Completely new to copywriting and need advice

10 replies
I have been doing content writing for a company for about 9 months and recently I have started writing for a larger company which charges better rates.

They also issue a huge number of copywriting projects when I asked them for one they gave me a large project which involves writing 100 different footers, each at least 100 words long (so roughly 10,000 words) for a website. They only gave it to me based on the work which I had submitted for them, as I had sending in about 30 articles a day for them (mainly news reports and financial advice articles, not rewritten) which was over 5,000 words.

So for this copywriting project they made the offer to pay me $660 dollars ($6 per 100 words and about £428 in total for me, though PayPal will take at least 5% of that with the currency conversion fee on top).

To be that sounded very good for someone who was used to doing content articles for just £0.01 a word and struggling to make £50 a day. I am certainly not complaining but I just wanted to see whether this was really a good earning for a project of this size.

I am going to ask them give me two projects a week, assuming they have enough work which I hope they do, so that is 20,000 words a week - that is less work than I did for the previous company where I was earning £200 a week max. For each footer I have to describe the general theme of the website page and include a few specific keywords - I assume this is SEO copywriting?

But is this too much work for a copywriter to handle do you think? This current project is due in on Tuesday (given to me on Friday afternoon) and so far I'm about half way through, having to work through the weekend to do it. To do two projects a week I will do 9 hours, 5 days a week - that is based on completing each 100 word footer in 10 minutes, along with a few breaks during the day. I think the money will more than make up for it for someone who has never really earned a proper income yet (22 and just graduated).

I want to maximise the amount I can get out of this as I doubt I'd be able to ask for a pay rise any time soon once the general fee has been set - maybe I should go up to $700 per piece? They are a global company who pay in dollars even though I'm in the UK.

#advice #completely #copywriting
  • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
    Don't want to crap your thread, but which company is this?

    And even if you don't want to share the details with me. My firm can help you outsource this work for as little as $2 per 100 words. We can easily do 2-3 pieces (each of 10k+ words) per week for you, within the deadline.

    In case they do have enough work, such a relationship will benefit both of us. I don't want to spam, but I am genuinely interested in striking a deal.

    Let me know what you feel about this.

    Warm Regards

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  • Profile picture of the author Hesster
    Working 5 9 hour days and writing 20,000 words a week sounds like a fast track to the world of burnout. What you have now is better than what you had, but you're still way under what you should be if you're a decent writer, even for content writing.

    Most professional freelance writers who write for periodicals won't even sit down at the computer for less than $0.25 per word. That's considered bottom of the barrel. At $700 per 10,000 words, that's $0.07 per word, not even counting the fees. In other words, you've moved from eating crap to eating garbage. Sure it's a step up, but you're still eating garbage.

    What you need to do is find better paying clients. They are out there. You just have to put out the effort to find them. Don't expect them to fall into your lap. Otherwise you're going to end up feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Putting out a whole lot of effort for not much progress.

    I'm negotiating with a local prospect to write copy for their web page about their new product line. Based on what we discussed, it looks like around 500-700 words. I'll probably end up billing them $400-$600, based on the amount of research I have to do.

    Wouldn't you rather spend the time searching out a project like that over typing your fingers off for pennies a word? Dump the penny pinchers. They will squeeze you like a grape and suck up all your time and effort, leaving you with no time to search for better gigs.

    Here are a couple of books I would strongly suggest you read:

    The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency...The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency...

    The Wealthy Freelancer: Steve...The Wealthy Freelancer: Steve...

    (check the Amazon US site for reviews if you want a second opinion)
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    • Profile picture of the author JamesH10
      Should I ask for a flat rate of 0.10$ a word? I know this isn't great but as I'm just starting out I don't really have a profile yet that clients who use higher paid intermediate/experienced copywriters always want.
      I could offer them the equivalent of 1.5 briefs a week/ 3 briefs in 2 weeks/10 working days. So that's 3000 words a day.
      This is only a temporary solution until I can get online work that offers a hire fee (when I can find any). It's the only way I can pay for my rent living in London, I've ditched 2 horrible part-time jobs to focus on this.

      The briefs aren't really that hard - it's just a case of making a footnote about the ad theme of the page - which usually takes me about 5 minutes to do after doing a little bit of research of the products. The website I am doing these footers for my current project is a branch of eBay.
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      • A bit off topic but nowadays copywritingI should keep in mind that it's for both human and SEO. I see all of you mention on how many words but not a mention a bit on SEO.
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        • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
          Originally Posted by View Post

          A bit off topic but nowadays copywritingI should keep in mind that it's for both human and SEO. I see all of you mention on how many words but not a mention a bit on SEO.
          That's because SEO should be the least of your worries.

          Copywriting isn't meant to sell to search engines. It's to sell to people.

          There are much better and easier ways of getting traffic to a site than SEO. And I don't care what anyone says about that.

          I can see SEO specialists jumping in to defend their work, but I'm only concerned with selling, not compromising.
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          • Profile picture of the author JamesH10
            Is it worth asking for an hourly rate as opposed to one full payment? Also, does copywriting usually involve projects on this scale?
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            • Profile picture of the author Collette
              James - Do whatever you need to do for now to make the money you need for now.

              As you go, consider the work you're doing as building your portfolio. So do the best work you can with an eye to using it to showcase your abilities later to better-paying prospects and clients.

              If you really want to write as a business, treat it as a business. Start where you're at, build your skills and credibility, move on to better projects and better clients.

              As to your questions:

              Copy projects come in all sizes.

              However, an hourly rate is usually not where you want to be quoting. Because an hourly rate usually encourages the client to focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of your output.

              'Cheap' is NEVER a good long-term marketing strategy. Focus on building your value, and therefore the value you can offer to clients.

              Sometimes, when you're just starting out, you can use an hourly rate to get a client to try you out. But it really is better to begin as you mean to proceed. And breaking out of the hourly-rate trap is difficult once that's how you've established yourself in the eyes of your prospect market.

              Also, if you don't already have a web site - get one. And pay a few bucks for a domain name and real hosting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Whatever you do, do your best. No matter how little you charge.

    That way, if you do well, you can get some great testimonials.
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  • Profile picture of the author rzahir101
    Welcome, for copywriting you can helpful by following tutorial. By learning tutorial your problem can be solved.Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author wcmylife
    Rezbi said it right - copywriting is about selling people not the search engines. I am shocked at the number of crappy sales pages out there that have been written by writers who would not be able to sell water in a desert. The best ever sales pages that convert are Hypnotic Sales Pages.

    James - you should try working with individual clients instead of companies to get better rates.
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