A good content writing service is one of the most powerful tools marketers, bloggers, and affiliates of all sizes can use.
There’s only so much content that one person can write. Even teams of writers can only write so much, and if they’re in-house that can get prohibitively expensive.
But how much do content writing services charge? In this article, I break down common agency costs, which types of content cost more, and how rates get set.
Let’s get into it!
Average Content Writing Service Costs of 9 Agencies
While costs can vary, and some of these writing services have wildly different prices based on the type of writing or package offered.
Here’s a breakdown:
|3.9 to 4.9 cents per word
|5.4 cents to 7.2 cents a word
|5.5 to 7 cents a word
|6 cents a word
|7 cents a word
|Niche Website Builders
|7 to 8.5 cents per word
|7 to 13.5 cents a word
|11 cents a word and up
|19 cents a word
ExpressWriters charges based on content ordered so there are rates as low as 2.7 cents a word for no-research “SEO content” to 28 cents per word for sales copy or highly technical spec writing.
Based on what these rates of highly rated and respected services show, 5-8 cents per word is a good general “average range” with some higher and some lower from that middle ground where many good services price themselves at.
Should You Pay Per Hour, Word, or per Project?
There are pros and cons to each of these strategies, and not everyone is going to agree on which one is best.
All of them can be viable in the right situation with the right partnership, but here are the pros and cons of each payment method.
Pay Per Hour
Pay per hour can be great with reliable and trustworthy providers.
Many good writers can put out a lot of content in an hour or two, so even a generous per hour rate might create savings on a large content order.
On the other hand, tracking what a reasonable rate is much more difficult.
You don’t know for sure how many words you get, how much a project will cost, and arguing over hours charged is a headache neither side of a deal looks forward to.
Pay Per Word
The main advantage of pay per word is you know what to expect back from an order.
A 2000 word article at 7 cents a word is $140. Simple, and makes it easy to plan how many articles you can expect from a set budget.
The downside is that the pay-per-word can encourage writers to be too wordy or to add fluff to an article.
If a topic is more in-depth or difficult than expected, the writer won’t go the extra mile but is likely to hit the breaks right around the required word count, which can lead to articles ending abruptly or feeling incomplete.
This is how the majority of content writing services display their pricing.
Pay Per Project
A major advantage of pay per project is you know what the budget is and can clearly negotiate terms ahead of time. This helps avoid fluff writing or abrupt endings that pay-per-word can lead to.
The biggest problem with pay-per-project is that if the project turns out to be larger than the scope of the original contract, you will have to pay more. Many good freelancers are also hesitant to
Pay per project is also an excellent option from content writing services if more than just writing is involved, such as pictures, posting to WordPress, basic SEO work, etc.
Types Of Content Writing
While each content writing service may break down styles of content writing even further for pricing purposes, in general, there are three types of writing that most agencies will always differentiate between.
Highly technical writing will cost more because it takes skill and training, and is much harder to produce in large amounts.
Technical writing could be a user’s manual, an in-depth guide to computer repair, or a stylized type of writing like press releases or business white papers.
Sales copy is always in high demand. This includes sales copy for a landing page or squeeze page, but many content writing services will also include product reviews or affiliate guides under this type of writing, as well.
Blog content is most often informational content and will also be the least expensive rate because there is less formatting, in-depth research, or in-depth knowledge needed to produce good blog content.
The majority of outsourced content for most websites will be blog content which is why it’s so widely offered.
What Defines Content Writing Rates?
There are multiple factors that affect the average content writing rates.
Understanding these will help you know what to expect based on your upcoming project.
Content type is a major factor when it comes to determining rates. If the content requires expertise, special formatting, or additional in-depth research and time, it will cost more to write.
This is why the majority of high end content writing services either specialize in one very specific type of writing or have different prices based on the type of writing that the client selects.
The more experience and insider knowledge a writer needs to have (or research) to write an article, the higher the rates are going to be.
Topics like taxes, medicine, and law require a high level of expertise that very few writers have.
Supply and demand means writers who can accurately cover these topics in-depth get to charge a lot more, as do the agencies they work for.
Simple topics mean less work and that means a more reasonable rate can be charged.
If the topic is difficult to understand, study, and breakdown, no one is going to write that for a low price especially if an in-depth guide is needed or ordered.
Expertise costs money: that’s just one of the truths of the economy and it applies to writers, too.
When expertise for a deeply technical topic or style of writing (like a particular style of Business White Paper) is needed, there are going to be fewer writers who can fulfill those requirements well and that means higher rates.
Needing a writer who knows multiple languages, especially ones that aren’t as common, is going to add on to the cost of an article.
Ordering multiple translations is going to have the same effect.
Writing for a general audience is easy, but if you have specific needs for content to be written towards lawyers, CEOs, B2B specialists, or other such limited audiences, that is going to require extra skill and time which can also increase prices.
Fast delivery can be hard to guarantee, especially if high quality has to go with it. If a client needs exceptional quality, research, and to have it done fast then the prices will go up.
If fast turnaround is less important, then the prices don’t have to be quite as high.
Freelance Writers vs In-House vs Content Agencies
Are content writing services the best solution, or should you be looking at building relationships with freelance writers or building an in-house team?
Many bloggers and marketers use a combination of these tactics and there are pros and cons to consider with each strategy.
Freelance writers provide some interesting options for creating content.
Many marketers start by hiring multiple freelance writers and then once they find an exceptional one or two, focus on giving them the bulk of available work.
- Generally cheaper than in-house writers
- Can try out many different writers before finding favorites to give consistent work to (or hire in-house)
- Ability to produce a lot of content quick and cheap
- Finding a good reliable freelance writer can be challenging
- Quality of writing will be all across the board
- Need to be wary of plagiarism and A.I. generated content
Hiring writers in-house, whether at a location or remotely working via contract, is a powerful way to take the most talented and reliable writers you’ve found and get them producing for your sites and projects.
An in-house writer should never be hired without thorough vetting of their writing and reliability, including freelancing jobs prior to going full-time.
- Gives you quality writers available at all times
- Can provide consistent training and feedback
- You benefit from training and investing in their skills
- Let’s you more reliably manage your content production
- More expensive than going with freelancers, and most content agencies
- You may need multiple writers or still need to use freelancers for various types or styles of writing depending on your team’s abilities
A good content agency is often the perfect solution to what marketers need, as the agency does the work of vetting, training, and providing quality writers for a price that might be higher than hiring freelancers, but delivering quality comparable to an in-house team you train up yourself.
- They offer a set minimum quality level because of their own vetting/editor process
- Set content rates you can budget around
- Can handle large and even extremely large orders, often in a short timeframe
- Available 24/7/365
- Rarely as good as you could do yourself or a top-notch freelancer, and generally on the more expensive side when it is
- Generally can’t build relationships with individual writers within the agency
Content writing services may seem a bit pricey compared to the armies of writers willing to write for 2 or 3 cents a word, but they offer better quality, more consistency, and can take on massive orders that help you grow your online site or business at a massive rate.
The most important steps you can take to pick the right content writing service and keep costs as reasonable as possible are:
- Make a few test orders before committing to a large one – there’s always the chance of getting one or two good orders before a red flag, you want to be sure you will consistently get good work back.
- Know what level of expertise you need. Very good, excellent, and expert all come with different price tags and if excellent is enough to dominate your niche, spending that extra money on expert level content could be a waste.
- Budget, turnaround, and quality level are often going to be in competition – know which one or two are most important to you to hire the best content agency to match your needs
- Try out 2-3 content agencies to see which ones really meet your expectations and the unique needs your websites have
If you keep these in mind you’ll find content writing services that fit in your budget and provide the quality of work you need.