by j77
8 replies
I'm an independent copywriter and generally don't do one-offs. However, I have a global client here that I'm working with on another small project and things are going well. To give an idea, I'm currently charging them 1,000 for two 350-500 word articles that they'll use on their digital channels (website, social promotion).

They're now requesting some new tagline options and I just got off a call with them and promised to send them a cost estimate. Basically they weren't happy with what their creative agency has put together for them.

I'm proposing to put together 3-5 tagline options of what I feel are quality options along with a kind of detailed meaning behind each and what each is meant to convey in about 1 paragraph for each and help justify my thinking behind each.

While I don't charge clients by the hour and instead by the project, I would figure that my hourly rate is somewhere between 130 and 150/hour.

Knowing that they may or may not go with one of my 3-5 suggestions, at the end of the day there's work involved and I'm doing the work for them regardless. I'm struggling on how to price or estimate this for them.

Any input from some experts here would be welcome. Thanks in advance!
#pricing #tagline
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    I had a company naming and tagline business for 10+ years and charged $1000 for a set of either names or taglines - and that was a cut-rate fee. If it's a sizable company you're working with, they're used to paying thousands of dollars for this kind of work.

    To me, there are some red flags in the way you described how you would go about the project.

    I'm proposing to put together 3-5 tagline options of what I feel are quality options along with a kind of detailed meaning behind each and what each is meant to convey in about 1 paragraph for each and help justify my thinking behind each.
    This sounds like the core ideas for the tagline would be coming from your thinking.

    However, good taglines generally need to come from the company's thinking. You are the one who puts their ideas into words. You don't come up with the contents.

    In addition, if you need to provide a detailed analysis of the meaning underlying a tagline, it's not a good tagline. It needs to be immediately understandable to the target market - and of course to the company as well.

    Good luck with the project.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    • Profile picture of the author j77
      Thank you all. And thank you, Marcia. Nah you don't need to be concerned about the red flags. The core idea is from them, I've been properly briefed and have seen the work of their creative agency.

      It's a tough one and I think tagline writing is so hit-or-miss depending on the specific person on the business end -- one single stakeholder that loves or hates it.

      Ends up being politics at the end of the day no matter how good or bad the end result might be. But that's what I mean in that I could wrap my brain for 2 days around something, come up with 5 options and zilch -- they hate every one. So it's work, even if they end up not using the end result.

      But thank you for the rate and your real-case scenerio. I don't think I'm out of line charging a cool 1000-1500 then for this work. And yes, I used to work on the client side for one of the biggest in the world involved in video productions -- the money waste (and spend) was incredible, so well aware
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Coming up with something short that is effective is harder than writing something where you have the room to express more ideas. Paring down, getting to the essence, being brief...while someone else may look at it and say, "But you just wrote a few words!", they're missing all the time and painstaking effort it took to get there.

    So when doing work like this, make sure you're out of the headspace of "More Words = Higher Price." This time, it's more like, "Clearer Idea = Higher Price."
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  • Taglines are lightnin' conductors from brand to brain kinda spark instant recognition & deep loyalty.

    Like Jason says, clarity swings the deal here.

    You got a two-word tagline zaps any Frankensteinian corpse offa the slab & spins it fulla glitzily unmissable spectaclepower, gotta figure Animation owesya a favor.
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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  • Experience tells me you must develop a tagline that resonates, emanates even resuscitates the good people (the target audience).

    Your price justifies this achievement.

    The snags can be -

    The client loves it but the audience hates it (often the "committee" demands you use their ideas).

    The audience loves it but the client hates it (your hard work, research and the ah ah moments do this and you managed to side step the "committee").

    Go with the audience (and the client always forgives you when the response leaps up).


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      Experience tells me you must develop a tagline that resonates, emanates even resuscitates the good people (the target audience).

      Your price justifies this achievement.

      The snags can be -

      The client loves it but the audience hates it (often the "committee" demands you use their ideas).

      The audience loves it but the client hates it (your hard work, research and the ah ah moments do this and you managed to side step the "committee").

      Go with the audience (and the client always forgives you when the response leaps up).


      Steve
      These very reasons are why I do not take on tagline copywriting jobs. Too much of a PITA.
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  • Profile picture of the author j77
    Took the advice here, sent them a proposal of 5 taglines with 1 revision round for the project, which they want me to go ahead with. Great

    As Marcia seems to be heavily experienced in the tagline copy business, I attempted to send her a private message with this same question but haven't heard back yet and plan to get back to my client tomorrow. Am thinking maybe others can share their opinions.

    My next question here is presentation of the five options. In what format? Surely I'm not just going to plop them into an email or Word document and present them to the client that way,

    I'm not a visual or graphic designer but I've done some basic ads and hand-outs in InDesign and I'm Photoshop-savvy enough to be able to take some of this client's brand imagery and font styling to overlay my tagline proposals to them there on some images to give it a more professional look.

    My specialty is typically in marketing copy for products and services types of web pages for technology brands, where I basically just take their brief and send my copy proposals back to the clients in Word exported to PDF format -- basic text. That's been fine for my clients, but this is a little different since we're just talking about a just a handful of words for each tagline.

    Any opinions on how to go about best presenting five or so taglines with such a limited amount of text, without getting too fluffy and going creatively overboard?

    As much as I despise them, am thinking a PowerPoint deck with some lead-in bullets recapping their brief followed by five slides with a tagline proposal on each one as one option overlayed on top of some of their brand imagery. How would some of the experts here present this? In what format?

    Thank you again for the advice and valuable input.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Surely I'm not just going to plop them into an email or Word document and present them to the client that way,
    It's a personal preference, but I can tell you that I always used just a Word doc with my company letterhead on top to present the options. Never in 10+ years did anyone object to or complain about that.

    The focus of the feedback was always about the options themselves.

    Marcia Yudkin
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    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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