posted under Advice for Aspiring Copywriters
I received the following email from a new freelance copywriter quoting on her first project, an e-newsletter. I thought I’d share her questions and my responses in the hope it might help others embarking on their freelance writing career.
— Susan Greene
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I am doing research on what to charge a potential client to write an e-newsletter and was impressed with your website. I have a lot of business writing experience as an employee but am new to freelancing and don’t have a good feel yet for what I should be charging.
Ranges in books like The Writer’s Market are so general, and what I’m finding on the web is all over the place. Would you be willing to share your rates or at least share with me your thoughts and experience on a rate that might make sense?
The project is 300-400 words, 3-4 articles per e-newsletter, 15 newsletters a year. The client is a non-profit organization.
I was thinking of proposing $500 a newsletter since I would be doing all the research, project managing the whole thing and writing some articles from scratch (including interviewing, etc.). Do you have any sage advice for this newbie since it looks like you’ve been in this game for awhile?
Thanks in advance,
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Nice to meet you. Congratulations on starting to do freelance copywriting. It can be a great side business or full-time career. I have some thoughts regarding your newsletter assignment, some of which might be applicable to other future assignments too as you grow your venture:
Hope that helps, Carol. Let me know how you make out.
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So nice of you to write me back, and you’ve given me a lot to think about.
I have answers to most of the questions you raised above. After you read the information below, please feel free to offer any other words of wisdom or advice. I’m all ears, and I am eternally grateful!
Gathering information for the various newsletter articles may involve onsite interviews. I’m guessing that at least some of them will. The client will provide all other research and raw data. Each article will be 300-400 words.
The client says a budget hasn’t yet been determined. I know they have worked with freelancers before on editorial content but wasn’t able to get exactly who it was in our area. I have seen another freelancer’s website in this area who says he would charge $600-$1,200 for an e-newsletter so my rate of $500 would be low, but he has a lot more experience than I do.
The client is the one who came up with the quantity of 15 newsletter issues per year. They are asking for three newsletters, but five different versions of each, covering different aspects of their business.
My primary function would be as a copywriter. I’ll just be responsible for the written content. They will provide a template, handle any necessary graphic design, post online and distribute to their database.
The goal of the newsletter is to increase awareness of their products and ultimately generate sales.
They asked for e-newsletters specifically. Producing a newsletter is something they have been meaning to do for a while but haven’t had time to accomplish. I would be filling a void. They already blog, so they don’t want to go that route for this marketing effort.
The client is a major player in their industry and would be quite impressive as my first freelancing gig. It would also undoubtedly lead to more work with them and possibly others in the field should I want it.
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You’re very welcome. Glad you found my responses helpful.
My concern is that your $500 rate is based on best-case scenarios. The client provides you with good research and doesn’t overwhelm you with meeting requests, excessive revisions, a lengthy approval process, etc. In essence, you hope they’re a “good client” and not a “PITA (pain-in-the-ass) client.” If that’s not the case, you may find you’re working way too hard for your money.
On the other hand, if they’re a non-profit organization, anything higher than $500 might not be within their budget or might not provide enough value for them to justify the expense.
Often when I’m pricing projects, the amount isn’t determined solely by how many hours I’m going to put in but rather what the client is willing or able to pay. If I don’t fall within the range the client expects to pay, then I won’t get the job, regardless of whether my price is justified for the amount of work.
So, it’s a bit of a guessing game.
Here are two strategies to consider as a means of hedging your bet:
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