Freelance writer rates: As with all things in life, you get what you pay for
There's a blog post over at ClearVoice entitled "15 Scenarios When to Pay Freelance Writers Higher Rates."
I wanted to respond to the post right in the comments but, alas, the comments were closed.
So I'm writing my reply here as a blog post.
ClearVoice lays out the value of freelance writers, average freelance writer rates, and, as promised, 15 scenarios in which you should expect freelance writers to charge a premium.
Here's a quick recap of those 15 scenarios:
- You need fast turnaround.
- You kill or change the project.
- The freelancer has to do research or "grunt work"
- You change project milestones.
- Your scope ... it be creeping!
- The freelancer has to do interviews.
- You expect SEO and (I hate this next phrase but it gets the job done) content atomization, or preparing the content for consumption on different social channels.
- You want more than the normal rounds of edits.
- You need your writer to find or create graphics, or to collaborate with a designer.
- You expect a pitch before the writing even begins.
- You want your freelancer to (another dreaded phrase) amplify the content - or spread it around on social for you.
- You want the writer to attend an event.
- You want the piece ghosted, i.e., the freelancer's name won't appear on the piece.
- You want a one-off project.
- You want a writer who comes with connections and an audience.
Those scenarios are right on.
But ... two scenarios in which you should expect to pay higher rates for a freelance writer seem loudly absent:
- (#16.) When you want a writer who's also an expert in your topic.
- (#17.) When you want an experienced, talented writer, someone whose work you barely have to edit, someone whose work is smooth and flowing.
A great freelance writer is like a maestro
You see, an experienced writer is like a conductor, listening, leading, conveying an interpretation, and acting as a conduit between what your company does and what your reader hears.
That analogy comes from a piece in the BBC's culture section, which explains the operations of a conductor this way:
The conductor is there to bring a musical score to life, communicating their own highly refined sense of the work through an individual language of gestures, which might sculpt the musical line, tease out nuances, emphasise certain musical elements while controlling others, and essentially re-imagine an old piece anew.
Similarly, an experienced, talented writer brings your offerings to life, communicating her refined sense of the value and benefits of your company through an arrangement of words, which might sculpt the argument, tease out hidden benefits, emphasize certain messages while holding back others, and essentially re-imaging how your company is portrayed to prospects and customers.
Think of it this way: just as a conductor has a high-resolution experience of music that lets her see things in a piece you and I can't, an experienced writer has a high-resolution experience of your content, a view that has been developed over years and years of training and practice.
In my mind, that experience and talent is worth more than the "average," unless "average" is all you're looking for.
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