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The value of writing

Close up of a persons hand writing in a book, with the words "what's the value of my writing?" highlighted

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Why read this? : This week’s article looks at the business value of writing. First we look at freelance copywriting fees to get an idea of cost. Then we apply these costs back the value of what that writing can do for your business. Read this to learn how you can work out the value of writing for your business. 

In one of our recent articles about writing, we mentioned how writing has been a big focus as we get our new business up and running. 

That means we’ve added new and updated existing guides and articles about writing to our site.

Recent additions include an overview on business writing as well as specific advice on writing for advertising, blogs, SEO and sales copy.

There’s also general tips on how to be a better writer, plus articles on the writing challenges you’ll face.

Close up of a persons hand writing in a book, with the words "what's the value of my writing?" highlighted

But one theme that kept coming out of all this new content was the ‘value’ of writing.

For example, in our article on quick and easy copywriting tips we talk about writing your own copy or hiring a freelancer. You usually do this when you don’t want to spend money going through an agency.

But looking at freelancer sites Fiverr, and the writing services that are on there, made us think about the business value model that sits behind writing.

Freelance copywriter segments

On Fiverr, there seems to be three different segments of writers for hire.

There are the entry level writers who 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.

Screengrab from fiverr showing the entries on the "writing and translation" section

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.

Five piles of different types of coins - appears to be 1,2,5,10 and 20 cent euros

The final segment of writers offer more strategic writing services. (we’re generally wary of people calling themselves strategists). They can create copywriting manuals and guides for your website for example. You might well use this type of writer for more technical writing jobs like user manuals. Their prices vary from $300 up to $2,500+ per project.

It’s not our point in this article to comment on the quality of any of these services. It’s more to note the wide variance in prices. When there is such a wide variance in what you can pay for writing, it makes it much harder to put a value on how much it’s worth to your business. 

Writing from a business owner point of view

We’re lucky we can look at the value of writing in two ways. We can look at it as writers, and also as business owners. 

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 that spend.

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.

Screengrab of Three-Brains blog page - category selections and search tag options

Let’s say the article was something that supported our coaching and 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 do with that client before we started making a return on our writing investment.

Working on an hourly rate of A$250, that’s 11 hours of work (the $2,500 writing cost plus the $250 ad spend) we’d need to generate before we made a profit from that piece of writing.

Of course, doing that piece of work also generates word of mouth which potentially generates future sales. It helps boost SEO ranking so more people find us.

But you get the gist of where we’re going. There are ways to work out the actual value of writing. 

Connecting writing and business ownership together

We’ve not come across too many copywriters or marketing agencies who make this sort of connection to the value of writing.

Most writers focus on their writing skill. Necessary, yes, but is it enough for business owners who may not know what good writing looks like. 

As potential ‘clients’ for writing, a writer who could tell us how much revenue their writing could add to our business? Well, that would make them stand out from the writing crowd.

The value of our writing

In our writing skill guides, 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’ve done your keyword research and write about things they’re interested in.

And you’ve written with enough thought around length and structure to make it highly readable.

Close up of woman's hands holding a bunch of dollar bills and in the process of counting them

We also cover writing for SEO 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. Poorly written content isn’t great for anyone. 

And finally from a practical point of view, we cover sales copy. Here the value of writing becomes super-clear. Whether it is the clarity and consistency of your product description and product pages. Or the way you create an emotional connection or sales trigger with your consumer at the point of purchase.

So, we’d encourage you to read this section sooner rather than later. It adds the most value out of all our writing content. Particularly the section on creating a sense of urgency.

(We’d also recommend our articles on behavioural science and design psychology for more on how to use creative skills to influence customer behaviour). 

Final words on writing (for now)

We believe writing is a valuable skill that can add value to businesses.

Whether it’s writing about what we learn from writing about writing to writing about marketing, we find it a great way to organise our thoughts and help our customers learn. 

Check out our writing skill guides to learn more about the value of writing for your business. Or contact us for help getting more value out of your writing. 

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

Person wring at a table - close up of their arm with a coffee mug in front of them

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

Photo credits

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

Coins in small piles : Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

Counting cash : Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Person writing near mug : Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

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