Content Strategy

5 Key Factors That Impact Freelance Writer Rates

By Rose de Fremery on July 7, 2021

As brand marketers work to scale their content marketing programs and drive business growth, they aren’t going it alone.

According to Skyword’s 2021 survey research, Scaling Your Brand Marketing with Freelance Creators, 73 percent of marketers say they will rely more on freelance creators over the next year or two. To attract top freelance talent, marketers must set realistic and competitive budgets for freelance content marketing work.

Here are some of the key factors that impact freelance writer rates for content marketing projects.

5 Key Factors That Impact Freelance Rates

Freelance writers price their services using cost levers that many brand marketers will find familiar, such as word count and content type. They often consider several of these levers at once, sometimes balancing them against one another, when determining the proper project fee for an assignment.

Word Count

Generally speaking, longer pieces fetch higher rates. That said, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. A relatively concise article that requires interviews or significant research may command a higher rate than one that does not.

Content Type

The closer content is to the bottom of the funnel, the likelier it is to cost more. This is partly because conversion-focused content, such as a case study or white paper, is often more complex and time-consuming to prepare, and it requires a more in-depth understanding of a buyer or customer’s persona.

Industry

Certain industries—or, as freelance writers are more likely to refer to them, niches—pay higher rates than others. According to the Skyword report, freelance writers specializing in technology and equipment services, human resources, and finance and insurance are two to three times as likely to report earnings of more than $5,000 per month.

Subject Matter Expertise

Seventy-five percent of brand marketers surveyed in the recent Skyword report say they look for creators who are industry experts or practitioners. Freelance writers who boast deep subject matter expertise on specific niches and industry credibility, such as healthcare practitioners or software developers, accordingly tend to garner higher rates.

Level of Experience

Like many professionals, freelance writers charge higher rates as they gain experience. Brand marketers can expect to pay more for the services of seasoned writers than for newcomers who are just starting out and developing their portfolios.

A young African-American freelance writer prices out a project on her laptop while seated outdoors at a cafe.

Image attribution: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Flags That Bump Up Freelance Writer Rates

While different freelancers may weigh factors differently as they decide what to charge, certain elements tend to stand out as a sign that a given project should earn a higher rate—including some that might not be on brand marketers’ radar.

Tight Deadlines

When a brand marketer offers a freelance writer an assignment with a short turnaround time, the writer may have to juggle their other commitments to meet this new deadline. According to the Skyword report, 72 percent of freelance writers charge higher rates for quick-turnaround assignments.

Interviews

Some assignments require interviews with subject matter experts or customers. In those cases, freelance writers may have to conduct background research and prepare interview questions for approval in advance. There’s also skill and time involved in conducting the interviews and drawing out the most valuable insights. For these reasons, many freelance writers raise their rates when interviews are required.

Significant Research

If a piece of content requires significant research, a freelance writer may charge a higher rate to account for the time and effort involved. Along with the writer’s own expertise and industry credentials, well-utilized research ultimately gives content more authority and credibility.

Rounds of Revision

Many writers specify a fixed number of standard revision rounds in their contract. If an assignment requires additional levels of revision or involves multiple reviewers, Skyword research finds, 70 percent of freelance creators will raise their rate to account for the time and coordination involved in assessing the feedback and making the requested updates.

Unbylined Content

According to Skyword’s findings, just over a quarter of freelancers charge a higher rate for unbylined or ghostwritten content. Because their name is not attached, they can see this content as more difficult to use in marketing their services and attracting new clients.

Borrowed Influence

Influencers have their own brands to think about, of course. If an assignment requires borrowed influence on behalf of a brand or social sharing within their networks, they may expect a higher fee to match.

Attract Top Talent with Competitive Freelance Writer Rates

According to Skyword’s latest research, 91% of brand marketers say that expanding their content creation capabilities is important to their organizations’ long-term marketing success.

Experienced writers who consistently deliver exceptional content will expect fair compensation for their work. Part of working with freelance writers involves setting a fair budget for content marketing projects. By better understanding the factors behind freelance writer rates, marketers can attract top freelance talent and scale their content marketing programs for future success.

Need more insights? Download “2021 Research: Scaling Your Brand Marketing with Freelance Creators” today.

Featured image attribution: Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels

Author

Rose de Fremery

Rose de Fremery is a writer living at the intersection of digital culture and creativity. Originally a technologist by trade, she’s captivated by technology innovation and the promise it offers to spark our unique human capacity for creativity and imagination. Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Rose was the IT Director for an international human rights organization. She also served as Managing Editor for The Social Media Monthly, the world’s first print magazine devoted to the social media revolution. A native of Western Massachusetts, Rose works and lives in Astoria, Queens. Learn more about her at www.rosedefremery.com.