Hiring a blogger is like opening a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get – unless you know the market rates for this kind of work.
Businesses that aren’t familiar with how bloggers base their rates, and what each price-point delivers, could waste a lot of time trying to find someone to meet their needs. I’ll explain how writers get paid, and break down what you might expect for different ranges of cost.
But first, you have a little soul searching.
Before figuring out what to pay, it’s important to consider what a blog is worth to your business. This step will not only help you determine value, it will also bring clarity to your strategy.
Are you just looking to add some filler to your website once in a while? Or are you serious about turning your blog into a business building tool? It makes a big difference in the type of writer you need, and hence, what you will pay.
There are three ways bloggers get paid: by the hour, by the word, or by the job. Each method includes pros and cons for both the buyer and writer.
By the Hour – Businesses are used to paying for services by the hour, and many bloggers are happy to accommodate. The problem is, unless you’ve agreed to a cap on billable hours, you may find the cost is unpredictable. Some articles take more time to research than others, especially if the writer is not familiar with your industry. You will also need to consider time spent editing and making corrections.
By the Word – Paying by the word eliminates the vagaries of hourly billing, assigning value to output instead of time. This approach is often taken by agencies that manage teams of writers because it helps them keep the budget in check. The per-word rates are determined, in part, by the writer’s experience, reputation for quality, areas of specialization, editorial services, and SEO expertise. You can expect to pay anywhere from 6 cents a word on the low end, to as much as $3.
By the Post – Some bloggers charge a flat fee for every post, usually with an agreed upon minimum word count. This arrangement sounds ideal for buyers since they know how much the end result will cost, but there are drawbacks. Writers who get paid by the job often undercharge for their services and focus on reaching the minimum word count in the shortest time possible. Getting to the next job is their priority, not delivering creativity and quality, so if you hire a writer who charges a flat rate per post, I recommend getting a sample of his or her work first.
You’ll find a wide spectrum of prices when trying to hire a blogger. A post can cost as little as a hot lunch, or hundreds of dollars, so it’s best to go in with a sense of what you are getting for your hard earned money.
Every industry has bottom feeders, and you will find plenty on freelancing sites where every job is a bidding war. It won’t take you long to find people who will write your post for as little as $5-$10.
If you choose to go this route, be aware you are paying way below market rates and will likely get the following:
* A writer who doesn’t speak English as a first language. Even if he or she speaks it well, the writing will likely sound stiff (this isn’t a slam on foreigners. English grammar is tough to learn, and writing it with a sense of intimacy is even harder if you aren’t a native speaker).
* A post full of grammatical and spelling errors
* Plagiarized text
* A writer with no professional experience, nor any expertise in marketing, SEO, or eCommerce
* No editorial services
You can find writers with at least some experience at this level. They might be writing part-time to supplement their income, or they may be just starting out as freelancers. These writers typically charge an average of $40 to $75 per post, the bare minimum I would pay for professional work. Here’s what you might expect:
* A coherent post with fewer grammatical and spelling errors, although you will likely find some
* Not much creativity. These writers can’t afford the time to make their posts stand out from the rest; they need to bang them out right and left without losing a beat.
* Some SEO knowledge, if you’re lucky
* Short posts, most of them averaging 300-500 words. Unfortunately, length matters to Google and readers. Short articles don’t offer much value to people (unless you are Seth Godin).
These bloggers have been around, and have a large stack of impressive work behind them. At this price, you should a expect a well-researched and professionally crafted piece of 600-1000 words. In addition, you can expect:
* SEO best practices, with long-tail keyword phrases in the title, headers and copy
* Original copy, even if it includes paraphrased ideas from research
* Ability to conduct a good interview with a knowledge source, allowing the writer to get what he or she needs to write an excellent post
* Clear, concise and compelling writing, with few passive verbs and no clichés
* Writing that speaks in the audience’s voice, making the brand relatable to its customers
* A format and style designed to captivate online readers
* Ability to update your blog using a content management system (CMS), leaving you with a complete and well-optimized post to promote to your readers
Our open rate for blog posts is 40 cents per word, although we cap the charges at $240 for up to 1,000 words. Clients who sign a long-term contract for inbound marketing services pay less, and see a greater ROI as a result.
Businesses know spending a few hundred dollars on an ad is a standard cost, and what they get is temporary exposure. A blog post, on the other hand, can drive traffic to your website – and help you convert visitors into customers – for years. My advice is to aim for the best quality writer you can afford. It’s much more likely to pay off in the end.
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