03 May

More than words

It’s happened again.
For the third time in the last couple of months, someone has approached me to do some work, but asked me to charge per 1,000/100 words.
I don’t mind too much, as someone’s still asking me about work and I have to be thankful for that, but I don’t charge by the word (or by 1,000 words).

I don’t charge by the word because my commodity isn’t words, it’s time – the time it takes to write good quality copy/content that you, as a client, want (and deserve).

Writing 1,000 words could take a couple of hours – if just typing non-stop, with no thought – or it could take a whole day, including research, redrafting, optimising etc.
How can I possibly quote per 1,000 words when it could take anywhere between 2 – 10 hours?

Writing a quality brochure, DM piece, web content takes time.
It takes research – I may not know the subject matter or you may want me to delve a little deeper, find out about competitors, make sure I don’t repeat what’s already out there.
It takes thinking time – I don’t just jot down the first thing that pops into my mind, I take my time to refine it and make sure that it’s as original as your brand.
It takes refining – editing and redrafting before I send it to you.
It needs proofing.
Design needs to be considered – where will my copy sit?
It requires, in some cases, optimisation.

Asking me to charge by the word means commoditising the actual words, as objects, rather than the content and context created by those words.
It also means that I’ll rush the work, as, if I’m only being paid £10 per 1,000 words, I may as well rattle out those words as quickly as possible.

I’ve also found that charging per word completely devalues the role of the copywriter, with sites like Fiverr and People Per Hour making it a race to the bottom – $5 per 1,000 words.

I charge by the hour or by the day. It forces me to work out, being realistic, how long a piece of work will take me to do, allowing time for proper research and refinement. It then forces me to stick to the deadline I’ve set.

I can see why people ask copywriters to charge per word, but it’s not for me, or many copywriters I know. I’d rather not sacrifice quality for quantity.


Screenshot 2021-05-03 at 18.22.25

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