Hiring a Writer: What is this going to cost me?

Once you know whether or not you need a writer, where to find a writer, and what to look for when hiring a writer, you come to the most important question of all.

What will this cost? This is important to understand so that you can get the most value out of your investment, and so you can be sure it is an investment worth making for your business.

There are some resources out there to give you a general idea of what the market rate for a writer is. The Editorial Freelancer’s Association has a chart detailing the market rates for editors and writers, as well as the amount of work that you can reasonably expect to have completed per hour for individual jobs, and I would highly recommend a visit there to familiarize yourself with what to expect. They are also a potential resource for finding a writer.

When you post the details of your project somewhere, and you start to receive bids, you will see that the bids you receive vary drastically and they are not all in line with the recommendation for market rates on the EFA website. That’s because the rates are meant to be more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. They give you an idea of what to budget, and also provide a means of evaluating the quality of bids you are receiving. It is definitely important to be aware of the market rate for writing and editing services before attempting to hire a writer.

Beware of any bids that are drastically higher or lower than the going rate. You may get lucky and find a good writer who is just starting out and bidding much lower than the going rate to gain experience. But be aware that this is a gamble that you are taking. Some people are okay with that, others are not. High bids can also be problematic. Sometimes they are the result of a writer who has no clue what to charge due to inexperience, so they just throw any old number out there. Other times, high bids can be a scam. If you find a writer that you really like who bids high, find out what it is that they have that gives them the right to charge so much. Maybe they have produced quantifiable and stellar results for multiple organizations in the past and are thus worth it. Maybe they will be open to negotiate as well if you are up to date on the market rate for their services.

It’s also important to know how different writers charge and the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches. The rates will most likely be charged by the word, the hour, the article, or as a retainer.

By the word: This is a method taken by some writers, however it is a more popular approach for editors. Be careful, you could sign a deal to pay by the word and get a writer who tries to fluff a piece unnecessarily to make more money. Having a minimum and maximum word count is acceptable either way, but you also want the words to be pointed and powerful rather than arbitrary.

By the hour: A newer writer may choose this route, as they are still learning the ropes and they don’t have a clear idea on how long they may spend on a particular piece. This is also a good choice for writing that may require a lot of research, since it may take longer than a piece where the research is already there and it just needs to be organized. It is also good for a project that doesn’t have clear parameters, since it is impossible to really know how long a project will take if you aren’t exactly sure what you need as a client. This method is less likely to be padded, but it isn’t as predictable. Some writers object strongly to this method as they feel it isn’t professional, but it really should boil down to what works best for your company and the writer.

By piece: This is the most common method for paying for articles, and it is more likely to be consistent and predictable. The writer will probably want to set a word count range for the article, with different prices for articles of varying lengths. The amount of research required will also affect this rate.

By retainer: This is best for long term projects. If you find a writer you like and you have a blog that needs constant maintenance, hiring on retainer is the probably going to be the best bet for you and your company.

It is not unreasonable to set up some type of trial, whether it is a trial article to see if the writer is right for you, or a trial run that lasts 30 to 90 days to see if your long term goals can be met. However, compensation for the trial can and should be offered unless the work is so awful that it can’t be used. Definitely work out the terms of this before moving forward.

Finally, make sure you clarify the number of drafts that the writer expects to provide you with, especially if the bid is by the piece or on retainer. Find out how flexible the writer is. If the contract specifies two drafts, will they be okay with it if you occasionally need a third one? Will they want to charge more? If so, what is the charge for an additional draft? This will be different for every writer and could have an effect on who you ultimately decide to hire for the job.

Hopefully this article has managed to provide you with some tools and tips to help you choose a content writer for your company. Finding the right person for the job can make or break a business, regardless of what the job is, and this holds true for content writers as well. If you have any further questions, or would like to speak with us at Awen Books and More about our content writing or any other services, please send us a message. We look forward to hearing from you.

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