Freelance Copywriter Rates: What to Charge & How to Earn More
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Freelance writing rates are tricky to determine, and they can be even more so for a specialized group of writers: copywriters. This is one of the most highly-paid gigs in the freelance writing community because it requires an innate sense of what drives people to make purchases for their clients. What can you expect from a freelance copywriter rate?
If you have been thinking about shifting from your current career to copywriting, this article has everything you need to get started. You'll learn:
- The different payment structures and their pitfalls
- Average rates for specific types of projects
- What factors influence your pricing
- Where to turn for more education related to copywriting and writing for a career in general
When you are ready to see what you could make with freelance writing, it's time to dive into this article.
- Payment Structures for Freelance Copywriters
- Average Freelance Copywriter Rate
- Factors in Setting Your Rates: Writing Rates, Benchmarks, Averages
- Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates
Payment Structures for Freelance Copywriters
It can sometimes be a bit challenging to figure out what to charge for your services, especially when it comes to freelance writing rates. Some people advocate a payment structure based on an hourly rate, while others espouse a per-word rate or a project fee. Let's take a closer look at what and how a client can expect to pay you.
For many people who are making the shift from traditional work to freelance writing, it might make sense for them to charge by the hour. The downside to this is that you are directly trading your time for dollars, which may not be ideal. This makes copywriting a bit less lucrative as there are only a finite number of hours that you can work in a given day.
There's also a catch when it comes to charging by the hour.
New copywriters tend to take more time to refine their words and projects. Over time, you will sharpen your skills and have less time invested in each individual project. This might seem like a good thing - after all, you'll be able to take on more work!
However, you will also find that you are making less money per project.
Think of it this way: You spend 2 hours creating a landing page for your first client. At $30 per hour, you would make $60. After refining your skills for a while, this same landing page may only take you one hour, with a tidy sum of just $30.
You lose out on some of the money you would have been able to make off each client. This means that you could up your freelance copywriter rate to make up for the deficit or you could move to a different payment model.
Per Project Fee
Once you become more efficient at copywriting, an hourly rate may no longer make the most sense for you. Instead, you should set rates for each type of project that you plan to take on. A brochure might cost your client $800, even while a short landing page might only cost $300.
This is great for when you become faster at coming up with the copy that your clients need. It may only take you an hour to put together that landing page, but your client doesn't need to know that!
As a bonus, they won't be micro-managing you at every turn to try to keep your hourly rate down. Charing a per-project fee saves time and money for your client because they don't have to worry about what the final bill will be or how efficiently you worked.
Plus, this allows you to take breaks as needed. If you want to spend 30 minutes browsing on social media, you don't have to worry about letting your client know that you are off the clock for a little bit. As long as everything gets done by the deadline, you have the freedom to work as you see fit.
Per Word Rate
Last but not least, a good basis for a freelance copywriter rate is based on the per-word rate. If your client knows that they want a personal website that has 2,000 words worth of copy on it, then you might want to charge them for each one of those words.
This can range anywhere from a few cents per word to $1 per word or more.
The downside to charging per word is that you might have to write a lot of words to come up with the final polished version. You won't be paid for the words that aren't used on the final version.
One thing to note is that word count for copywriting is oftentimes short and to the point. It requires a skilled wordsmith to put together words that will compel a company's clients to take action. However, fewer words often tend to convert better than long paragraphs and essays. This means that you may not make much if you only write a few hundred words.
Average Freelance Copywriter Rate
If you want to know what to charge for your services, it often means narrowing down your skillset to what you are good at. Different types of services tend to garner different rates and wages. Knowing what the freelance writing rates benchmarks are for each type of copy can help you set the right pricing.
First, we will take a look at the copywriting fees companies can expect to pay for a general website copy. This can vary somewhat depending on how long the page will be and its overall intention. A freelance writer who creates a sales page may charge more than one who is crafting an "about us" or mission statement page.
With that being said, a standard web page usually costs between $200 and $500.
If you find jobs on Upwork that are specifically for sales pages, most copywriters will charge a little bit more. Upwork notes that a sales landing page could set a client back anywhere from $4,500 to $10,000.
Brochures are an important piece of literature for most companies, and they often use Upwork to collaborate on these sales tools. They can function like a sales letter, or they can share basic information about what the brand has to offer. A three-page brochure will often set a company back by about $1,000.
A blog post is a task that even a company with top talent may want to farm out to a freelance writer. A team of flexible writers who are available whenever you need them most can make it easier for brands to keep up with their content. They would rather pay money to post instead of spending the time and effort to craft their own blog post.
Oftentimes, copywriting fees for a blog post may charge per word starting around $0.05 per word and working their way to $1 per word or more. Some people prefer to charge a set amount of $50 to $100 per short post.
Experienced writers who are crafting longer posts (think 2,000 words or more, also known as pillar content) may be able to charge more. The freelance content writer rates usually look more like $400 to $500 per post.
A pay-per-click (PPC) ad is a different type of copywriting altogether. It is best to charge a flat rate for this type of project, as PPC ads tend to be very short and can take a long time to refine and put together. It might seem easy at first glance to string together 30 to 90 characters, but it takes some real skill.
Companies who are using Upwork to post their PPC ad jobs will expect to pay more than a few dollars for completion. They know that it may take multiple rounds of editing to come up with copy that converts. This is why they are usually okay with paying up to $200 per ad.
Some companies use Upwork to evolve with their business goals, and this can mean interacting with their clients. Freelance writing can be a great alternative to hiring someone to craft a regular newsletter.
This requires some great insight into the brand and how they want to present to their customers, as well as what their value offer is. You can start a remote-first company simply by writing newsletters for other brands to expand their reach.
As a result, you can charge more for this as it provides an integrated solution that helps your clients reach more people.
A newsletter could earn you anywhere from $50 to $400 depending on the length of the newsletter, what they want to be included, and how many people it is set to reach (and you can learn how to start your own newsletter side hustle here).
Factors in Setting Your Rates: Writing Rates, Benchmarks, Averages
As you might imagine, there are some important factors to consider when it comes to setting your freelance copywriter rate. Companies can evolve their contingent workforce and choose the unique solution that helps enterprises grow without hiring a full-time staffer.
Consider that Microsoft 365 and Upwork are great options for your new business. You might even find that top brands like Coty collaborated with Upwork on upcoming projects.
Here is what you need to know about what companies are willing to pay and how you can effectively set your rates.
The most obvious determining factor affecting copywriting rates is your overall skill level. Skilled copywriters on Upwork cost more because they can work efficiently and produce real results for their clients. This is one reason enterprises work with freelancers; they can turn projects around much faster than their typical team members.
If you can write quickly and efficiently, then you may want to consider upping your rates, especially if you find that the hourly rate is the right business model for you.
While you don't necessarily need a degree in English or marketing to hang out your shingle as a freelance copywriter, some education can help command higher rates. Major brands like AirBnB works with Upwork, and those brands may expect a certain level of experience from their writers.
You can still make the most of online education if you don't have a four-year degree in a related field. Here are a few courses you may want to consider:
If you know that you want to create blog posts and take on more jobs on Upwork or Fiverr, then Income School might be the right fit for you. They dive deep into how to make the most of any given blog post or YouTube video so that you can get real results for your clients.
In turn, your clients will appreciate your work, and you may find yourself booked for routine work with the same clients.
For more information on Income School, see our full review of this platform here.
Pricing: $449 for the first year, $249 for each subsequent year
Become a Freelance Copywriter in 7 Days
This highly-rated course on Udemy advertises exactly what it offers: the skills to Become a Freelance Copywriter in 7 Days. If you have a week to spare or can hustle in your off hours, you can start to implement their system to find a paying client in the first week of your new business endeavor.
While it is a relatively short course, it might give you the business acumen you need to establish a robust copywriting business.
Pricing: $129.99 but you can often find discounts for Udemy courses
The Creative Copywriter
Last but not least, writers who want a robust course specifically geared toward copywriting rather than SEO or blog post content writers will want to check out The Creative Copywriter's Freelance Copywriter Kickstarter Course. You'll learn everything you need to get started:
- How to write for business and incorporate your own style
- How to work with clients
- Branding, marketing efforts, and writing for an audience
- Setting up shop and marketing yourself
Plus, you can walk through all of these steps with a community of like-minded peers who are also trying to figure out what their growing copywriting business could look like.
Pricing: $290 with COVID discount
Industry and Specialized Fields
Some industries are simply more lucrative than others. If you can work in a highly specific field, such as cryptocurrency, finance, or IT management, you might be able to charge premium rates. For example, Microsoft worked with Upwork freelancers to complete projects where they want more contingent workforce management.
This is an example of how a company with top talent found on Upwork might collaborate on an upcoming project.
Freelancers who have a lot of knowledge in a given area can charge a premium for technical writing rates.
Also, if you have a specific skill set that is highly specialized, such as SEO or transforming dry website copy into something sales-worthy, then you might be able to charge more. You can do what you do best all day long and earn a lucrative living simultaneously. As you find that a brand will post more jobs, you might become more highly qualified for subsequent work.
Last, your experience level can dictate what you are able to charge when it comes to your freelance copywriter rate. Someone with a background in writing or marketing may be able to collaborate on an integrated team better than someone who has no experience.
Your freelance writing rates are going to be determined by how much proof you have that you know what to do and how to make good sales copy. Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork as a staffing solution allow your past clients to leave reviews for you, which can offer social proof for your project team members that you have what it takes.
Pro Tip: Work on building up a robust portfolio, even if you have to do so through unpaid or lower-paid work. With a little bit of proof that you have the talent it takes to finish one of the 10000 projects on Upwork for copywriters, you will be that much further ahead of the competition.
Setting Your Freelance Writing Rates
There is good money to be found in freelance copywriting, but you have to know where to look and refine your skills. The freelance copywriter rate that you can reasonably charge will ultimately depend on your skills, experience, and education, as well as what you will specifically be writing.
Freelance writing can be a lucrative career for those who have a way with words. For more information on how to make a good living off your writing, here is some related reading to help any freelance writer build their remote-first company:
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