How Much Should I Pay a Freelance Writer?

Just like with many other professions the amount you should pay a freelance content writer will depend on how experienced the writer is, how many other writers are in the market, how complex your writing task is, and many other factors. 

One of those factors is that the freelance writing industry is completely globalised, meaning you don’t have to hire a freelance writer in your home country as there are lots of places online to find freelance writers and content writing services from all over the world.

Hopefully, this guide will help you determine how much you should pay for quality freelance writing.

How to find the right freelance writing rate

Before you can work out exactly how much you should pay a freelance writer the first thing you should do is determine the type of content that you require and the complexities of it. This will help you to work out your budget.

Start by asking yourself these seven questions:

1. What type of content do you require?

The first factor that will determine your budget is what type of content that you require your freelance writer to produce. For example, do you need short product descriptions, 5000 word professionally researched and 100% unique whitepapers to be written, or something in between?

Essentially the more complex the content, the higher the knowledge and skills your writer will need, which will increase how much you have to pay them.

2. How complex is your writing task?

The next thing to determine is if you simply need a freelance writer to write your content or will it also involve research, editing, extensive sourcing, etc. All of these additional tasks will add time to how long your project will take to complete, so will add to the cost you will have to pay.

For example, let’s say you want an article written about the benefits of CBD oil. If you just want a short 500-word, first-person account of some of the benefits with anecdotal evidence presented then this might only take a couple of hours to write versus a longer article that requires the writer to analyze various research studies, interview experts, and then write up their findings.

3. What type of expertise do you need?

If you require your freelance writer to have qualifications in the field that they are writing about then you can expect to pay more than if you just need a simple piece of writing done. Not only will an experienced and well-qualified writer produce better content it will also rank higher in search engines.

Google for example has what they call their E.A.T algorithm to determine rankings of content in various fields, such as health content. E.A.T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness – essentially the more expertise your writer has the more they deem the content to be authoritative, and that users can trust its accuracy.

4. How fast do you need the work to be done?

Typically, if you want your project to be written, edited, and delivered back to you in a short period of say 48-hours you can expect to pay more than if it is to be delivered within 7 business days.

The reason for this is those freelance writers will have their own schedule that may involve regular work so to fit you in they will have to make adjustments to their schedule so they will expect to be paid more. Although, if you only require a short piece of writing to be done then this might not be a major factor.

5. Do you want to use the authors ‘by-line’ or just have content ghost-written?

Freelance writers with experience and a large portfolio of published work that they put their name to will expect to be paid more than a writer who just ghostwrites content for clients without public attribution.

This is because the former has invested a lot of time over the years to build up a good reputation and social media following, so if you want them to put their name to their work on your website or blog you can expect to pay them more.

6. Can you provide detailed project instructions?

What I mean by this is that if you can provide a detailed content brief to your freelance writer for exactly what you want to be written then this will take them less time to do and will involve a lot less research and editing.

They will essentially be able to read your brief and then write up your content quickly, which will mean you won’t need to pay them as much for the project overall, and the writer won’t need to be as experienced. A detailed brief might include everything from the structure of the article to be written, research to include in the article, SEO research and keywords to include, and other articles to use for inspiration.

7. What level of service do you require?

Finally, you need to determine if you can manage the relationship with your freelance writer yourself or do you need to work with a content writing company that will manage their writers and simply give you the completed work.

For example, if you hire a freelance writer directly you will need to give them detailed project briefs, do your own SEO keyword research, and be able to edit the final version of projects to ensure it is up to a high standard. If you don’t have these skills, then working with an agency might be a better option for you.  

How do freelance writers charge?

Now that you know what type of writer you require you will be much better able to find a good fit for your needs. When you find your writer, you will then have different options on how they are paid. The most common ways writers charge is per hour, per word, or per project.

Per word

Per word is the most common way freelance writers charge. When you order content this way you can easily set your budget regardless of if you are ordering short-form or long-form content by setting the desired word count and then times that by the writer’s rate-per-word.

For example, if a freelance writer charges $0.08 per word then a 1000-word article will cost you $80. Typically, freelance writers will charge anywhere from $0.01 to $0.30 per word – this is a huge range so it will depend on how experienced they are and what level of expertise you require.

Hourly

Paying hourly is another option you have but is less common with freelance writers. For example, you could agree to pay $30 per hour of their time and set an hourly budget for each piece of content you want to be written. This is harder to work out but could be a better option if your content requires a lot of other work such as research and SEO optimization to be included. On a range of online platforms, you can find writers from as little as $5 per hour to over $200 per hour.

Fixed-rate 

Finally, you can also work out a flat fee to pay freelance writers for the total project – this could be a combination of the above two methods, for example, you could give your writer a 2000-word budget (at $0.08 per word) and include 5 hours of research (at $20 per hour) – which would give you a total project fee of $260.

The bottom line

The amount you pay freelance writers depends on several factors such as how experienced they are, how qualified they are to write about the topics they cover, the length of your content, the type of content you want to be written, etc. 

Keep in mind when hiring a freelance writer, you are not taking on an employee so you only have to pay them their rate and not all of the other costs you normally would with an employee. At the end of the day the more you pay the higher the quality of the work you will receive and the better it will perform.

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