Looking for a freelance copywriter that meets your requirements can be a challenge. You want to be sure the person 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.

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 copywriters. It’s actually more helpful to have a sales or marketing background to become a good copywriter.

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 before it goes to prints. 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 freelance copywriter will conduct a significant amount of research to understand the products or services, the company, the industry and the market. The freelance copywriter must complete this research before the writing begins. Some freelance copywriters brag about being able to work fast. But good copywriting takes time. There’s no way you can be a fast copywriter and produce effective copy. Would you go to an accountant, surgeon, dentist or solicitor who told you they do their work very quickly?

Freelance copywriter 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 copywriters 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 on 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. This equates to $0.50 to $1.00 per word. 

I won’t do the maths here, but when considering freelance copywriter 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 copywriter wants to charge a day rate, they will need to charge at least $700 per day to keep up with their counterparts employed with businesses in Australia. In-house contract writers are making at least $50 per hour (plus superannuation), which is a $400 per day rate. 

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. Any experienced and professional freelance copywriter wouldn’t work for this amount. 

Freelance web copywriter 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 freelance copywriters. These freelance writers write landing pages, blog posts, and all other types of web content. A freelance web copywriter can help from the very beginning, including initial web development. An SEO (search engine optimisation) copywriter goes the extra mile to increase the chances 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 copywriters. Technically, a content writer is not 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 freelance copywriters are also content writers. 

Choosing a freelance copywriter

When looking for a freelance copywriter, 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 copywriter prices are only part of the equation. It’s worth it to pay more for quality that gets people to your website (through SEO) and gets visitors to take the desired actions.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your copywriting project, give us a call on 1300 731 955 or complete the contact form.