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  • How Much Should You Pay For a Blog Post

    How Much Should You Pay For a Blog Post?

    Blog posts come in all shapes and sizes and are written for varying types of search intent.

    The intent of your content (as well as the quality of your writer) is the tail that wags the dog when it comes to determining the cost of an individual blog post.

    The first step to understanding how much you should pay for a blog post is understanding exactly what type of content you need and the skill-level of the writer your wish to hire.

    You shouldn’t be overly willing to plunk down loads of cash, nor should be skimping hoping to get high-quality content for nothing.

    Let’s dive in!

    The Intent of Your Blog Posts

    The Intent of Your Blog Posts

    Blog posts can be summed up as basically having one of three purposes.

    One is to provide the occasional piece of content to your website or business that just adds a little something extra to click on and is merely meant as an appendix to your site rather than a driving focus. In this case, you may only want sporadic blogs to fill space on your site.

    In this case, what you pay should match the nature of what you need and should carry a lower price point unless the few articles you need are extremely difficult or timely to produce. We’ll discuss this more later as we dive into the ways writers get paid.

    The second purpose is closely akin to traffic generation and/or SEO blogging for a website or business through the publishing of regular content. One of the ways that sites rank highly is by consistently putting out new content and making sure that they stay fresh in the search list.

    Not only does this require more blogs in a more timely fashion, but they are also generally specialized to a particular niche and as such, a certain level of skill is required from the writer, as well as the accompanying amount of research. In these cases, you can expect to pay more, though you may be able to work out a standard rate per piece rather than relying on whatever writers you can find for the occasional piece.

    The last purpose is that other sites are regularly looking to have writers publishing content that is well researched, thoughtful, and well written.

    But content for content’s sake is dumb. You’ll want to make sure your blog posts are optimized.

    These types of arrangements typically require a skilled writer that is paid by the hour or on a contract basis such as through an agency or other firm. Doing business this way gives some measure of guarantee of quality and improves the cost to benefit ratio for both parties.

    Once you know for certain what you’re looking for and the posting frequency, you can determine what to pay more accurately. Knowing what you’re dealing with beforehand will help you get the most out of what you’re paying for.

    If you look at it in one sense, you’re looking for marketing help in the form of a writer. Do your research, know what you’re getting and pay according to that value.

    Pay Types and How They Work

    When you decide you’re ready to hire a writer, it’s a good idea to know the different ways that some of them get paid so that you don’t end up signing on for something you don’t want and wasting money.

    We’ll break them down and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you have a fair bit of information before deciding on the type of commitment you want, keeping in mind that regardless of the type or skill level, most writers come up with the article ideas and outlines and then craft the content with iterations included. So, any cost in SEO should include that level of service. What follows is an outline of what it would cost to fully outsource your blogging to a third party (i.e. agency, contractor, etc.).

    Hourly Rate Writers

    Just like it sounds, these are writers that you pay by the hour, either through an agency or on your personal staff, they can be a great option when you have constant writing and editing needs.

    Having writers on staff is usually a good idea when you have needs other than just blogs. Press releases, emails, ads, social media posts, and other content can all be handled by an hourly writer.

    If you’re looking strictly at blog posts, then you may run into a cost issue as paying hourly rates for a writer for that singular purpose may outweigh the benefit gained. Rates vary by how you hire and skill level but cost overruns are a concern, particularly when there’s no limit set on how many hours you can be billed for.

    If blogs are necessary on such a consistent basis that you require an hourly writer, it is best to check samples of work or hire through a content agency to ensure that quality is maintained over time. That way the major investment is somewhat protected.

    You wouldn’t pay a fortune for a new car without some kind of warranty on it, right? The same principle applies here.

    Per Word Writers

    Per Word Writers Pricing

    Typically you’ll see this method of payment from freelance writers and agencies so that they have rough estimates of the value of a piece of content from a cost perspective. The rate per-word can vary wildly from a low of $.01 to as much as $3 or more depending on skill level, experience, technical niche, and other factors.

    Our blog writing service is somewhere in the middle:

    We are explicit about our pricing for blog and content writing.

    This is more of a “you get what you pay for setup than with hourly or contract writers. Here you pay a standard rate and usually give a minimum word range per piece of content. This is a good idea for those that only need a few pieces a month or who just want control over what they are paying.

    The thing to look out for here is that writers who write per word may try to fluff out pieces with irrelevant information, so it’s a good idea to be specific upfront about what you need, what you want it to sound like, and how many words it should be. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying for needless filler.

    This is even more important if you’re trying to create content that flows well and is keyword-rich so that it generates traffic to your blog and website.

    Per Article Writers

    This is basically a flat fee setup and is often the go-to option for newbie writers and those looking to churn out content. There are some positives as this setup gives you exactly what a piece will cost you upfront and a motivated writer will do a good job so that they can routinely produce high-quality content for you.

    The downside to this is that these writers will often rush through pieces in order to get on to the next job. As a result, they will often underbid their services and prioritize quantity over quality. Finding a writer that charges a fair rate while producing quality content can be difficult, but if you can do that, you’ll find this to be a more than adequate solution.

    This is the middle-of-the-road solution between having a full-time writer and having a by-the-word writer. Good quality by the piece writing can be good for the occasional blog post or for the regular updates, for instance, two or three a week, just don’t expect to find one that will work full time for you as they generally only write to supplement their income or have numerous engagements that keep them from committing to large quantities of work.

    Deciding on pay structure upfront will save you a headache by knowing what you’re likely to get out of the deal before you actually fork over any cash.

    The Going Rates For Writers by Skill Level

    Writers by Skill Level

    This breakdown is going to be a bit arbitrary since different people assess their skills at different levels and thus charge differently, but these will at least give you a baseline of what the cost will be and what you can expect from that level of skill.

    Amateur Writers – The Lowest Skill Level

    Unfortunately for business owners, there is a lot of writers who get into the business in an attempt to supplement their income with very little or no formal training in how to be a writer, especially for SEO. Having correct grammar and form aside, there is a certain level of talent that it takes to write engaging content that people will actually read.

    Can you imagine if every blog sounded like the random thoughts that some people have jumbled in their heads or even worse, a tax preparer’s handbook? Crazy right? That’s exactly the point. It’s not to say that amateur writers can’t write, it’s just that they often don’t yet have the experience and know-how to produce high-level content.

    Rates can range from $5 to about $25 apiece and you can generally expect to have to get someone to edit the work for you. This is not a bad deal if your content is very simple and you just need something written to fill space.

    However, if you need specific content or content longer than a few hundred words (we’re talking in the 1,000 and up word count category) then you might want to pay what it costs to hire someone with more experience.

    If you’re also looking for research and search engine optimization skills, you’re likely out of luck here as well. Most lower-tier writers have no training in SEO and haven’t done enough research to be truly skilled at it.

    Worse yet, the poorest among them may be prone to plagiarize content for lack of anything of their own to add to a topic.

    What we’re saying is, be careful if you choose value over skill. Not that there aren’t some decent amateurs out there, you just have to hope you find one.

    Average Writers – The Middle Tier

    You can find a number of writers who have been at it for a while and have a decent set of skills that will get you what you need. The reason they are a cut above amateur writers is that they generally have more experience, some formal training, and at least a bit of editing skill.

    Typically, a piece from a writer of this skill level will have fewer errors, be much more well written, have a decent voice and tone, and not be plagiarized, though they may reword some content to make it sound original.

    In terms of quality, this is the middle of the road for the middle of the marketing budget. The price for an average writer can range from $20 to $100 per piece depending on research and skill. You still won’t likely find too many average writers producing 100% unique content and long-form content is mostly a no-go as well.

    It’s best to stick in this price range if you want decent quality work on a regular basis that doesn’t need a whole lot of free thought or extra research. A good middle-tier writer should be fairly reliable.

    Expert Writers – The Upper Tier

    Ok, so maybe not Ernest Hemingway, but we’re definitely talking about the cream of the crop of hired writers. When hiring one of these writers you should expect no less than excellent grammar, editing skills, research skills, and proper tone and voice to match whatever your business needs.

    These are the writers you want to hire for your delicate researched content, long-form blogs, informational posts, and other content that needs that little bit of extra attention. If you’re very particular about your blogs, or just want everyone to know you’re an expert in your field.

    The rates for an expert writer can run well above $100 per piece, though generally what you get is worth it if you can afford the price. Expert writers are probably not necessary for just the occasional filler post or for less strict content. Businesses just looking to fill a page probably don’t want to foot the bill for this level of expertise.

    It’s up to you to carefully analyze the intent of the content you want to publish to determine what level of writer you want to hire and whether budget or risk is a factor.

    Other Tips Before Hiring a Blog Writer

    Tips Before Hiring a Blog Writer

    There are a couple of things that you may really want to think about before hiring a blog writer, regardless of the skill level you choose to pay for.

    The first consideration is that the web is full of blogs, some are bland as dry toast, some are ok, and some are excellent. Many times what separates a good blog from a bad one is readability. Whether it be a great use of headers, a good sense of humor, or expert, to-the-point delivery, blogs that people want to read are better than others.

    Second, remember that no matter who writes it, or what you publish, blogs are forever, or for at least as long as the internet is around, your blog will exist in one form or other. Sure, you can take down blogs and replace them, but a bad blog will certainly leave a mark, especially if you’re trying to draw in traffic and not frighten it off.

    Much like what you post on social media, what you post to your website will make an impression on the audience. Always take due caution before you decide to publish.

    Final Thoughts

    So, now you know a bit more about what a blog post should cost and what you can expect to pay depending on what you want. While we can’t give you an exact cost, we hope the tips and suggestions we’ve given are enough to help you make a more educated decision when you decide to hire a writer for your next blog.

    Starting a blog isn’t something that you should take lightly, take your time, get writing samples and choose someone who seems trustworthy. If need be, get help from a writing service or professional content manager to get the blogs and other content you truly want.

    Chief Marketing Officer at SEO Company
    In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. As a technical SEO strategist, Sam leads all paid and organic operations teams for client SEO services, link building services and white label SEO partnerships. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building. Connect with Sam on Linkedin.
    Samuel Edwards