Among a group a freelance writers, or those of us who write for a living, the conversation about people lowballing for writing services comes up from time to time. Here’s an example of one of the more egregious job ads I’ve come across recently:
Where do you start with this? (Other than the typo in the first sentence.)
First, $16.50 or $18 is good for a hourly rate, not project-based work. This is a project that could legitimately be given a quote for more than 3x what this company offered. Here’s how it breaks down.
The company wants two 500-word content pieces per week. A good freelance (or per project) writer should be charging no less than $0.10 per word, which means each piece in this instance is valued at least $50 — and this company is hinting towards wanting someone with some experience by asking for applicants to “have past work for us to see, please.” Frankly, those with more experience and/or specialized knowledge will (and should) be charging more. Quality, experienced freelancers with specific knowledge areas charge in the area of $1.00+ per word.
Plus, crafting a good piece of content isn’t as straightforward as simply writing about the topic. You have to give consideration to the keywords potential website visitors may use when they search, and weave them into the piece in a natural way to rank as high as possible on Google or any of the other search engines out there.
But that’s not all. This company also specifies that there is a second item it wants for each deliverable, or content piece: a two-sentence meta description. A meta description is the short blurb you often see on Google, Facebook or elsewhere that appears under the featured image of a link. Typical meta descriptions are about 150-160 characters.
Usually, freelancers don’t just include a meta description along with the content piece so it might cost extra depending on the freelancer’s policy.
Job ads like the one above illustrate how the general marketplace doesn’t have a grasp on the value of writing services. Imagine how you’d feel if you saw an ad for a job you know costs at least $55 per piece (truly, significantly more to be honest) and it’s only offering $16.50 per piece ($18 if you do well on the first 3 assignments!). A little disheartened, right? Unfortunately, it’s a common feeling in the world of freelance writing.