Tag Archives: Content Writing Rates

Here I explain why I take full advance for my content writing services

Why I take full advance for my content writing services

Why I take full advance for my content writing services.

These days I insist that my clients make an advance payment (full payment, not 50% or 40%) before I schedule their work. It started with the onslaught of Covid-19 when many of my clients suddenly disappeared without making the payments for the work that I had done for them.

Then I realized that, both from mine as well as the client’s perspective, charging the full advance works better. Of course, most of the clients are apprehensive, and I take appropriate measures to allay their concerns. I explain.

Why I’m charging a full advance for my content writing services

As I have explained above, I started taking the full advance after Covid-19. I’m not blaming the clients but in total, I may have lost payments for 30-40 hours that I spent writing their content. If you can believe, I don’t resent those clients. The entire world went through calamitous times. I’m thankful that many of us have survived unscathed.

Over the past years I have realized that when clients miss making payments, it is not because they don’t want to pay or they want to fleece me – not all of them. They just lose track and once they have lost the track, they move on, and once they have moved on, it is difficult to make them pay.

Content writing is my full-time job. It is my bread and butter. In Hindi, you would call it my “rozi-roti”. Almost all of my income comes from writing content for different clients. Compared to my clients, my stakes are higher.

For almost all of my clients, getting content written for their websites and blogs is a side activity. I’m not saying it is less important, but after everything said and done, it is not one of their main undertakings. For example, you may be a lawyer, an accountant, a business coach, a web design agency owner, a photographer, a doctor, a real estate developer, an architect, or something else. That is your work. You spend a major part of your day doing your work or delivering your core competency. Writing content is not your major undertaking of the day.

Sometimes clients get busy with other responsibilities. Priorities change sometimes. Projects get shelved. There is suddenly some cash crunch and “adjustments” need to be made. In all this quintessential hubbub, they may not even give a second thought to that distant content writer who is spending his time doing the work they no longer consider important, but for him, it is. He is ignoring the work of another client to work on their project for which, they may not pay.

What if I take your money and then don’t do your work or do a lousy job?

This is a valid fear. Every person wants to be cautious before spending money. And it happens. People take money and then disappear. The Internet is full of such stories. I’m not saying the apprehension is unfounded. All the valid reasons are there.

So how do I counter this fear? How do I explain to my clients that giving a full advance to me is a safe bet and I’m not going to disappear with their money or I’m not going to do a lousy job simply because I’m no longer looking forward to payment from you (because I have already received it)?

Most of the people hold back payment thinking that the service provider will do his or her best to be able to get the payment.

Most of the service providers, especially those who take outsourced jobs such as content writing or web design and such, work on the percentage model. For example, they take 40% advance and then start working. Then they complete the work and show a portion of it and get another 40%. Then they deliver the work and receive the remaining 20%. Or 50%-50%.

I’m not pointing at particular clients, getting repeat payments, especially once you have delivered the work, can be a big drain on your energy and creativity as a writer. Some people may not have a problem with this, but I don’t feel comfortable asking for money repeatedly. So many times I have lost money because the client didn’t pay the remaining amount and after a couple of reminders, I felt too awkward to ask.

Full advance payment for content writing doesn’t mean there needs to be a big commitment

Here is the process that I follow that makes me and my clients comfortable.

  • Based on the specs I prepare an estimate.
  • I divide the project in smaller chunks (Phase 1, Phase 2, …).
  • I ask for a topic from the client and agree to submit a sample of 200-300 words.
  • If the client likes the sample, he or she pays the full amount for Phase 1.
  • When Phase 1 is done, if the client is still happy with my work, he or she pays for Phase 2.
  • And so on.

Does this process always work? Not necessarily. Especially when I’m writing content for companies. Their accounting departments have their own procedures. There are company policies that don’t allow them to make payments unless they have received the product. In such cases I go on a hunch. But with individuals, except for the rarest of the rare cases, I stick to my process.


I don’t compete on pricing for my content writing services

Content writing – competing on the basis of rates

Content writing – competing on the basis of rates

I get lots of work from abroad. In fact, in the initial years, there was no work from India. Back then people didn’t understand the value of quality content in India. Many didn’t even have a website.

People in the USA and other Western countries on the other hand appreciated good writing. They started having websites in the early 2000’s.

They also understood the importance of content vis-à-vis Google search engine rankings earlier than people in India. It was also a time when outsourcing was at its peak as one of the most preferred ways of cutting costs.

Although, at my end, I never tried to charge less but who am I kidding? Most of the people in the West outsource their work to someone from India assuming that they are going to pay less.

Even when I was charging less (doing it, but not accepting it), even those rates were a lot for Indian clients. Hence, when I started getting assignments in India, I charged a lot less compared to what I was charging my clients from abroad.

This began to trouble my conscience. The foundation of my business was built through the support of people who believed in me – even if it was for the sake of saving money – and now I was charging more from them and less from people who still didn’t understand the value of good content and were simply being arm-twisted into working with a better content writer, by Google.

Clients from India can be lousy. One shouldn’t take it personally because that’s how they are. Our sociocultural environment makes us mistrust even our neighbours. They want to pay the minimum possible rate and they want to extract the maximum possible from you, short of killing you.

The only benefit is that once they understand that there is no escape from hiring a good content writer, they appreciate your talent and somehow manage to pay what you’re asking for. Besides, once you have made a name for yourself, there are so many clients that you can conveniently pick and choose.

Coming back to different rates for clients from abroad and clients from India: even that phase passed, and I gradually started increasing my rates to what I was more comfortable with, even with my Indian clients.

My conscience stopped troubling me. Even when I was charging them rates clients from India would never agree to, they were paying me less than they would have had to pay a native writer.

These days my rates are more or less the same. I’m comfortable with my rates. I don’t compete based on my rates. If a client calls me and tells me that there is a certain content writing agency or there is a certain content writer who is charging a lot less than what I am quoting, I tell them, “Well, congratulations! You have already found the content writer of your choice. Go to him/her.”

Even from my clients from abroad, after doing some reading on the web, I have realized that sometimes I charge slightly more than their native writers. I’m fine with that. I’m charging for the value I deliver, not for the fact that I am a content writer from India. Instead of attracting clients who are more interested in saving costs by hiring a content writer from India, my objective is to attract clients who are just looking for a better content writer.

Why I charge what I charge as a content writer

Why I charge what I charge for my content writing services

Why I charge what I charge for my content writing services.

The clients often tell me, “We are a small business, we have a tight budget, so we cannot spend much. But we need good content that is well researched.”

Just imagine, saying the same thing in a restaurant or when you are buying a fridge or a TV.

Anyway, I’m writing this to quickly explain why one shouldn’t hesitate from paying a good writer, especially when you want someone hard-working writer creating content for your website or blog.

Let’s first lay it on the table what you want and what you don’t want.

You want

  • Well-written content to impress, influence and engage your visitors.
  • You want your visitors to get convinced after reading your content so that they become your paying customers and clients.
  • You want authoritative information and data from trusted sources with the links to those sources.
  • You want completely unique content – no copying from other websites and blogs.
  • You want your content to boost your search engine rankings so that your traffic increases and consequently, your business.
  • Delivery based on a schedule.

You don’t want

  • Content written in a sloppy manner.
  • Unoriginal content that is simply a rehashing of content existing on other blogs and websites.
  • Big claims not backed up by authoritative sources.
  • Writing that is full of spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Google penalizing you for overusing the keywords.

I’m not saying these are unjustified expectations, but just to make it clear, you should know that what you want, what you are paying for, and what you don’t want when you are hiring a content writer.

Now, to get some perspective, kindly perform the following activities:

  1. Start a timer.
  2. Open your email and go to the message/messages where you have explained your content writing requirement.
  3. If there have been multiple communications between you and your content writer, go through the thread.
  4. Open a Word document or go to Google Docs and open a Google Docs document.
  5. Go to Google and do a search on the first search term that comes to your mind in order to find information about what needs to be written.
  6. Open the links in a few tabs.
  7. Start going through the links and make note of things you can use and things you can ignore.
  8. Remember that even to find out what is useful and what is not useful, you must read the whole thing.
  9. Based on all the information you have compiled, start preparing the outline.
  10. Stop the timer.

Please keep in mind that you are in this industry.

For example, if you want me to write content on real estate, you are from real estate and it can be safely assumed that for you, researching information related to your field must be easier.

Also, you can make out what is useful and what is not useful faster compared to a content writer who is not into real estate.

How much time does it take going through email messages, opening a blank document, beginning to research, going to individual links, finding out what to use and what to ignore, compiling the information and creating an outline?

This is assuming you want well-written professional content for your website or blog.

20 minutes? 30 minutes? Even more?

If it has taken you 20 minutes to just go through email messages and preparing the outline based on the links you can quickly find on Google, you can multiply the time by at 3 to get an idea of how much time it is going to take to prepare the first draft of roughly 1000 words.

80 minutes. And this is the minimum amount of time I’m assuming.

So, even if I work very fast, without factoring in revisions and exchanges with the client, on an average, 1000 words take 80 minutes to write.

I’m not factoring in the inherent value that a talented and experienced content writer delivers. It is conveniently assumed to be present. Try working with different writers.

For good writing you need a flow. You cannot be watching the clock all the time. To write well, you must get into the zone.

Clients who have burned their fingers with other writers, who know the value of good content, can understand what I’m saying. Those who haven’t worked with many content writers, won’t understand easily.

As a professional content writer, when I’m delivering you 1000 words, it is not just those 1000 words.

A lot goes into those 1000 words.

If it was just about those 1000 words, any content writer would have delivered them. Many can even deliver them for free.

What is included in these 1000 words?

  1. Years of experience writing for the web as well as search engines.
  2. The talent of a writer who knows how to express and communicate with words.
  3. The ability to write flawlessly.
  4. The ability to organize thoughts in a logical flow – from a beginning to a conclusion.
  5. The ability to write 100% unique content that is optimized for search engines.
  6. Overall, written content your business deserves and you can use to get more business.

Whether you want to accept it or not, it is your written content that gives you a noticeable presence on the web.

Your written content is your voice. It represents you when people visit your website or blog. It convinces people. It tells them why it is worth doing business with you.

They are not just 1000 words.

They are not a mere commodity.

They are the foundation of your business.

This is what you are paying for.

Do you really want me to do a patch-up job?

How much should you pay your freelance content writer?

One of the most important questions my clients have while negotiating for my content writing services is, how much should they pay me as their freelance content writer? In this blog post I’m going to talk about “serious” clients who know the importance of content marketing vis-a-vis their businesses and hence, totally understand that there are going to have to pay for quality content. So the question here is not whether they can get cheapest content or not, the question is, how much they should pay for quality, result-oriented content.

This blog post on Clear Voice has a nice infographic explaining how you should pay your freelance content writer according to the demands of the assignment and the expertise of the content writer you are working with. The Clear Voice blog post/infographic has been prepared according to their work model – the content writers working for them charge per minute or per campaign. Although I’m open to the idea, I have never charged my clients per word (although sometimes I quote per 100-word-bracket) because then, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally, the clients begin to get bogged down by the number of words they need or don’t need. Hence, for many years now, I have been charging per page, per blog post, per email campaign with an average word range of 400-700. If research is also needed, I charge an hourly rate because you cannot quantify research-based writing.

So how much should you pay your freelance content writer?

Again, as described in the above-linked blog post, it depends on your content requirement as well as the expertise you require. Anyway, since I’m writing this on my own blog under my own content writing and content marketing website is, you must be wondering how you should pay me.

My current rates are at this link.

As the cliché goes, these are not written in stone. I keep changing them according to different clients but in most of the cases, I stick to these numbers because otherwise working becomes a constraint. I should feel appropriately compensated for the effort I am putting in. Just imagine, if you are not interested in paying me fairly, why should I be interested in writing content that helps you generate more business? It works both ways.

I haven’t arrived at these numbers by referring to another website or by talking to other content writers – these are the numbers I have arrived at after having worked for multiple clients under multiple conditions, for many years. These are the rates, I feel, currently, my clients are comfortable with.

Having said that, clients would like to get more content, more quality content, at lesser rates. I would like to charge a higher rate or at least maintain my current rate while maintaining my quality-level.

Some clients are determined to pay me a lot less than what I quote. How do I deal with those clients?

I don’t like turning my clients away. I know that my content writing can help you get more business (if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t write for you). There are 3 reasons some clients don’t want to pay me what I ask for:

  1. They don’t understand content marketing yet
  2. They don’t believe in their own business (and hence, unsure whether they should be spending money on getting quality content)
  3. They believe in their business but they are genuinely short of funds

After an interaction of 5 minutes (or exchange of a few emails) I can make out whether a client believes in his or her own business or not. Once I get this feel, without wasting time, I let it be known to the client that I’m not interested in his or her work.

For type 1, I either try to convince the client by providing data and relevant information or I let him or her go.

For type 3, if I really get a strong feeling that the client is serious about his or her work and the lack of funds is holding him or her back, I agree to work at lower rates.