You might notice when Googling copywriters in your area that budget provider Copify (or one of its competitors) will appear in the top results nine times out of ten. These sites offer copy as a product rather than a service with a more transactional relationship with the customer. At first this is an attractive prospect – place an order in no time, receive the content within a day or two and pay very little for it. But as with most things, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Whilst it might seem as though I’m coming from a biased perspective, I wrote this article as I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard disgruntled clients bemoan the poor quality of articles ad blogs purchased for a modest sum on the likes of Copify, People Per Hour and Fiverr. Embarrassingly for many businesses the blinding errors were pointed out by clients – as they’d understandably been missed by the business owners and staff themselves. After all, part of the reason you pay a copywriter is guaranteed accuracy.
In this article I explore the differences (fairly) between low-end copy providers and independent professionals – but I also highlight the reasons for and against each to help you decide which is best for you.
How can Copify and PPH charge so little when comparatively independent copywriters have much higher prices?
It’s easy to say ‘you get what you pay for’ – but it’s also tempting to go for the cheapest option. Essentially you’re paying for the same thing. So why the greater cost?
What you’re paying for with any creative professional (including designers, photographers and editors) is time. I spend time researching, scoping out and then writing your content before editing it and tweaking it if needed before I send it over to you for approval. It’s a process – and it’s longer than some might think. Yes, writing comes naturally to me and I’ll be faster than the next person when coming up with concepts and putting a quality blog together – but there is still a lot of work goes in which I have to factor into my costs – otherwise my hourly rate (and the rates of my competitors) would be less than £10 based on PPH prices!
Conversely the likes of PPH, Copify and Fiver work very much like Deliveroo, Avon or Arbonne. They’re an additional source of revenue which could become a lucrative stream of income for individuals who have the time and capacity to take on extra work. They employ people (who may well be trained professionals, but may also not be remotely experienced) who are able to take on high volumes of work for little money. This means that they are either able to take work on as a part-time hobby which earns them a little cash, or they’re based in a country where the smaller sums add up considerably. Or (worryingly) they’re able to churn out work very quickly with an incredibly fast turnaround – which reduces the likelihood that your copy will be high quality and increases the chance of mistakes and duplicated work.
It’s important to remember that just because a copywriter charges more than an agency or transactional provider like Copify or PPH you shouldn’t classify them as ‘expensive’. Expensive implies that something is poor value for money – so the key here is to recognise that most creative are perfectionists who strive for quality – not to make a quick buck. The best thing to do if budget is an issue (but you can afford to spend a little more than rock bottom) is to make a shortlist of the companies you prefer and decide who offers the best value for money, rather than basing your decision on price alone.
Good copy doesn’t need to cost the earth
At the other end of this spectrum some of my clients come to me having paid through the nose for poor copy. This is especially true of businesses based in London, as here naturally freelancers living in the capital have higher overheads, and agencies have carte blanche to charge astronomical rates. Again this comes down to value. When we make a purchase, we weigh it up and come to a decision based on perceived value and the quality of the item or service we receive. It’s always frustrating to hear that someone has let the side down by delivering bad copy or masquerading as a professional when they’re really a part-timer – but it’s worse when they’ve charged an arm and a leg for the privilege. Copy fees vary, but as a ballpark over £3,000 for a basic 10 page website or a 20 page brochure is unreasonable. Conversely, if you want someone to ghost-write your novel or create a textbook for an educational course you’re running expect four figures or more.
What’s the bottom line?
As businesses and as individuals we all have different budgets. But it’s also crucial now more than ever that the impression you share of your business online is as good as it possibly can be. With this in mind, an equilibrium needs to be reached. To get the best value for money and quality copy which is as individual as you are and speaks to your audience, whilst not paying through the nose for it.
Good freelancers and independent copywriters will always try to work with you and your budget, depending on your project nature and the time involved. Everyone has a bottom line of course – but professionals who care about their work and want to work with you will try and be flexible and can cut down and adjust your scope of work as appropriate to fit in with your budget.
As a rule I charge individually based on the amount of work required, the intensity of the project and the time it will take from start to completion. This is great as it enables me to be flexible and to work with clients with all sorts of budgets and requirements.
If you have any questions regarding copywriting or would like to speak to me about your project, why not get in touch?