The value of writing

The value of writing

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Snapshot : What is the value of writing? We’ll talk about some research we’ve done on freelance copywriters and how much they charge for their work. We’ll then talk about how as a business owner we ‘value’ writing in terms of what it does for our business. And then we’ll close off with some thoughts about how you might value writing your business.

As mentioned in a recent post, we’ve focussed on writing in the last week or two. We’ve just added new articles to that section of the website. We cover business writing and then practical tips for writing for advertising, blogs, search and e-commerce. We then close off with some tips on how to be a better writer. But one theme that runs through all the content is the ‘value’ of writing.

One specific tip we cover in writing for advertising is around outsourcing to a freelancer writer. We recommend a couple of sites to look at if that’s a route you want to go down. But looking at Fiverr in particular and the services that are on there made us consider the business value model that sits behind writing.

Freelance copywriter segments

On Fiverr, there seems to be three different ‘segment’s of writers for hire. There are the entry level writers who are give away their services for low, low prices. We saw one writer offering 500 words at A$7.64. Knowing how long it takes to write 500 words, this would be at less than the Australian minimum wage. But more realistically, the relatively new and value driven offers seem to range around the A$45 to A$140 mark for 500 to 1,000 word blog articles. Most writers in this area seem to be from countries where the cost of living is relatively low. So we assume this pay level works well for them. Nigeria and Pakistan seem to feature quite heavily.

There’s then a segment of more experienced writers (based on the number of reviews) who mainly seem to be from countries like the US and the UK. Here living costs are higher and so are the prices. These writers are charging more like $450 for a 1,000 word blog up to around $1,200 for a 2,500 word blog.

Then your final segment have gone a little bit tangential and are offering more strategic services. Copywriting manuals and guides for your website for example. The prices for these vary from $300 up to $2,500 plus.

It’s not our point in this article to comment on the quality of any of the services available. It’s more to note the wide variance in prices. And so the wide variance in the ‘value’ writing can be seen to add to a business.

(Though the (beginner) copywriter who wrote “Top notch deliveries is what I do“? Yeah, we’re probably never going to pick that guy)

Writing from a business owner point of view

What got us thinking though was to take off our ‘writer’ hat for a second and putting on our ‘business owner’ hat. Whether you are spending $7.64 or $2,500 for someone to write for you, that’s still your money you are investing in your business. So you still want to have a business target or value in mind to justify the price of that investment.

If we were paying someone $2,500 for a blog article, we’d want to be clear on the return we were getting from that. Let’s say the article was something that supported our consulting business. We’d assume that we’d also need to promote the article to get enough people to read it. So let’s say we put an additional $250 into LinkedIn advertising. Say we bid $5 CPC to get 50 clicks on the basis of a 2% conversion rate or one potential client that wants to hire us on a project. 

If that article generated interest from a client who then engaged us on a project, we’d have a target number of hours we’d need to cover before we started making a return on that investment. Working on an hourly rate of A$250, that’s 11 hours of work we’d need to generate before we made a profit from that piece of writing. Of course, doing that piece of work generates word of mouth which potentially generates future sales, but you get the gist of where we are going.

Connecting writing and business ownership together

We’ve not come across too many copywriters or even agency people who are able to make this sort of connection to the value of writing. Most writers focus on their writing skill. But as ‘clients’ for writing, a writer who could tell us how much revenue their writing could add to our business? Well, that shit would make them stand out from the writing crowd.

Pile of coins to represent the value of writing can be counted in your P&L
The value of writing can be counted in your P&L

The value of our writing

In our writing section, we cover some of the ways that writing can add value to your business. How writing for advertising should reinforce your brand identity and have a strong call to action. We cover how writing blogs can be a way of building engagement. How you connect with your target audience because you have done your topic and keyword research and written about things they are interested in. And you’ve written in with enough thought around length and structure to make it easy to follow. 

We also cover writing for search where the ‘value’ of increasing the likelihood your audience will find your writing is clear. Using the right search tools to tailor your writing also makes it more likely your writing will create a stronger connection with your audience. And just the basics of making your content damn readable? Well, that’s something everyone should spend more time doing. There’s a lot of poorly written content out there when you go looking. Or well-written but repetitive and formulaic content.

And finally from a practical point of view, we cover writing for e-Commerce. Here the value of writing becomes super-clear. Whether it is the clarity and consistency of your product description. Or the way you create an emotional connection or sales trigger with your consumer at the point of purchase. This section is the one we are most likely to change or re-write. So, we’d encourage you to read this section sooner rather than later. We think it adds the most value of any of the content we’ve written about writing. Particularly the section on creating a sense of urgency.

Final words on writing (for now)

We believe writing is a valuable skill that can add value to businesses. Our writing articles will give you some guidance on how that might work for you. But we’re always happy to have a conversation on the topic if it’s sparked a thought about what it might do for your business. 

And that, apart from a last quote to highlight the value of being concise, is our final word on writing (for now). 

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” 

Thomas Jefferson

Photo credits

Coins in small piles : Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

Woman writing in a journal  : Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash (edited)

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