It’s always important to gauge the value of your work properly. This way you’ll be making sure that your employer never undervalues your work, paying you properly for the work you’ve done. When it comes to content writing, it may be difficult to tell exactly how much a writer should be paid for the articles they’ve written. The most important thing about written articles is their quality, and it’s not like there’s an exact table of contents defining quality and the price that quality directly proposes. So, writers often charge a PPW, but the question remains: what exactly is PPW in content writing?
PPW (Price Per Word) is a way content writers and content writing companies charge for their articles. This is the most popular method of charging for content. Freelance writers charge by this method, and many companies gain a better understanding of normal rates by using this particular method.
However, there are many intricacies about PPW when it comes to content writing. It’s not easy to define how much a writer should charge per article, especially since not all articles are written equally and don’t require the same amount of effort. In this article we’ll be focusing on this method of pricing, as well as answering all the questions you might have about things like what’s a good rate, and how do rates differ between article types?
What Is PPW In Content Writing?
PPW, or Price Per Word, is a method of pricing content writers use to charge for their work. This is a price charging concept used by content writers who mostly work as freelancers across the globe. As a content writer in freelancing, you’ve probably faced the issue of deciding how much you should charge for your writing. The good news is, PPW is a very effective and fair method of pricing. The bad news, however, is that it’s different for different kinds of articles.
Nowadays, with the real boom of content writing happening right before our eyes, the rates seem to be going down as quickly as the competition seems to be increasing.
There are two principles you should keep in mind when discussing PPW:
- The rates are higher for website content or SEO optimized content.
- Writers charge high if the niche is difficult to write about such as technology, artificial intelligence, etc.
Both of these conditions automatically increase your PPW and you should ask for more. Professional content writing requires a high level of effort, meaning that a good writer will spend a fair amount of time on in-depth research about their topic. The writer will then write the article, ensuring that the content is engaging, original, and attention-drawing – that kind of quality never comes cheaply.
It’s obvious that writers with a better reputation and ones who have already created a name for themselves are always going to request better rates, even if they’re writing a relatively unimportant article.
A major difference comes to mind when comparing PPW, PPH (Price Per Hour), and PPP (Price Per Project)!
Let’s say you’re writing a 1000-word article for a price of $0.25 per word. That means (that you’re a good writer since that’s a rather expensive rate of writing) that you’ll be paid $250 for writing that article. It doesn’t matter how long it might take you to write it, be it an hour or five hours (obviously if it’s about a topic that you’re already experienced in, or have already written about it, it won’t take as long). Now, this is where it gets tricky. If your client gives you a little leeway when writing and lets you write an 1100-article, they’ll be paying you $275 instead of $250.
Now, if you’ve managed to write this article in an hour, and your client read it and approved it, then you just made $250 (or $275) in an hour, which is great. However, if it took you five hours, then you made $50 per hour and you’ll be wondering whether you could have written an article that’s better suited for you, spending your time better. It’s now natural to wonder if charging per hour is better than charging per word since there are projects which will take a lot of time for the same amount of words (1000), and keeping your PPW rate of $0.25 will, in this scenario, prove to be a bad financial decision.
Let’s ponder the idea of charging $50 per hour. If you’re a great writer who just so happens to know a lot about the topic you’ve been assigned, then it won’t take too long for you to finish the article about it, but you’ll only be getting paid $50 (if it took you less than an hour). This hardly seems fair, since you’ve still done the same amount of work you would be doing if you were completely inept with the same topic, the only difference is that the knowledge needed was already there and you spent less time on research. If you get your work done quickly you’re basically getting punished for productivity.
Then PPP comes into play, Price Per Project. Let’s say you charge $250 for a 1000-word article (which is, once again, a very high rate if we’re talking content writing – but for the purposes of this demonstration it’s best to use larger numbers). This means that once you deliver your article, even if you’ve felt creative and wrote more than 1000 words, your client will still be paying you just $250. Now, if it took you longer than five hours to write this, then you just lost money – if you charged 50$ per hour (an equally insane rate for that method of charging), then you’d be earning more than $50 for that project.
This means that PPW and PPP are methods of charging that are difficult to manipulate, but PPH may be more effective. The best way would be to determine whether the topic you’ve been assigned is something you’ll write about easily, and if so – then PPW is the best method of charging. If the method is something you’ll need to spend a lot of time researching, then PPH is the method you should charge by.
When deciding how to price, you should focus on the monetary goal per-hour. Estimate how long it will take you to finish the project: this includes the research, writing, communication with your client and any corrections you may have to make. After doing this you’ll have a clear picture on whether you should charge per word, hour or project.
There are, however, important advantages PPW pricing has over PPP and PPH.
- A company can fix a price depending on the skill and quality of the writer and also based on the volume of requirements. This allows to keep an upper cap on the expenses and flexibility to scale up or down based on the business needs.
- There is transparency in the process with no overcharging.
- PPW makes content writing services affordable to small businesses.
- Companies can cross-check the reviews and professionalism of the writer before fixing the PPW. Since the payment is for a single content piece, it allows the companies to change the writer if the quality is not as promised.
Niches writers write about having a great deal of effect on the rate they’re going to charge. There are more difficult niches that require a certain level of expertise to write about, for example science, medicine, sports, and industry. Other niches, for example dating and relationships, lifestyle, design, fashion, etc., are easier to write about and don’t require any level of expertise (although it certainly helps)
Your qualifications as a writer will help you raise your rates greatly. If you’re a journalist, writing, English (if that’s the language you’re writing in), or a literature major – you automatically have enough credibility to raise your rates. And if you so happened to work in the field of content writing, journalism, copywriting, or PR – your pre-earned experience can be another basis for a higher rate.
How Do Rates Differ In Different Types of Articles?
It’s obvious that not all articles are the same. There are vast differences between descriptive articles, scientific articles, reviews, storytelling articles, discussion articles, etc. Every writing of its kind is specific and writers will clearly charge differently for different articles.
Scientific articles are often regarded as the most difficult kind of writing article. They require tons of research and even more writing. It’s obvious that writers will charge more for this, rather than for discussion articles.
Discussion articles focus mostly on topics with contradicting opinions, which would mean that discussion articles require less research than scientific articles, and focus more on raising valid points and retorts.
Reviews, on the other hand, are easier to complete than scientific articles, but they’re more complicated than discussion articles. In order to complete a good review, the writer has to conduct appropriate research (which often includes trying out the product on their own). This sort of article is mostly used by companies promoting their own product.
Storytelling articles are basically journalist articles describing a certain event, its causes and consequences, and its possible future. This sort of article requires highly developed storytelling skills, meaning that all the focus is put on writing the piece. It’s normal for writers to consider this the second most expensive kind of article, after the scientific article.
This means that writers won’t write any kind of article for the same amount of money. A writer charging $0.10 per word in a review will likely double their rate when they’re writing a scientific article. This also has a lot to do with the way the writer does their job.
Especially when writing storytelling and scientific articles, a lot of writers will ask for help and advice from professionals in the field they’re researching. Conducting interviews and research is a meticulous job, one that takes a lot of time for the writer to complete – therefore it’s completely natural for writers to charge more for this sort of job.
How Much Should You Charge?
Firstly, let’s take a look at average writing rates for freelance writers in 2017.
Entry-level writers would charge $0.03 to $0.06 per word. Intermediate writers moved the price up to $0.07 to 12 cents per word, while experienced writers charged $0.13 to $0.20. Experts in demand would charge anything from $0.21 to $0.30 per word.
Let’s put this in a table chart for an easier overview:
|Level Of Writing||Rate Per Word||Price Per 1000 Words (an Hour of Writing)|
|Entry Level||$0.03 – $0.06||$60|
|Intermediate Level||$0.07 – $0.12||$120|
|Experienced Level||$0.13 – $0.20||$200|
|Expert Level||$0.21 – $0.30||$300|
If you take a look at the chart, you’ll notice that there’s a substantial difference between the intermediate and experienced level of writing. Most content writers befall into these two categories, aside from absolute beginners who are still at the entry-level.
If you’re just starting out, then you should never charge below $0.03 per word, and if you’re making $0.06 per word – you should feel lucky. It’s important to notice the opportunity for advancement and take advantage of it, asking for more.
To set a reasonable rate, firstly you need to set a monthly goal of how much you’d like to make. This can be changed every month, as different times require different needs and you won’t have the same amount of time for work every month. After you’ve established a monetary monthly goal, you need to establish your weekly work rate (how many hours can you dedicate to your work on a weekly basis).
Now, divide the income goal by the hours (monthly), and now – use the table above for deciding on your PPW. It’s important to know how much you can write in an hour, not all writers write at the same speed, and not all topics exert the same amount of effort – meaning that no matter how quick or slow you may be, some topics will take less, while others will take more time. There’s essentially no accurate number on how much it’s going to take you to write 1000 words, but you can always have a close estimate.
Your rate is always subject to change, especially if the topic you’re about is difficult to write about and needs a lot of research, or if the type of article is especially convoluted (check types of articles in the section above this one).
Once you’ve established your rates, you need to find clients to start making money. In the business of content writing, building a client base comes mostly with relationship building. Meaning that in the long term, if you’re doing your job right, you’ll develop a loyal clientele. When you’re just starting out, on the other hand, it may be sufficiently hard to get off the ground with this.
That means that it’s time for you to start searching for job boards and forums. You’re in luck regarding this, because a lot of businesses that need content writing services offer their own rates, even to beginners, and these rates can be as high as $0.10 per word. These opportunities may be rare, sure, but you should be on the lookout for them, as they do tend to happen.
To land jobs as a beginner, you should always have a few written articles in standby. These articles should cover various topics and be of different types, for example; a scientific article about the advances of smartphone technology in 2020, a storytelling article about the global coronavirus pandemic, a discussion article about protesting in the USA, etc.
When a job is posted on these sites, send your resume and a sample of your writing as an application for the job.
A final piece of advice: don’t get too enchanted by the idea of making $0.15 per word. It’s completely possible, yes. But keep in mind that the journey to that high a number is long. I completely encourage you to take it, of course, but don’t get too hasty and then disappointed when an employer refuses to pay you that kind of money after you’ve been writing for two months. Most writers that charge higher rates have spent years writing in order to deserve the credit to raise their rates that much.
The good news is that anything from $0.05 to $0.10 per word is a good rate, one which can ensure a comfortable lifestyle – and possibly even more if you’re quicker than your competition.