Why is copywriting so expensive?

in Working with a copywriter

Have you ever had a quote from a copywriter and said: “How much?!”

After all, copy is just words, isn’t it? And everyone can write.

Well, yes. But also no. Because copy isn’t just about writing. It’s about writing to sell.

Here are three reasons to explain why copywriting can seem, at first glance, to be ‘expensive’ – and why it really isn’t.

Price vs value

To claim an old saying, copywriting is salesmanship in print.

Think for a moment about the time you’ve been persuaded by a clever bit of copy on a website or in a brochure to buy something. An item of clothing, a holiday, a training course or a rather lovely piece of furniture. Or think about how a letter from a charity persuaded you to make a donation. Or the way a company’s website sounded that convinced you they were the people you wanted to work with.

Now think about all that from the point of view of a business owner. Each piece of copy was written just once. But it’s bringing in buyers every day. A single piece of copy could be translating into thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds worth of sales. It sets the initial cost of the copy into context, doesn’t it?

Experience + time

Aside from the value the copy will be delivering, it’s also worth considering the experience your copywriter will bring to the table. How much is that experience worth?

Think for a moment about ‘Just Do It’, Nike’s slogan. It takes seconds to type at most. But I don’t suppose for a moment the agency that came up with it charged Nike pence for their work.

And neither should they have done. ‘Just Do It’ is one of the world’s most recognisable slogans. It sums up everything Nike stands for and when you hear one, you hear the other. That kind of brand recognition is priceless.

There’s an old story about a factory where an important machine breaks down, bringing work at the factory to a halt. The factory manager calls the engineer, who arrives the next day to fix it. The engineer walks up to the machine, inspects it for a couple of minutes then replaces a single washer. The machine whirrs back into life and the factory is able to start producing again.

Later on, the invoice arrives. It’s for £401.00. The factory manager calls the engineer. “How much?!” he says. The engineer answers: “Yes. The washer was £1.00. It was the 20 years’ experience that taught me to spot at a glance what the problem was that cost the £400.00.”

I recently heard another take on this story from another copywriter. She said that whenever she is asked to justify her prices she says something like this. “I’ve spent 15 years working with and learning from copywriting experts. I’ve also spent 15 years working on projects and seeing for myself what works and what doesn’t. All you’re paying for is the time I’ll be spending working on your project.”

You get what you pay for

It’s certainly possible to buy cheap copywriting. The internet is awash with people offering to write copy for very little money.

But you may not get what you hoped for. To earn the living wage, cheap copywriters have to churn out the words not worry about the quality.

Here’s what Content production experts Codeless concluded when they commissioned and reviewed content from five so-called content mills:

Having content made for the sake of filling up your blog isn’t going to work.

Terrible content won’t rank. It won’t persuade visitors. And it won’t keep people coming back for more.

All it does is gather digital dust and cobwebs.

There is no ‘middle’ ground, either. You’re better off NOT spending money on content, if you can only ‘afford’ mediocre drivel.

Otherwise, the only way to stand out, get ahead, and start growing your top line is through awesome content.

Yes, it’s going to cost you more. But it’s also going to actually create a positive ROI, too.

When you pay more, you tend to get more. A copywriter who’ll spend time getting to know your business, your market and your customers and thinking about what’s required before they sit down to write. A copywriter who’s keen to deliver the best possible result. A copywriter who’s proactive, enthusiastic and doesn’t feel aggrieved at every interaction with you. A copywriter who will be able to point to examples of their work that have helped their clients improve sales rates, raise their profile and win awards.

Above all, a copywriter who’ll give you copy that will help you make more money. And isn’t that worth it?

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