I’ve about had my fill of the cheap copy debate. In truth, there isn’t one. If you’ve got a complaint about copywriters charging too much, you’ve got other issues besides the cost. With copywriters, you get what you pay for, just like a doctor, lawyer, or even a school.
So, if you aren’t trying to screw writers over by trying to get everything for nothing, which most people aren’t, there’s something else behind it.
I’m not cheap, and after a series of recent events, I’ve re-evaluated my pricing structure yet again. My time and my copy are an investment, and it’s not something that should be taken lightly.
Cheap Copy Makes You Look Cheap
Enough is enough, and I’m not the only one who’s had it with this type of thinking either. A number of writers have already had their say:
Web Content — You Get What You Pay For! (Oh, and that video on the end? Watch it.)
Here’s from the client’s perspective:
Debating the Value (and Meaning) of “Great Content” for SEO (Comments are great)
There are literally thousands and thousands of pages on the topic.
Copywriting is an investment equal in importance to the design, development, usability, and marketing strategy. Throwing a hastily written piece of web copy on a design you’ve spent thousands on is like shoving a $10K stereo in a 1983 Tercel. And in a business where your only interaction with most customers is your website, the existance of this plague is truly a mystery.
I’m More Than Just a Durn Good Spellur
So, how do you define a ‘good writer’ anyway? Is this someone who can spell and knows the rules of grammar? Someone who can fit enough drivel between your keywords to satisfy your keyword requirements? Well, if that’s the case, then you’re right. Any idiot can do that…hmm, well no, that’s not true. I guess for some, the ability to speak and read English is enough.
Did you know that when you hire a copywriter, a good copywriter, you get more than just someone who can bang a bunch of crap onto a page. Yes, a good copywriter has to understand the rules before he or she can break them, but great copywriting, and indeed, great websites don’t become great by breaking the rules. They become great by breaking them the right way, and there’s much more to it than just that.
My Copywriting Is Creative
Tell me, how do you define your brand when it comes to creating your website? If you say simply your logo and tagline, you deserve a good swift smack. Your brand is the image you present to visitors.
Knowing that, what kind of an image do you project when your site looks great, but no one can understand a damn word you’re saying? Exactly. You may say you have high quality with an attention to detail, but do you really? Or are you more interested in making a quick buck? If it’s the latter, I can guarantee you that people can sniff that out a mile away. It reeks like a skunk and spreads about as far.
What sort of image do you project if someone arrives on your site and they can’t figure out what it is you do or what you have to offer them? Either it looks like you aren’t too interested in sharing that information, or you’re trying to hide something. People aren’t going to fight to give you money or attention.
What if your site just feels bland and uninspiring? How do you think people see companies like that?
When I write a piece of copy, I think about it long before I ever start writing. The imagery, feel, and tone for the copy absolutely perfect, meaning it needs to match you, your brand, and your target audience. If it doesn’t, you may as well be speaking alien because it’s going to be about as effective. In fact, my best ideas come to me at night when I’m supposed to be sleeping, in the truck, or while I’m in the shower.
I Don’t Bully Your Buyers. With Me, They WANT To Buy
Some segments of your audience need pushes at different times and to varying degrees. Do you address that adequately? Or do you just toss the standard format onto a page and hope for the best?
While most copywriters follow a standard formula, I know that nothing is ever standard. Your business, your market, your website, and even how you plan to communicate different ideas enter into this equation. I charge more because I take time to figure out to get familiar with your target audience and learn how to push the right buttons at just the right time.
I Focus On What Really Matters — Those Who Buy From You
I don’t know how many times I hear people complain that they’ve got too many time wasters. Or, they complain that they’ve got a low conversion rate. Did you ever stop to think that maybe your copy is attracting the wrong segment of people? Many times, site owners are building a site and they can’t even define who their most profitable market is. I don’t just mean stay at home mom’s over 40 either. I mean putting names to that market.
When I work on a project, however, I do my best to work with that company to define that audience, or I attempt to narrow it down as much as possible before I can even start. Why? Because that’s what makes my writing better and different than almost all other copywriters in the industry.
It’s not just identifying this market. It’s using various methods to become familiar with the people who will be giving you their money, enough that you can use the same language, have the same problems, desires and fears. Why? So you know how to offer them the solution.
This doesn’t just come from analyzing the data either. You need to understand exactly what it is you’re looking at. Is it guaranteed? Of course not, but it’s sure a lot more accurate than the wild stab in the dark a lot of other copywriters make, if they account for this at all.
I Get the Right Message Out There
A large majority of website owners want to talk about how wonderful their product is, how wonderful they are, and then ask consumers for money. This is so common, this is all a large number of copywriters produce. Sorry, but this just isn’t very effective. It’s been proven over and over and over again. In fact, the best copywriters in the business have been preaching this for decades.
When I craft copy, I get the attention of your target audience, I create an internal need, and convince them that buying whatever it is from you is the best they could do for themselves. To do this, I make a direct connection between you and them. Think of me like a translator. It has nothing to do with features and telling them how wonderful you are. This desire is far stronger than just bragging yourself up and asking someone to buy from you.
Well, I lied. This does work if you’re a girl guide, and sorry, but you’re far from a girl guide. Unless you’re a girl guide. Then, you have my apologies.
I Know How To Incorporate Social Media
Want to know what your target market is really talking about? Want to know what they really need or enjoy? Trying to hit a particular social media site? If your copywriter doesn’t know what he or she is doing, or doesn’t know what to look for (or how to look for it), you’re likely not going to get there, especially if you haven’t had time to do your homework. Things like this are easily skewed.
I charge more because I do know where to look and know how to interpret what I’m looking at. I charge more because I generate ideas that help you get the attention of your target market. Is it guaranteed? Nope. Sorry. Stuff like that is never a guarantee, but I guarantee you’ll get a heck of a lot closer with a copywriter that knows what she’s doing compared to one who doesn’t.
And Let’s Not Forget Search Engine Optimization
I’d like to think I have a pretty darn good understanding of SEO and how content fits into that equation. This gives me a distinct advantage over most copywriter, not only because I know how to create your content, but I also know how to structure it to satisfy the search engines and create sales funnels that are customized to match each of the different visitors who land on your site. In fact, I know how to create entire content strategies that will help you build links and all that kind of stuff.
A large number of other writers don’t even know where to begin. Oh, they can plug keywords into a bunch of text all right, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. What about working in difficult keywords or instances where the keywords chosen aren’t exactly a good match for the topic? I guarantee that if you’re only paying them a couple bucks an article, they aren’t going to care.
I’m Good To You Too
What happens when you forgot about a project or you’ve discovered you’re falling in the SERPs? Maybe you’ve got a product that’s not going to meet the month’s goals? While most other copywriters only work business hours Monday to Friday and no holidays, I’m usually willing to make myself available and do everything humanly possible to get it done.
I don’t limit the number of revisions you’re allowed. I don’t give you obscene turnover times, and you know it’ll be done when you give it to me. There’s always a friendly voice on the phone and friendly hellos in your email. You can’t say the same about a lot of the writers out there, and anyone who has fought with crap writers before knows how important this is.
You see? If I was just writing, I could warrant working for a couple of dollars an hour, but there’s much more to it.
I Have Expenses Too
Would you pay someone to work for them? Good. Me either. If it’s going to cost me to do your work, I’m not too interested in doing it, and I think that’s only fair. So what else is included in my costs? The same things that are included in every other service or product you buy:
- Administrative costs
- Emails, phone calls and chats (I don’t charge when we spend an hour on the phone!)
- Education, resources and learning
In the end, a single piece of web copy can take me days, not an hour or two. Besides, if you think it’s important enough to seek out the best copywriter to do it, don’t you think I should put as much time, care, consideration, and thought into it as you would?
You’ll notice I didn’t mention all the free SEO, site structure, usability, social media and marketing questions I often get asked while working on these projects. These questions sometimes eat up hours of my time…hours I could be getting paid for or spending with my kid.
Does this mean everyone should buy expensive copy? Of course not. Does this mean I’m the right copywriter in every situation? Of course not, but the rest of this discussion will have to wait for the next post!
June 21, 2010 at 7:05 am | Copywriting | 8 comments