an initial few articles of $5 each, the employer was satisfied with the job, they had another project in mind and I ended up getting frequent article requests of $15-$20 each. Generally, have an objective judgement of your skills and their value so you can sell yourself better. Like in any business, knowing your product and believing in it makes it much more easier to present and sell ;) Another piece of advice I can give you is to not be afraid to be selective to your employers too, just as they are selective towards you. There are just as many unprofessional buyers as there are sellers. With experience you will learn to determine a person's reliability and generosity even from their ad. Exchanging a few emails with them will give you the rest. Do not be afraid to turn down jobs if you think that they are paid too low or if you don't think they fit your interests.

    Hope that helps ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Jul 19, 2014 IP
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  4. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #4
    I know some professional writers who work for fully fledged writing companies that bid for large projects and take months to deliver because the writing is so specialised and focussed on the client. They earn good money in New Zealand and they would never consider writing for the fees charged here. Depending on your skills you should, perhaps, be aiming higher.
     
    sarahk, Jul 19, 2014 IP
  5. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #5
    @Melisa455, DP is a global marketplace, open for everyone and free to use. As such, there will be a lot of competition and people will always charge less than their competitors to win bids. These sites are also full of chintzy buyers/employers and they usually opt for people who offer their services for the cheapest rates. They don't care about quality at all; they just want words that will fill their websites. As far as content selling goes, folks ready to do a 500-worder for $2/3 do so mostly to grab a quick payment to be able to pay a handful of bills immediately. Any writer who seriously wants to develop a good and long-term career in content/copy-writing can't afford to work for long at such rates. One US dollar doesn't equate with the same monetary value everywhere. In countries where a dollar is a lot more compared to one unit of their currency, it can sometimes count as good money.
    You go to sites like Fiverr, Elance, Odesk, Freelancer etc. and the picture will not be so different. That, I believe, is also the case with content mills like Textbroker and iWriter.
    One more point ….. Content is only a small part of the BST and marketplace here. There aren't really much options to filter out people who can't deliver quality. So guys who are 'interest in apply for job' will also be seen around.

    I am not discouraging you. There are a lot of ways around you can try to get good-paying clients. Online communities like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter will help you quite a lot to spread the word about your services. There are some forums which are exclusively dedicated to writers and writing jobs you can try. (Cloudcrowd and Postloop are some good sites I have heard of. But since I haven't used them yet, I wouldn't be able to tell authentically how their pay is.) A lot of writers form their own groups on social platforms like Google+. You can be a part of such groups and hunt for prospects from there too. Search engines also come in quite handy to search for companies and clients who require content on a regular basis. (Try using search queries like 'writers wanted', 'hiring writers', 'long-term writers needed' etc.) It will fetch some good info.

    You already have a lot of excellent advice on that from @SCookAAM and @Rado_ch.
    There are just a few things I would like to add. At the outset, when you don't have a strong portfolio to showcase your work, it will be a bit difficult to come across clients paying well. You have to start from the best opportunity that's available and work your way up stepwise from there. Even if $5 jobs don't pay you anything, they can be used as samples of your past work and something to enrich your portfolio. However, don't be stuck there. As you learn new things with each successive assignment and your quality improves, step up your rates proportionally. Only when you value your skills and talent and are confident about delivering good, clientele will consider you for a high pay.
    Also, don't be very rigid in your choice. Keep yourself open to all types of writing. As you try your hand at different things, you will come to know what you are really passionate about and for what you have a flair.
    Focus only on categories that are lucrative. E.g. posting on forums and social media sites, writing articles etc. won't pay you as much as writing a sales copy or a business plan. Research which industries require content continually on a massive scale.
    Try to develop a style that appeals to the audience, is unique to you and makes you stand out.

    There are some useful suggestions you will find in these threads too -
    https://forums.digitalpoint.com/thr...s-directly-for-copy-writing-business.2718893/
    https://forums.digitalpoint.com/thr...content-or-advertise-content-writing.2708622/
    https://forums.digitalpoint.com/threads/how-and-where-to-get-high-paying-clients.2712504/

    My 2c. Hope it helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jul 19, 2014 IP
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  6. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #6
    Some good advice

    Like we've said, start small, it's okay to do 5 ro 10 jobs for peanuts. The nice thing about this type of work, is that you don't have to stay on the low side long.

    But be warned: adn't cheap out because of cheap clients. always do your best. Even for a $3 500 word article, make it great. Because even though you gave it away, it's still a sample.

    And I have to say that I disagree with those who take a dim view of sites like ODesk and Elance. I'm partial to ODesk myself, and it pays me bills and then some. Now, this is hardly the end all be all, but if utilized properly, ODesk can easily be a source of a $3000 monthly income. Or more.

    if you can do that, you can then go out and direct market clients. This is where the six figure writing income begins.
     
    SCookAAM, Jul 20, 2014 IP
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  7. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #7
    When I say cheap market prevails at sites like Odesk, Elance, Freelancer etc., I don't mean to look down on them or dismiss them completely. Certainly, you can find good-paying clients there – I myself have come across a few of them through some fellow writers who are active on these sites. But then, you should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff to spot these elites.:)
    Putting your heart and soul into a 500-words article to make it your best piece and selling it for a mere $3 or giving it away as a free sample is painful indeed! I guess a way out would be to publish it on your blog or website first and then ask clients to review it. This way, at least they won't be able to use the piece for free and you can showcase it later on as well. Or maybe you can ask your clients to byline the article carrying your name. This too can make you known to comparatively more prospects.
     
    Content Maestro, Jul 20, 2014 IP
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  8. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Active Member

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    #8
    Then it seems we are all on the same page here, especially about oDesk. This is where I do most of my freelancing work and even though its stuffed with hilariously low offers, there are plenty reasonable ones that can also bring you a long-term partnership too.

    We have a saying here in Bulgaria, that translated literally should go something like "for each train - its passengers" and in our example - there are volunteers for what we consider "cheap" as well as "high-paid" jobs. Nothing wrong with low offers - there are plenty of people willing to take them. Just be self-aware of your skills and their value and search for your "train" ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Jul 22, 2014 IP
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  9. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #9
    Great point! If you keep your eyes only on the high-paying ones, it takes a little time to get your first big break. But once you start moving up the ladder, there's no looking back.:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jul 22, 2014 IP
  10. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #10
    I read an interesting article the other day about how to price your writing services. I think I've read it before, and it was right on.

    We must keep in mind, especially "copywriters," those of us who right sales content, that what we're doing is extremely valuable. if you're not charging $50 bucks per hour min. you're not getting paid well.

    It's ironic, that as we become better writers, we actually make less money per hour because we're faster. That should not be the case. And it's important to remember that we're helping clients make money. That's a service that's valuable.

    Consider advertising. Any successful biz that's generating revenue thru advertising should be spending about thirty to fifty cents to make $1. That's hard reality.

    So, if you're hired to write a landing page, or sales letter, or... an AD, then you should get paid well.

    So I write a sales letter that you'll send out to customers with an average purchase price of $10,000. Why wouldn't I do that for $100 an hour? And frankly, I'd rather say, "ok, Mr. Client, I'll write you that sales letter, direct mail piece or landing page, but I want 5% of your gross revenue."

    So, they make 20 sales over the next year with my sales letter for $10,000 each and I get $10K. Seems fair, but it also makes my $200 for the letter up front cost seem pretty piddly by comparison, doesn't it? :)

    And that's our job, to educate clients on this point. If you can make somebody money, you should be able to command a high price for that priviledge. Virtually any price you want.

    So, whatever writing is done, try and follow up with your clients and get some stats on the performance of your work.
     
    SCookAAM, Jul 22, 2014 IP
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  11. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #11
    Nice points @SCookAAM.:) I really don't believe in charging 'per hour' because that differs a lot according to what you are writing about. For things I am very well-versed with, writing even 500 words in one hour seems a cakewalk; if it's a topic I am completely new to, coming up with a good 500-worder takes days esp. when massive research is involved. Even sometimes, the 'per word' criteria doesn't fit. A well-written 250-words blog post many a times has the potential to convey more than a 1500-words article that dryly fleshes out some jargon!
    Anyway, if you could post the link to that article up here, that would be great.:)
     
    Content Maestro, Jul 22, 2014 IP
  12. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #12
    SCookAAM, Jul 23, 2014 IP
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  13. ladymacbeth9

    ladymacbeth9 Active Member

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    #13
    I have never charged an hourly rate, but I am very frequently paid 5-8 cents a word or about $50 for a 450-550 word piece, depending on the kind of research that is involved. ( verifiable with screen captures) When I see the topic, I give them a research time estimate and rate and a cents per word rate. I know many people who are selling their work for 2-3 dollars per 500 words. You're worth more than that and it isn't cost effective and it doesn't give you time to do any reasonable research on the article to give them good quality work. If you have no option, then write for that, prove to them that you're good at what you do and if they order again, tell them that the cost will be slightly more. Move it up incrementally until you are fairly paid. Even with no research at all it is never right to take under $5 for a 500 word piece. Those who are using your work are making a fairly good sum of money from it when you count the advertising and the traffic that they achieve from what you gave them. It is not wrong to ask for a fair living from it.
     
    ladymacbeth9, Jul 23, 2014 IP
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  14. wasistdas

    wasistdas Active Member

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    #14
    I used to write articles in Russian and rates are different here and there. Sometimes it is 10 cents per word, sometimes it is 1-2 cents. I do not believe in quality copywriting for 5 cents per word and lower.
     
    wasistdas, Jul 23, 2014 IP
  15. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #15
    Thanks @SCookAAM for the link.:)
    Nice points @ladymacbeth9. Sometimes it's a tough job to reason out with such people. But I agree that any writer must be paid fairly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jul 23, 2014 IP
  16. Melisa455

    Melisa455 Active Member

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    #16
    That's right. Writing is not a fun thing to do . Sometimes it could be boring as well.
    That's why many people outsource writing.

    But most buyer only want cheap articles. And it is really not easy to explain to them to pay more for better quality article.
     
    Melisa455, Jul 24, 2014 IP
  17. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #17
    That's just it. you don't explain it to them. Those that know, know. Those that don't will never be convinced. Sure you can go up a dollar, but from $2 to $50... no way
     
    SCookAAM, Jul 24, 2014 IP
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  18. Emma Pollard

    Emma Pollard Active Member

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    #18
    Fees are one of those things which will always be a pain for writers because clients do not value quality writing enough. My fees are no where near the $50/500 words mark (not even half of that) but this is simply because I cannot find the clients willing to pay that amount.
    I am always being told that my prices are too high (often with the promise of future work). I am signed up with Elance and ODesk but find the same thing happens there too, it is becoming frustrating. Knowing that my work is making money for others but being paid a low wage for it is a little insulting at times.
     
    Emma Pollard, Jul 26, 2014 IP
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  19. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #19
    Can't agree more. And I think clients are saying your rates are high merely to justify what they are offering is right. Promises of future work are just to get you to deliver your best for what you're doing at the moment. It's a waste of time arguing with such people, but we as writers are mostly on the losing side when this happens. If you're making a living out of your writing or a major part of your earnings depends on it, you have to go by the client's way.
    If a client is not ready to hike the pay, deliver a standard/quality commensurate with the rates offered. I don't know if there's any other way around the problem.
     
    Content Maestro, Jul 26, 2014 IP
  20. Emma Pollard

    Emma Pollard Active Member

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    #20
    The only problem there is that I cannot lower my standards!! There is something in me that makes sure I always give my best at everything, it is just the way I am. I know that I am working too hard for too little but I will not sacrifice quality as my reputation is at stake.
     
    Emma Pollard, Jul 26, 2014 IP
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