How much to charge freaks most freelance writers out. Itís understandable, especially if youíre new to the trade. In order to be successful as freelance / SEO writer though, this is a skill that must be mastered or youíll most likely always find yourself always scratching out a living, instead of making a ďreal livingĒ Ė which is what working for yourself should be all about.
To this end, following are two things you should always keep in mind when setting your freelance / SEO writing rates.
I. Choose a Niche: Niche freelance writers tend to earn more than generalists because clients not only pay more for those who specialize Ė they EXPECT to pay more. This is huge.
This makes sense when you consider other professions, eg, doctors. In the Forbes article, The Best- And Worst-Paying Jobs For Doctors, which discusses physician salaries, itís explained in the following manner:
Why are specialists offered so much more than primary care physicians? One reason is they simply bring in more revenue per doctor.
Primary care may monopolize the headlines, but, by in large, specialists still monopolize physician compensation . . . Specialists . . far out produced their primary care [generalist physician] counter parts . . . by an average of over $150,000. . . . I think people will suggest that it costs more to develop a specialist to justify higher salaries . . .
This brings us to our second factor to consider when setting fees for your freelance / SEO writing services.
II. Conduct Industry Research: To a large degree, the niche you specialize in will be determined by your interests and experience. But this still doesnít negate the fact that you should conduct some industry research to determine the earning capacity of the niche youíre thinking of specializing in.
For example, there are tons of niches that pay really well in freelance writing. These are usually the ones that arenít considered glamorous, eg, technical writing, financial writing, medical writing, legal writing, etc.
You can command more for content like this because: (i) not everyone can write this type of copy effectively; and (ii) youíll have less competition vying for these types of writing jobs.
So do your research. While writing about fashion and entertainment may be the fun gigs; they likely donít pay as well as writing about the oil and gas industry (technical trade writing).
Conclusion: How Much to Charge as an SEO Writer
When I first started my SEO content writing career, the very first gig I landed pulled on my real estate writing experience (it was to write mortgage articles). In past lives, Iíve been a mortgage consultant and a realtor, so know this industry pretty well.
I earned $25 per 500-word article; this was in 2007. I worked for this company as a freelancer for a year and a half and wrote a few thousand articles for them Ė on everything from mortgages, to wedding accessories to, arctic drilling equipment (no kidding!).
I recount all this to say, just because you specialize does not necessarily mean that you wonít get to write other types of content. You will; I guarantee it. But, itís easier to get your foot in the door with a sharpened approach (ie, this is the type of content I specialize in); than a dull one.
And the kicker is, you can charge more for this entry instead of groveling on the lower end of the freelance writing rate scale begging to be let in.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black heads New Media Words, an SEO writing company she founded in 2008, and is the publisher of Inkwell Editorial, a blog devoted to helping others start successful, home-based writing careers. She's also the author of over 50 ebooks, most of which cover some aspect of freelance writing. They can be found on major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Get everything you need to start a successful, work-from-home writing business (including how to set your freelance writing rates to make a real living).
Keywords used in this article: Freelance writing rates, freelance writer rates, freelance writing fees, freelance writing pay rates