How to Pay for a Professional Freelance Writer

Paying for professional SEO blog content for your brand's website is possible for every business.

Hiring a professional freelance writer for your business not only helps boost your brand awareness, website visits, and sales, but it gives you more time to focus on the aspects of the business you are passionate about, without constantly getting bogged-down with research and content creation. While you likely see the value in freelance writing, as many businesses do, you’re likely left with the looming question: how am I going to pay for a freelance writer?

We’re breaking down the basics of hiring a freelance writer for your business, and how you can find the funds to add a professional writer to your team.

What Do Professional Freelance Writers Do?

Professional freelance writers are typically self-employed and write for a variety of clients, including companies, small businesses, and individuals. Freelance writers create high-quality written content, from blog articles, to white pages, technical guides, and more.

Why Does Your Business Need a Freelance Writer?

The truth is, hiring a freelance writer is expensive! The good news? It’s also worth it. Over 70% of professional marketers say content marketing increases customer engagement in a brand, as well as increasing potential clients and bringing them to your site (Optinmonster).

Effective marketing requires a professional who understands SEO, keywords, and more, and requires someone to spend a great deal of time on research and content strategy. To put it simply, most business owners don’t have the expertise or time to create the high quality content their business deserves.

Your customers will also notice a well-told story in your brand marketing. Good storytelling is crucial when it comes to securing a loyal customer/client base, and even when you have a strong sense of brand identity for your business, it can be difficult to write through that perspective in every piece of content on your site and in your brand marketing.

Hiring a freelance writer allows you to bring amazing stories to your customers in everything your brand puts out, all integrated with the marketing tools to consistently reach a broader customer base.

How to Find a Freelance Writer

There’s a lot that goes into hiring a freelance writer, but the most difficult is simply choosing the right one for your business. Here are some insider tips:

  • Search Multiple Platforms - Doing a quick Google search will turn up various sites to find writers, collective lists of favorite freelancers, and so-on. There is no perfect place to find your writer, but whatever you do, make sure you check out multiple places and get a feel for who’s out there, so you can make an educated choice.

  • Ask Questions - Just like a regular job interview, you’ll want to make sure you ask your potential writer as many questions as possible, so you know they’ll be perfect for your brand. Have they written in your industry before? Can they adapt to your brand voice? Do they understand how to write for your audience? Preparing questions for your potential freelance writer will help you narrow down your candidates.

  • Steer Clear of Content Mills - You’re likely to come across a content mill (or many) in your search, but you probably shouldn’t use them. Not only because they don’t guarantee quality content, but because they greatly undervalue hardworking writers.

Sure, if you really want to cut back on costs, there are writers out there who will churn out a 1,000 word article for you, in return for a measly $10. However, there are inherent risks in hiring freelance writers from these sites.

You’re likely going to end up with a writer who simply doesn’t know what they’re doing, doesn’t include proper SEO or keywords, and there’s a low chance the writer is going to put work into ensuring they match your brand’s unique voice or vision. Publishing sub-par articles on your blog is a sure way to seem unprofessional and turn potential customers away.

How Do Freelance Writers Get Paid?

Freelance writers are typically self-employed and contracted by various businesses to write for them, and can be paid multiple ways. The most popular include:

  • Per word

  • Per hour

  • Per project/article

Typically, a freelance writer will provide their client an invoice after completing the writing project, that can be paid however the writer and client would like (direct deposit, checks, Paypal, etc.). However, some writers have been known to go on a payroll, or be a more typical employee with benefits. It depends on the writer, as well as the client, so no matter how unique your situation is, there’s likely a freelance writer willing to work with you to come up with a payment option that works for you both.

How Do Freelance Writers Determine Their Pricing?

If you’re confused by the large range of pricing between freelance writers, you’re not alone. In fact, as a freelance writer myself, determining my own rates was one of the most difficult parts of the process. What I learned is that there are various factors that go into pricing, including:

  • Degrees and certificates - some freelance writers are self-taught, while others have advanced degrees, licenses, and certificates relating to writing and/or their particular niche, and this typically means a higher rate.

  • Years as a freelance writer - the amount of time someone has been freelance writing is perhaps the biggest determining factor in their pricing. In fact, most writers increase their prices annually, so keep this in mind while hiring a writer.

  • Services offered - each form of freelance writing varies in complexity, demand, and value. Blog articles are generally cheaper and easier to find a writer for than complex technical write-ups or white pages.

  • Topics covered - some topics pay more than others, both because they require more research and professional knowledge, but because there are fewer freelance writers in that topic. Someone who specializes in writing beauty and fashion articles likely charges less than a freelance real estate writer, simply because the latter usually requires specialized training, and has fewer writers producing content in that topic.

  • Inclusions - many freelance writers include search engine optimization, keyword integration, back-linking and more, but some may not. Take a look at what your potential freelance writers include in their work if you’re not understanding a particularly high or low rate.

  • Personal value - last but not least, a freelance writer’s rates comes down to how much they value their work. Someone may charge less simply because they love freelance writing and want to take on more clients, and some may charge more because they only want to foster a particular group of clients who are willing to pay them what they believe they are worth. In the same regard, take your time choosing a freelance writer, and make sure you choose someone who’s rates you agree with in regards to their work.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Professional Freelance Writer?

Finally the moment you’ve all been waiting for: how much does hiring a freelance writer cost? Like most aspects of freelance writing, there isn’t a set rate that most writers abide by. It’s a very ambiguous, personal process determining rates. However, here is what you can expect to pay, based on the most recent industry averages available:

Using these averages, you can expect to pay anywhere from $180 - $600 for a 1,200 word article.

Yes, that’s a big range. Keep in mind all the above factors that go into who freelancers determine their rates, and you’ll quickly be able to determine which rate will be closer to what you’ll be paying for the particular services you’re looking for.

If you can’t shell out 600 dollars for a freelance writer, you’re likely not going to be hiring someone with 15+ years of experience, who’s worked for large companies and has a full track record of how their articles perform. However, $180 isn’t exactly cheap for one SEO blog article. Even if you know your business needs a professional writer, it can be difficult to pull the trigger, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Finding the Funds to Hire a Freelance Writer

Hiring a professional freelance writer is not cheap, but it’s a business decision that has such a high return on investment, it pays for itself shortly after your initial investment. When you’re just developing your marketing or expanding what you have, here are the best ways to get the funds to hire a freelance writer:

  • Begin to build your story

A freelance writer generally looks for a brand story to work into their writing. If your brand and the story you envision is already present in your marketing, your freelance writer won’t have to build from the ground-up, and you won’t have to pay to change your existing marketing if your freelance writer creates an entirely new brand story for you.

  • Invest in your current marketing

The best way to get the funds for a freelance writer is by enhancing the marketing you currently have. Whether that’s monetarily, by running paid ads for your business, or simply investing more time into crafting unique content marketing for your business until you have the sales to invest in a professional freelance writer.

  • Survey your ideal customers/client base

Wondering if investing in a freelance writer is worth it? Ask you existing customers! You can use a client survey to ask your current customers how they found your business, whether they would like a blog on a topic within your business, and anything else you’re thinking of integrating. Customer reviews are also a great resource to pull common positive feedback from, which can be used to build your brand story.

  • Hire a beginning freelance writer, for lower rates

If you are committed to hiring a freelance writer and bringing content marketing into your business, you can try it out and get started for a lower rate by hiring a beginning freelance writer. Every business has to start somewhere, and that includes freelance writers. It can be a great way to test out freelance writing for your business, and help a new business along the way.

How Much Do Beginning Freelance Writers Make?

Everyone’s freelance writing rates vary, but with annual rate increases as the norm for freelance writers, you’re practically guaranteed to save a lot of money if you hire a freelance writer just getting started (even if they have been writing for a while in a different industry or capacity).

When I began seriously writing blog articles for clients, I looked for jobs that paid about $25 for a 500-word article, $50 for a 1,200 word article, and $75 for anything over 1,200 words.

These rates were low then and are low now, but it was completely worth it for me at the time, when I was just starting out as a freelance writer. It wasn’t my full-time career-- I was a student and intern at the time I was charging these rates-- and simply, these were the highest rates I could find jobs for. That’s just the way it goes when you’re starting out, and I was okay with it.

If you are looking for a low-cost beginning freelance writer, you’ll likely find someone who can work within your budget. Just remember to be realistic in what a fair price is for a beginning freelance writer; if you’re paying content mill prices, you’re likely receiving content mill work.

In Conclusion…

Hiring a freelance writer can be expensive, but if you are committed to building a successful brand through content marketing, there is always someone who can work within your budget and help tell the story of your amazing business, so you can spend your time living your dream!

Hey, are you looking for a freelance writer?

If you’ve gotten all the way through this article, you’re the kind of business owner I love working with-- passionate and invested in helping your business grow! JSSWrites is my personal freelance writing business, and I hope you’ll check it out.