What’s a Word Worth?

Why don’t you put a price on a word?

I’ve been asked on a few occasions to provide a price ‘per word’ for my copy.

I’ll never do this.

Good copy isn’t a commodity, but pricing by the word makes it one. A price per word completely devalues what I do, and what you need.

Would you ask an accountant for a price per number? A photographer for a price per click of the shutter? A decorator for a price every time he lifts up his paint brush?

No, you wouldn’t. You’d ask for a cost for a professional, finished output that suits what you need. Copywriting is no different.

Price per word - price on a word copy
Image c/o The Times UK

How can you price by the word?

You can’t. It’s that simple.

If you’re asking for a ‘price per word’ that’s telling me that you don’t yet understand the value of good copy.

Allegedly, approximately 6% of all the copy you read will be composed of the word ‘the’ (statistic courtesy of writer Paul Anthony Jones). Of course, that example’s talking of copy written by anyone, anywhere in the English-speaking world. However, it proves that most copy includes some – necessary – words that don’t have the same impact as, say, your brand tagline.

If you’re after a cost per word, you’re suggesting that the word ‘the’ holds the same value as your new product name. Frankly, that’s a little daft.

So, what’s going on behind the scenes?

A cost per word places quantity over quality. It encourages a writer to rush, which is bad news. It may also tempt a copywriter to write more than they should. We all know the phrase ‘less is more’; that’s sometimes true, so why pay for words you don’t need?

Of course, there’ll be a few copywriters out there who do give you a cost per word. My response? Good copy is more than simply the words on the page. Good copy is thought-out, considered, and well-crafted.

There’s so much that adds value to each piece of copy I provide you. Every project is different. There’s thorough research. Time spent understanding you, your brand, and your company ethos. Capturing your tone of voice. Getting to know your audience. Drafting, re-drafting, editing and proofreading. Then, you’ll be delivered a polished, thorough, finished piece.

Price 'per word' - value of good copy

Image c/o Radix Communications

But how much are you going to charge me?

I understand: you want to know how much good copy will cost you. And that’s fine. We all want to know how much we’re going to have to pay for any service we receive.

So, whilst I don’t charge by the word, I price per hour or per project.

All I ask is that you let me know what it is you’re after. Do you need a rewrite, or copy from scratch? What’s the purpose of the work? Let’s grab a coffee, and I’ll take the time to talk to you about what you need. Then, I’ll let you know how long I expect the work to take and provide you with a no-obligation quote.

Sounding good? Drop me a line, and we’ll have a chat.

07940 393086

Long-term requirement for a copywriter? Regular blogger needed? Larger piece of work in mind? Great – let’s talk it through. Let me know what it involves, and we’ll talk through costs on a project basis.

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07940 393086

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