Copywriting Rates for Wordsmiths and Purists

The following guest post was written by Mike Beeson. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.

Every time I write something about Copywriting Rates it stirs up a hornets’ nest of emotions.  Yes of course people have strong feelings about the value of their services and why they should be adequately rewarded.  And don’t they have every right to complain about the devaluation and ‘dumbing down’ of their professional expertise by dilettantes, online opportunists and semi-literate also-rans?

The real question is, however: does anyone – other than the more ‘traditionalist’ copywriting fraternity – really care one jot?  Isn’t the reality that the brave new online world is more concerned with the bigger picture of instant and effective communication, rather than pondering over the minutiae of copywriting craft skills?


Value vs. Quality

Many would argue that setting out information on the online page requires little more than clerical-level skills which in no way merit the higher levels of remuneration that the more strategic elements of online communication deserve.

Yet others would argue that the market for copywriters is split straight down the middle.  They would say that ‘content writers’ satisfy the need for contractor-volumes of copy that the omnivorous online medium demands.  On another level, they would acknowledge that professional-calibre copywriting and conceptual skills have a definite place in those areas of the marketing mix where persuasive and attention-grabbing ideas that are well-executed are essential to maximising returns on investment.

This has been given further credence with Google’s re-emphasis on ‘quality content’ as the minimum requirement in its search strategy.  Webmasters and their SEO colleagues, they say, will only be rewarded with higher web page rankings if they pay heed to these strictures.


It’s All Coming Full-circle!

For many copywriters, ‘quality content’ means there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The fact that search engines no longer tolerate lines of keyword-stuffed copy is great news for every purist on the block.  Google’s ever-improving algorithmic capacity to analyse semantics and context are beginning to sift out those who, for long enough, have been trying to ‘game’ the search engines by using deceptive techniques.

I mention this only because fluent, persuasive and creative copy has seen its stock rise in recent months.  Admittedly, this has been from a low base-level and it may take an even bigger online cultural shift to restore copywriters to their Mad Men status in the creative pantheon.

The fact is, online searches are about speed, convenience and measuring one supplier against another for attributes such as quality, reputation and value for money.  Price comparisons in all fields will probably intensify, and there’s no reason why copywriting should be an exception.


Use the Web With Care

Copywriters who feel their services are undervalued should probably avoid the Internet entirely if they aren’t going to be massively frustrated by the process of being judged on price, and price alone!  It’s one thing to say you’ll stick to your guns when it comes to pricing, but this policy can only result in machine-gun nests manned by economic skeletons.

In other words, online Dutch auctions are probably here to stay, especially when it comes to clients looking for ad hoc or fire-fighting copywriting solutions.  The best bet for those with enough self-belief and cash reserves to stay the course is to use your brilliantly-optimised website as a calling card, a foot-in-the-door and an entrée to a longer-term client relationship where a copywriter’s skills are needed, respected and valued beyond the here and now.


About the author:

Mike Beeson is a UK freelance copywriter specialising in website and SEO copywriting. Mike has written extensively about the many issues surrounding the rates copywriters charge.  His company, Buzzwords Limited, was established over 20 years ago and is located in Knutsford, Cheshire (south Manchester).


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1 comment so far ↓

#1 Martin Sayers on 07.23.12 at 12:09 pm

Great post Mike

I have always felt there are two markets at work within the commercial writing field – ‘content writers’ who will bash out keyword heavy pieces that are low on quality and cost little, as opposed to ‘copywriters’ – skilled professionals offering a service that is heavy on quality and attracts a higher fee.

The Google improvements certainly seem to be favouring the latter as what works for the human reader increasingly works for the search engine, meaning quality copy that engages and informs is more vital than ever.

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