Hiring a Freelance Writer: How Much Does It Really Cost?

Ah, you’ve asked a real question there and I’m sure you’ll be rolling your eyes when I answer with, “It depends.”

Very nice, Kristan, we get that. But on what does it depend?

The thing about freelance writing is that you have to ask what you are looking for in a writer. Are you looking for something short? Something longer? Something light-hearted and doesn’t need a whole lot of research? Something that could take weeks of research? How much risk went into creating that article?

All great questions and depending on how you answer will greatly push the needle on how much per word that writer costs… which leads to the next point.

Freelance Writers Are Paid By the Word

That means if I write you a 1500 word article, it should (depending on the various factors above) cost more than a 500-word article if everything else about it is the same.

The going rate of that is anywhere between 7 cents a word to upwards of $1 a word (and up) depending on anything from risk required to get that article, travel, research, and even the experience and reputation of that writer.

But most of us (and most business owners) are not looking for a war correspondent from a major news outlet to write a blog post.

What is too little? Too Much?

A word of caution here: You do get what you pay for. If you are low-balling a writer you probably won’t get the quality you’re looking for, even on a basic blog post. The reason is that the writer will have to write a whole lot more just to add up to another writer’s one article. That can result in some rushed and shoddy writing and that’s never a good look on any blog. Conversely, as I said, too high and you’re entering war correspondent level which is overkill.

A good rule of thumb is that you should probably look for someone charging between 15 cents to 50 cents a word for a regular blog post (*at the time of this blog post. Give it a few years and inflation will likely push this number up again). Most charging this per word will give a solid and fair effort for the blog post without having to rush it just to churn out ten more to be able to keep their lights on. It will probably cost as much as a decent home office all-in-one printer for that 1500-word article.

However, keep in mind that if require something more complex such as:

  • Seo Optimization
  • Deeper research
  • Some degree of risk (such as writing a post that could be seen as controversial)
  • Lightning-fast turnaround (expecting a two-day job to be done in the same day, for instance)

… Expect to pay more per word.

Conversely, the more work you do for the blog writer such as giving them a detailed point form idea of what you want written but just need them to ‘work their prose magic’, you can negotiate for slightly lower because you’ve already done some of the work.

Another thing that could help you is if you decide to always go back to that same writer. The more you go back to them, the more they may shave a few cents off per word because they know you’ll keep coming back.

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