Fair Pay For Copywriters

17 replies
I need an opinion from a few accomplished, or aspiring copywriters..

As you know, high level copy is extremely valuable, but low level copy is just about worthless.. and adds negative value with the time it takes to manage..

So I'm trying to figure out a pricing structure for VSL that may work as an incentive to attract good copywriters..

What do you guys think -

Trial - $20 for an article.

Than move on to sales letter where we flush out an outline.

then $500 for about a 20 page sales letter that we can't use.

$2000 for one we do decided to use but doesn't work at the level needed.

$7000 for a working sales letter.

Thoughts?
#copywriters #fair #pay
  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    First of all, testing with an article... Why? You're looking for a Copywriter, right?

    Secondly, a decent Copywriter wouldn't agree to those terms, because it's too hard to quantify "good", first of all, and secondly, the Copywriter isn't 100% responsible for the success or failure of a product.

    You also need a great product, great offer, targeted traffic, etc. If any of those elements are missing, then it doesn't convert.

    And who's going to decide if it's "good" or not? You? I doubt many of us would be OK with that.

    And why do you need a 20 page salesletter? That's ridiculously long. For most products, that's too long because it would be too boring.
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    • Profile picture of the author curt3006
      Thanks for your input.. It address a few concerns writers may have..

      So the test article is to see if the writer can structure sentences, paragraphs and also make the content interesting enough to read. - Few actually get past this, but many come in to learn copywriting. This helps to let us know if they are worth the time to train.

      For the targeting elements. Adding credibility to who we are would help. Though I don't like mentioning that. But yes, all of that is there.

      As far as good goes, probably a credibility things as well. But if we can find good copywriters, the on-going relationship would be far more valuable than scheming for a few hundred dollars.

      20 pages is double spaced.. So roughly 10. But I have seen 40 and 50 page letters work.

      But the rates.. How do you feel about the incentive style?
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      • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
        Originally Posted by curt3006 View Post

        But the rates.. How do you feel about the incentive style?
        I made it pretty clear how I feel.

        I agree with Rick... offer them a nice royalty.
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        • Profile picture of the author RTSteam
          Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

          I made it pretty clear how I feel.

          I agree with Rick... offer them a nice royalty.

          Yes, give them a nice royalty or things would get down and dirty (figuratively speaking).
          Copywriters or any writing professionals who feel they are underpaid or not receiving just compensation would sometimes lose their energy and feel less inspired to write articles and write high quality work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    No signature, no name, no avatar, no website?? Why the anonymous post?

    I like to know a little about who I am talking to.

    -Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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    • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      No signature, no name, no avatar, no website?? Why the anonymous post?

      I like to know a little about who I am talking to.

      -Ray Edwards
      Welcome to the internet.

      -Cam
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    While it's highly individual, what you want to do is engineer compensation such that it inspires a copywriter's best efforts.

    That's usually accomplished with a combination of an upfront fee and backend percentage. In other words, you want to pay for performance.

    This is desirable for both parties.

    For instance, $5000 upfront, $5000 on acceptance of the work product, and 10% of the gross revenue. The $5000 upfront shows you're serious and the 2nd $5000 is a carrot to motivate the copywriter to get the project done.

    But, what the copywriter dreams about, what they're inspired by, is how much they'll make when they knock it out of the park.

    - Rick Duris
    Signature
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    • Profile picture of the author curt3006
      Thanks Rick.. Makes sense to hire proven copywriters.. Your website says you're not taking on any new clients.. Is that going to change anytime soon?
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      • Profile picture of the author Raydal
        Originally Posted by curt3006 View Post

        Thanks Rick.. Makes sense to hire proven copywriters.. Your website says you're not taking on any new clients.. Is that going to change anytime soon?
        You see how you were able to address Rick and visit his website, why not
        allow others the same courtesy?

        -Ray Edwards
        Signature
        The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    A VSL to sell pro copywriters into writing for you on a weird, risk-averse pricing ladder that starts off with a $20 article and ends with a $7K sales letter?

    I'd seriously rethink your strategy unless you want to instantly turn-off any experienced direct-response pros and fill your days grooming noobs or article writers calling themselves copywriters.

    A few clarifying facts about you would yield better candidates:

    1) What market are you in?
    2) What's your primary traffic source?
    3) How much sales volume are you currently doing?
    4) What's a home-run promotion look like for you?

    Good luck,

    Brian
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

      A VSL to sell pro copywriters into writing for you on a weird, risk-averse pricing ladder that starts off with a $20 article and ends with a $7K sales letter?

      I'd seriously rethink your strategy unless you want to instantly turn-off any experienced direct-response pros and fill your days grooming noobs or article writers calling themselves copywriters.

      A few clarifying facts about you would yield better candidates:

      1) What market are you in?
      2) What's your primary traffic source?
      3) How much sales volume are you currently doing?
      4) What's a home-run promotion look like for you?

      Good luck,

      Brian
      Exactly what I was thinking.

      No accomplished copywriter is going to jump through these hoops just for a shot at "winning" a 7k job. Your post suggests that you're really uncomfortable with risk. It also suggests a lack of confidence in your own ability to spot a good writer simply by reading their past work and interviewing them.

      Both red flags.

      From my experience (and it's the same with just about every copywriter I've mentored) people who approach things as cautiously as you are,usually lose their nerve before the project even gains momentum. Maybe you're an exception, but that's the message you're communicating.

      On the other hand, your post title mentions fair pay, and I can see you're making an effort to figure out exactly what fair pay might be. That's good. But you have to consider the other costs involved, mainly, the writer's time in pursuing a new client.

      For even a good writer, accepting $20 to do ANYTHING is a waste of time and energy. Even if the writer is 100% confident that they're good enough for the 7k job, Cam is right. "Good" can be defined many ways. Ultimately, any smart copywriter knows that results are all that matter when it comes to measuring quality.

      But believe it or not, a lot of clients just don't get that. Instead, they evaluate the writer's work themselves, even if they're unqualified to do so, and, many times, without bothering to test the work out and see if it produces responses.

      Maybe you're not one of "those" clients, but I doubt any established writer is going to waste their time on a $20 job trying to find out. Especially when your approach looks so similar to what such a client would do.

      I suggest you start by answering Brian's questions. If nothing else, it will show other writers that you're more serious than most clients who post here. Also, if Rick Duris does make you an offer, I'd suggest taking it. I think most of the other members on here would agree.

      As for the suggestions about offering royalty payments, that's a double-edge sword and doesn't always attract the type of writer you want. Mainly because, if a writer is good enough to put that much confidence in their copy, most likely, they'd rather spend that time writing copy for their OWN products, and pocketing 100% of the profits.

      Whenever someone offers me a royalty deal, the first things I consider is whether the product is truly better than anything I could create on my own AND, more important, whether they'll have the money, and the motivation, to make the product a success when they start promoting it.

      Anyway, that ought to be enough to get you pointed in a better direction.

      Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Originally Posted by curt3006 View Post

    I need an opinion from a few accomplished, or aspiring copywriters..

    As you know, high level copy is extremely valuable, but low level copy is just about worthless.. and adds negative value with the time it takes to manage..

    So I'm trying to figure out a pricing structure for VSL that may work as an incentive to attract good copywriters..

    What do you guys think -

    Trial - $20 for an article.

    Than move on to sales letter where we flush out an outline.

    then $500 for about a 20 page sales letter that we can't use.

    $2000 for one we do decided to use but doesn't work at the level needed.

    $7000 for a working sales letter.

    Thoughts?
    Great advice from the guys.

    My two cents: I don't get it.

    Seriously, this whole structure you've set up - I don't get it. Why on earth would you want to pay $500-2K for a 20 page sales letter you can't use? It's wasted money AND time.

    You should be able to see if a copywriter can string two sentences together by emailing them and/or visiting their website. I don't buy that a $20 article is going to prove my writing capabilities to you.

    Seth's absolutely right - you sound really risk averse. That's completely understandable given that $7K is a big number. But just like you'd source in a supply chain - you check out the vendor, you see what the deal is, you evaluate it for how it fits into your goals, and you decide whether or not you're going to work with them.

    Finding a good copywriter really doesn't have to be anymore complicated than that.

    Let me put it back into supply chain context:

    Say you find a paper vendor you think could work for you. You offer them $20 to send you some paper samples.

    You decide you like those well enough, so you offer that paper vendor $500-2K to deliver a variety of off-size paper bundles and leftover custom die-cut pieces that you can't possibly use, at least not very easily.

    OK, you like that assortment too. Now you decide to place your real order for letter-size paper you can actually put into your damn printer and get things printed.

    Does that make sense? It doesn't to me.

    The only difference is that paper is a finite resource, a commodity. Once it's used up, it's gone and you have to buy again and again.

    You find a good copywriter and their stuff could work (i.e. make you money) for YEARS.
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    Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author colmodwyer
    If you're trying to minimize initial commitment (potential waste), you could put up a smaller amount for a headline and lead.

    So let's say your budget is $7,000 but you don't want to drop $3,500 right away, maybe you offer $1,000 for the first couple of pages, then if you like that you give them $3,000 to get into it and $3,000 once a final draft is approved.

    Plus royalties.

    There are folks who'll write a headline and lead for FREE too, if the potential reward seems worth it... that could mean they're new and would benefit from the experience and cashola, or they're grizzled but you're going to pay them more than they've ever been paid in their life.

    The latter scenario is less likely though, because experienced folks are already getting paid and have seen a high rate of these dealios go bad.

    If I was a youngster, and everything is legit, I'd likely have a crack at writing a head and lead free for you. Done plenty of freebies in my time for the experience, if I got paid it was a bonus.

    Colm
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by colmodwyer View Post


      There are folks who'll write a headline and lead for FREE too
      Agora and other companies use that method to pre-qualify copywriters they're thinking of hiring.

      It's a good way to weed out the pretenders.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnRussell
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Agora and other companies use that method to pre-qualify copywriters they're thinking of hiring.

        It's a good way to weed out the pretenders.

        Alex
        You're preaching to the choir there...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jennie Heckel
    Hi All... Great insight on the posts in this thread...

    Now, a few of the things I feel really hit me between the eyes when I read this...

    First, all the time wasted you can't get back (and lost time is BIG MONEY LOST)!

    Simply by forcing a copywriter to write several test pieces is a waste of your valuable time and theirs (and significantly adds to your marketing costs) by testing the weaker first version of the sales letter using the outline mode you mentioned.

    Second, you could be easily earning more money faster with a professionally written sales letter that converts well from the get-go and then just tweaking it to boost conversions.

    Third, not to mention all the time and effort you will waste with reviewing and working with the copywriter on these test pieces. Most of my clients value their time considerably higher and now when you think about it you probably do too.

    I have to agree with the other copywriters after reading many of their comments. Your post sounds wishy washy (now I understand why for the reasons you stated after I read the longer posts on the thread).

    To be honest, most pro copywriters can nail down a client within minutes on a phone or skype call.

    A pro copywriter can know in a very short period of time if a client knows what they are talking about, if their product is unique and they can have a preliminary take on if it could sell well at the price the client states.

    Only then do they decide to continue to conversation to see if they feel they are a good fit and if the connection is worth pursuing or not.

    Time is money for a pro copywriter. Those copywriters who value and only work with clients who respect their time make the most money for themselves AND THEIR CLIENTS.

    If you could have found and hired a copywriter who has had experience (with a few winning sales letters they can show the sales letters and conversion proof for) then you could groom them to write for your products.

    I know (you know) that's what most of the top vendors on Clickbank and the top marketing firms do.

    You just need a develop good system for figuring out how to do that to weed out the copywriters who are not a good fit and it all comes back to a portfolio and conversion stats.

    Then add to that...

    Top Clickbank Vendors (and high end marketing firms) hire a copywriter they feel they can "click with" who wants to work with them and has a portfolio which shows they understand the market they are in.

    Then they train them on the nuances of their particular product offers, their specific demographics, the hot buttons of their target market, the tone of the copy, etc.

    Trying to train a copywriter who has no experience (or very limited experience) in writing in you niche can be a recipe for frustration and may end in disaster with both you and the copywriter losing out.

    I feel a better result could have been achieved much faster and with less headache and much more profitably by finding a more experienced copywriter who has some wins to show you.

    You would then be working with a copywriter who understands what you need, is more reliable, knows what to do and when and asks the right questions to give you the sales copy you are seeking.

    Then the job is just focusing on just writing the sales letter and split testing two versions and then improving the winner becomes much more simple and doable for a much lower cost and faster turn around time.

    The big thing to remember is...

    One never knows which version of a sales letter will sell or how much better the winner will sell.

    The trick is sometimes small changes can make huge response and profit increases (and these changes can not be figured out without proper testing and evaluation procedures to verify a true winner.)

    The reason why simply stems from the fact there are a ton of variables to banking big profits.

    Even though the sales letter is one of the most vital building blocks needed to present the offer, if the client can't market the sales letter effectively or the traffic is so low the tracking data is poor (or almost non-existent ) then the copywriter is blamed for low conversions.

    I've seen this more times than I care to say...

    This can sometimes be a problem when young copy cubs work with newbie marketers who don't know how to value good copy (since they can't market the sales copy they receive effectively) then sadly both parties lose and no one makes any real money.

    Not only must YOU VET THE COPYWRITER....

    THE COPYWRITER MUST VET YOU. Why would I say that?

    Here's the reason this is so important.

    Because it doesn't matter how high the up front money was, or the final draft pay or even the bonus/royalty pay when the marketing is too weak to give it a strong showing then the blow to the copywriter and their ability to write sizzling copy may falter.

    I've trained copy cubs and on occasion they lost their "copywriting mojo" due to crappy marketing that wasn't their fault.

    (important Note: Most copywriters are NOT marketers and they don't want to be marketers. This means they have no way of knowing how well or how poor their client's marketing efforts were when a promotion bombs!)

    They just get blamed for low conversions and many times this is unfair.

    The thing that is so hard to understand and deal with here is...

    Very few marketers will share their marketing techniques or stats with their copywriter.

    So a copywriter doesn't know for sure if they had blew it out of the water with super responsive copy... OR If the marketing was dead on and the copy just slightly better than average.

    Split testing several versions will eliminate these problems.

    This is CRITICAL FOR COPYWRITERS TO REALIZE...

    For when they DON'T KNOW WHY the copy they wrote failed... was it really due to the lack luster copy they wrote?

    OR due to less than stellar marketing efforts?

    (Of course the flip slide happens less often than most clients and copywriters would like -- but you need to study winning promotions as well as losing ones to figure out why a promotion sold well or delivered a dismal return.)

    An exceptional client will understand and know how to deal well with this. A copywriter needs to know why a promotion failed or made money and will show the copywriter the results, not just the average earnings per click or EPCs.

    When you hire a copywriter take as much time hiring them as you do the person who is responsible for generating your traffic and doing your web design and video production.

    If any key piece of the puzzle fails... then no one makes BIG MONEY.

    Jennie Heckel
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    ******* WSO & JV ZOO COPYWRITER -- VLS & SALES LETTERS PROVEN TO CONVERT ******* Get Higher Profits From Launches That SELL! Proven Copywriter with 17 Years of Copywriting Experience. Contact Me Via Skype: seoexpertconsulting Copywriting Website: http://www.VideoScriptCopywriter.com

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