Looking for a freelance copywriter who meets your requirements can be a challenge. You’ll want to be sure the person you choose can do the work to a high standard while staying within your budget. Here we look at what a freelance copywriter does as well as freelance copywriting rates in Australia.
Misconceptions about freelance copywriters
Part of the misconception of freelance copywriters (and writers in general) comes from films and television shows where writers are portrayed rapidly typing at typewriters or computers. This is especially true when showing newsrooms full of writers quickly tapping away.
There are two things wrong with this picture. The first is that newspaper reporters aren’t necessarily good writers; they rely on subeditors to improve their work. It’s actually more helpful to have a sales or marketing background to become good at the craft.
News reporting is simply reporting the facts of a story – or what news organisations want us to believe are the facts (but often are not). Newspaper reporters also have sub-editors who check their work and improve it before it goes to print. Freelance copywriters, in most cases, draft and redraft their work usually without the help of editors.
A freelance copywriter needs to understand the art of persuasion
An effective writer needs to persuade the readers to accept a point of view about a product, service or idea. This requires a deeper understanding of writing and persuasion techniques that are not required for news reporting. A freelance copywriter has to be part salesperson and part psychologist to understand what motivates customers to buy products and services.
The second thing wrong with the picture of fast-typing writers is that writing is one of the final stages of the process. A good freelancer will conduct a significant amount of research, thoroughly studying products and services, the company, the industry and the market. They need to understand the relevant target audiences and the pain points of potential clients. The freelance writer must complete this research before the writing begins. Some freelance writers boast about being able to work fast. But creating effective copywriting content takes time. The fast writer rarely produces good content. As the saying goes for all services, your options are good, fast and cheap, but you can only choose two of the three. An effective writer will take the time to work with clients to understand their customers and the benefits of what they offer.
Would you go to an accountant, surgeon, dentist or solicitor who told you they do their work very quickly?
Freelance copywriting prices
The amount of time and skill required to be an effective writer sheds light on freelance copywriter prices. It takes much more than simply going to a clever copywriting school online and putting a badge on your website. When you consider what a writer gets paid for working in-house for a company as a full-time employee, you will recognise that professional skills aren’t cheap.
In Australia, in-house writers are paid anywhere between $60,00 and $120,000 per year. Even casual in-house copywriters are paid an hourly rate of at least $50. When a writer is a freelancer, they are running their own business, so they need to spend time managing their business and spend money on overheads. In addition, they need to add in things like annual leave (when they won’t be earning an income) and superannuation. Given the time and overheads needed to run a business, a freelance copywriter needs to charge at least $100 per hour to match the earning potential of working as an employee. If charging by the word, this equates to $0.50 to $1.00 per word. Other copywriters might charge a flat fee, such as a day rate, and charge a rush fee for fast turnaround times.
We won’t do the maths here, but when considering freelance copywriting prices, you need to consider that the freelancer won’t be able to bill for 40 hours per work each week. This is because a significant amount of time is needed for running the business, including aspects like marketing and accounting.
If a freelance writer wants to charge a day rate, they will need to charge at least $700 per day to keep up with their counterparts employed in-house with businesses in Australia. In-house contract writers are making at least $50 per hour (plus superannuation), which is a $400 per day rate. The current day rate for freelance writers in Australia is anywhere between $400 and $700 per day. This might be out of reach for the average small business. But with the right approach, this investment can pay off by brining in more customers and increasing sales.
It’s amazing to see freelancer sites that are paying writers as little as $1.00 per 100 words as a fixed price. There’s no way a freelance writer can earn a living under these terms and conditions, even at entry level. Any experienced and professional freelance copywriter wouldn’t work for this amount. This is one of the reasons why the quality of freelance writing is low on many websites. If a freelance copywriter in Australia is charging exceptionally low prices, be careful. The quality of their writing might not be that good, or they might be outsourcing it to an overseas freelance copywriter who doesn’t deliver high-quality work. In this case, you’ll pay in the long term for a low copywriting cost.
Although some organisations are considering artificial intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT, to create content, it’s not really suitable for creating persuasive copy in an appropriate tone of voice that matches your brand.
Freelance web copywriting basics
The role of the freelance website copywriter didn’t exist until the mid-1990s. Since then, website copywriting has become one of the biggest service areas for freelancers. These freelance writers write landing pages, blog posts, and all other types of web content. A freelance writer can help from the very beginning, including initial web development. An SEO (search engine optimisation) copywriter goes the extra mile to increase the likelihood that your website content gets found. This includes conducting keyword research to determine what people are looking for and then writing content that includes these terms.
The rise of content marketing and social media has also created new roles for freelance writers. Technically, a content writer isn’t the same as a copywriter, as copywriting has a persuasive element. With content writing, the idea is to connect with your market and highlight your expertise, so it’s a different type of website copy. Many freelancers write persuasive copy as well as informative content, such as articles.
Choosing a freelance copywriter
When looking for a freelancer for copywriting, it’s a good idea to do your homework. Check out how long the person has been writing. Find out who have they worked for and what kind of review they have. See if you can see samples of their copywriting work. Remember that freelance prices are only part of the equation. It’s worth it to pay more for quality that gets people to your website (through SEO copywriting services) and gets visitors to take the desired actions. You will also want to know if the writer specialises in certain industries. For example, freelance B2B copywriting is not the same as freelance B2C copywriting. The tone of voice and approach are different for B2C and B2B copywriting.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your copywriting project, call us on 1300 731 955 or complete the contact form using the Contact link at the top of this page. We are a team of editors and freelance copywriters in Melbourne who work with businesses across Australia. As B2B content writers, we specialise in B2B content and have worked with hundreds of companies to meet their B2B copywriting needs.