Changing Services and Writing Rates in the New Year

I'm finally working out some of my service and writing rate changes for the new year. These are my two biggest changes:

Press Release Writing - I've always offered press release writing at ridiculously low rates (compared to other PR professionals; not compared to content writers offering them). I did that ($99 this year) as a marketing strategy (I'd bring in clients with press release writing, and it led to quite a few much larger projects in copywriting and PR consulting). I don't really need to use them as a marketing tool anymore, so those rates are increasing in January. I was going to make my new client rate $249 / release (more in line with others in the field), but I'm thinking it's going to hurt referrals from past clients (old PR clients will still have the $99 rate for a year after the change).  So I've decided to lower that a little bit, and the new rate will be $179 per release.

Content Writing

I've decided that I'll be offering lower rates on certain types of content writing (business content, and only in a few specialty niches). I'm doing this mostly because I'm not planning to push press releases as heavily in the webmaster market, but I want to keep myself working with that group still for a while. As of now, my minimum article rate (other than a regular blogging gig for an older client) is $200. I'm going to start offering $50 articles (of around 300 words), and slightly longer articles at a bit more.  I don't plan to take on a ton of these, but with me wanting to focus more on my own sites as opposed to things like consulting, these will hopefully make decent filler work when I have some time. It's mostly something I'm doing as a new test (you know I love to do that), and it gives me something to do with my content writing focused domain when I pull the PLR packs after the first of the year.  Those prices will include exclusive Web rights only, so even though I'm seriously cutting the rate, it's not as though I'll never be able to make use of the content again.

So those are my two primary service changes that I've definitely decided on for this year.  It may not happen right on the 1st of the year, as I'll need to make time to update my sites and such (and I'm re-doing my business site at the moment, and pulling my business writing services aside to another domain).

What kinds of changes are you making to your writing rates or services in the new year?

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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13 thoughts on “Changing Services and Writing Rates in the New Year”

  1. I’m planning on working on a larger variety of topics and trying things I haven’t before (such as affiliate marketing, PLR packs and my own e-book series) in order to meet my $100/day goal. Currently I have no works generating passive income, so building on that is definitively one of my goals for 2008. Rather than increasing my base rates, I want to work on querying better paying markets and getting more “filler” work that can be done quickly and easily (less SEO, more general web content).

  2. My rates can’t be negotiated since the companies I work for set the rates that they will pay me. I am amazed that you can get $50 for a 300 word article. This is for online content? Wow, I thought I was being paid fairly well at $25 for 650-ish words (sometimes I go more around 800 words depending on the topic).

    Maybe I need to set up a site offering content services. I can write well, I just have no idea how to promote my services.

  3. That’s only about $.17 / word, so yes, there are definitely markets out there. You just don’t find the gigs advertised publicly as often as you’ll find things like $.01 – .05 / word gigs. It often comes down to who you know (for referrals for those unadvertised gigs as people hear of them) and how well you can market yourself.

    This year the minimum I accepted for articles (with the exception of one repeat client I’m doing occasional blogging for) was $200. Needless to say I didn’t do much in the way of “content writing” for traditional site owners. Also keep in mind though that my full-time “job” is running my PR firm (most of my income is from consulting) – my writing is part-time. Most of that writing has been copywriting (marketing copy). I’m only considering offering the cheaper content as potential filler work when I have time available for some reason. I have no doubt you could fill a full-time work-week with $50 / article gigs if you focused enough on marketing and networking, but that’s not something I’ll be looking into doing (it would be taking a pay cut over the consulting work, and would set me back on my own sites and publishing, which are my priority in the new year).

  4. So I either need some “connections” or I need to learn how to market myself. Neither will be easy since I work nearly every waking moment. I wouldn’t need to work that much if I could get those kinds of rates. 🙂

  5. Well remember… the bulk of your working hours shouldn’t necessarily be billable. For those taking care of all of their administrative tasks and marketing themselves aggressively, a little over half of working hours are often the billable portion. To make that work, you have to account for it in your average hourly rate (even if you don’t bill hourly). It’s precisely why $25 / hr as a freelancer isn’t the same thing as $25 / hr for a salaried employee.

    It’s not something that has to take forever. I only took about 3 months of heavy networking before I was earning well over that $.16 / word on most gigs. Here are a few things that really helped me:

    1. I built up connections with other writers who were in similar niches but not generally directly competing – when they found out a client or someone else was looking for a press release writer or copywriter, they sent them my way.

    2. I went with a content network very early in my Web writing work, and used my time there pretty effectively as far as networking with people in freelancing and publishing – some of whom later became clients and others who have referred several clients to me.

    3. I set up a business site very early on.

    4. I regularly network in forums – not only to advertise my services to potential clients, but to contribute quality posts. People like what I have to say and see I know what I’m talking about, and that makes them willing to pay more for my services than they’d pay to someone else. In this case I stick with one primary forum and just a few others where I pop in occasionally. Building a reputation and high post count can make you look better to potential clients.

    5. I started my own blogs in the same niches where I was doing client writing (small business, marketing, PR, etc.). Again, people see that you can write on the topic, that you understand what you’re talking about, and they’ll often contact you because of your blog posts. It gives people another way to find you through search engines, and it also allows you to earn a bit of income in the meantime through advertising or other monetization. I still earn much more from services overall (writing plus consulting), but my blog income has grown enough that I’m making them a bigger priority in the new year, and planning to make them (in conjunction with any e-books or other informational products I create) my primary income stream within the next three years.

    It can definitely be done. I remember working constantly and always wondering when I’d finally burn out. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you can ease off, spend less time looking for work (because more of it will find you), and more time building some passive revenue streams (always good to diversify in case one income stream dies off). 🙂

  6. I actually created a SET ratesheet for this year and have sent it to a few new potential clients and they took the bait — so I’m happy — so in essence, I have raised my prices…

  7. I work in a completely different way to Jenn, but it’s still absolutely possible to get the rates you want. I don’t get work by networking or direct contact with companies. I either query magazines or answer call for writers posted in job boards. Either way, I only pick those who are offering a rate I find fair in the first place. I don’t mind writing for low pay if it’s something I can do quick or a large project that will generate revenues for a long time. For example, I write weekly articles for a e-newsletter that pays $25 for 400 words. Not a great rate, but the articles never take me more than 30-40 minutes to research and write and the writing itself is a lot of fun.

    Like Jenn, I do spend a good deal of time doing things that are not billable. Write copy for my own website, post, answer ads, send queries, edit or check in with past clients/editors. It does take a while to get to the point where you can higher rates on a regular basis, but it’s definitively possible. Again, I think a website is essential as a step to get there.

  8. I do the same, but I choke up those tasks as “investments” into my business. And they are things that keep me sane. 🙂

  9. I tend to take a lot of lower-paying work because it has some advantages: it usually pays faster, it’s easy to write and there’s so much of it that I can always count on it to pay my bills. Querying magazines or writing for higher-paying markets is great, but it often takes a long time to see results, so I can’t count on it as my main source of income. I think it may be different for people who work as copy writers or do more business-oriented writing, but if you work mainly with articles, the lead time is usually very long.

  10. I wanted to clarify that lower-paying doesn’t mean $2 articles, like a lot of content work out there. But I do, for example, write for eHow. Not directly, but through a company eHow contracts to. The pay is $19 per article (about 400 words). Sounds very low, but if you take a look at eHow, you’ll see that the articles are basically a series of steps: very easy and quick to write. I usually can do 3 in an hour (if I know the topic well). So while the pay is low compared to writing for magazines, it does add up in the end.

  11. Yes, if you work directly for them, you only get pay per page view (I’m guessing that can’t add up to more than a few cents a month). When they subcontract to other companies, however, you get paid a flat fee but you don’t get a byline. My articles are published with a byline such as “eHow party planning editor” or something like that (according to the topic). The company that contracts these articles out also works with other content websites. eHow is just one of their clients.

  12. Here’s an example of one of my articles:
    As you can see, no name. When we write an article through the subcontractor company, we are assigned an editor. We write the article, submit it back to the company through a special online program and then it gets edited and sent to eHow for approval. If everything is fine (it usually is), it gets uploaded. You get paid twice a month. It really is a good gig: quick, easy and well-paid (for what it involves).


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