Why an hourly copywriting rate is a fairytale

Why an hourly copywriting rate is the stuff of fairytales

by | copywriting, tone of voice, Website copy

Share Share I’m often asked for my hourly copywriter rate. And my reply is always, “I don’t have one.” I…

I’m often asked for my hourly copywriter rate. And my reply is always, “I don’t have one.” I have one when I’m lecturing – because the university where I teach pays me a set hourly rate. But when I’m writing? Never.

Katherine Wildman lecturing at Northumbria University

That’s because if I’m working with you on a project, you’re not paying me to type (thank you, Andy Maslen, for that gem). And you’re certainly not paying me by the word.

How do you put a price on ideas?

Instead, you’re paying me to think. To research. To digest. And process. And percolate. And filter.

And to add my 25-plus years of reading, writing, listening and working experience to your business, in order to find the answer to solve the problem that’s keeping you up at night.

That’s not typing.

How much? How long?

Seth Godin said it best,

“Most professionals ought to charge by the project, because it’s a project the customer wants, not an hour.”

The fact of the matter is, as soon I hear about a project my brain starts to work on it. So, over the course of an average project to develop a company’s tone of voice and write their website, I could carry that project in my head for a period of several months.

That means I’ll be thinking about your business while I stand in the supermarket queue. I’ll be toying with headlines as I nurse a cup of coffee at Riley’s Fish Shack (I know, right? Look at that view) and scribbling headlines on the back of cinema tickets (Baby Driver, since you ask).

Why an hourly copywriting rate is a fairytale

Why project fees are the way forward (no fairies allowed)

And for you to pay me for each of those hours? Well, I’m no mathematician but let’s play with an hourly rate of £50… I can honestly say I’ve never written an invoice for £144,000.

Suddenly a project fee, agreed at the start of your project and invoiced in stages as we work through each step, seems so much more sensible.

Doesn’t it?

Written By Katherine

Katherine Wildman is a copywriter for creative agencies and multinational brands – and the Creative Director of Haydn Grey.

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