The question posed in the title is pretty much the same as asking how much a football stadium costs to build. Five thousand seats or maybe sixty-five thousand? With covered stands or without? With an underground car park? A heated pitch or a traditional one? And so on… Of course it’s exactly the same with copywriting.
“Quotes are made for texts on an individual basis – please call or email.”
Getting a fast, reliable cost estimate is not that simple, even if we specify at the outset that we want a top-quality content marketing text of, let’s say, five thousand characters (with spaces). We’re talking here about texts with useful info that are written by experts and are of value to the reader, not run of the mill texts written solely for the purposes of SEO. However, this specification is still not precise enough. For example, if someone needs a good text for a parenting blog, the price is indisputably lower than an SEO text, for the sake of argument let’s say in materials science.
Copywriting agencies and freelancers are well aware of this, and avoid at all costs giving even an example range of prices on their websites. So when we type the appropriate phrases for copywriting services into Google, instead of giving actual prices, the first three pages show us websites where the ‘price’ tab contains phrases such as ‘send us a request’, ‘estimates provided on an individual basis’ or ‘specialist publications – individual quotes, please call the number provided or send an email with a detailed description of the text required’.
This can get a bit irritating, especially when we are operating in one of the more expensive industries, but there is a good reason. One text can be very different from another, and there is a range of factors which have a considerable influence on the final price. A lot also depends on how much detailed research has to go into preparing the text, and whether the author will have to find the necessary sources themselves or if they can use materials provided by the client. So the quote will vary depending on the author, or rather how much the author thinks they are worth. If they’re not new to the business and have a rich portfolio of work completed for important clients, they may quote a higher price than other copywriters. The same is true for experts in a particular field, who are sure to add on extra for their expertise.
So how much does a good specialist article cost? I decided to try and find out. I wanted to know what the price range is, but I didn’t want to send off requests for quotes – I didn’t want someone to waste time preparing an offer that would never actually come to anything.
It’ll be at least this much, but it could be a lot more.
So I had a look on the Internet. It turned out that there is a huge variety of services on offer, and the number of copywriter websites is really impressive. I looked through a few websites from the first few Google search results pages. Finally, I found websites with prices, but in every single case without exception, these were simply example prices, with the rider that every job was assessed individually anyway.
Below are the results of my analysis. I have included offers that have the best fit to a clearly defined copywriting job (all amounts are net prices, to which VAT must be added):
- ‘Professional topic-based article’ – £23 for one thousand characters
- ‘Informative article’ (hmm... I’m not really sure what this could cover) – £150 per page (in this case it was 1600 characters)
- ‘Topic-based/Blog article’ – from £50 to £60 for one thousand characters
- ‘Specialist article’ (up to 10,000 characters) – from £75 per page
- ‘Article’ – from .03 per word
- ‘Specialist text’ – £46 for one thousand characters
- ‘Specialist article written by a specialist in a given field’ – from £125 (unfortunately, the text length wasn’t given)
- ‘Journalistic article on any topic requiring research’ – from £120 per page (1800 characters with spaces)
- ‘Professional informative, sponsored or advertising article’ – £78 for 1000 characters
- ‘Article requiring research’ – from £70 net
- ‘Specialist article’ – from £96 for one thousand characters
As you can see, prices are given in a range of different units, which can be a bit confusing. In most cases, the price is given for one thousand characters with spaces, but there are also prices per page (usually 1800 characters – a so-called normal typed page – but be careful, for some copywriters, a page may be, for example, 2500 characters). Some simply give a price per article, sometimes quoting the number of characters, sometimes not.
- check out different offers
- calculate the prices per thousand characters
- find the average for all the results
- the average price for 1000 characters is around £54
To make the comparison easier, I re-calculated all the offers in order to get the price per thousand characters (if the price was per article, I assumed that it would be about 5000 characters long). This gave me the following series of net amounts (in GBP) for one thousand characters with spaces: 23, 94, 50, 47, 30, 46, 67, 78, 14, 96. The last quote is exceptionally high, but the copywriter had an impressive portfolio of serious long-term clients.
The disparity between prices is considerable. Like a thoroughbred statistician, I rejected the peripheral amounts of £14 and £96. As a result, we now know more or less the price we would need to pay for a text of one thousand characters – about £40 or so (but remember that the prices quoted are always the minimum). So the average is around £54 for one thousand characters. Assuming that our text is about 5000 characters long, the total cost will be around £270 net for a good specialist article.
So the price of a good text is…
From my research, therefore, it seems that £270 net is the average price you have to pay for a 5000 character good quality text written by an expert. We should remember though, that these are very cautious estimates, and that the final price can depend on a range of variables. So the answer to the question „How much does a good text cost?” is: around £270 net, although really it should be: however much a copywriter asks after assessing a piece of work.
Here it must also be noted that some offers indicate the possibility of receiving discounts and bonuses – usually, these are for larger or regular jobs, or for longer texts. I actually also came across one interesting option: the price included the writing of two articles, with the second one written in answer to comments posted about the first.
Of course, the main problem in the somewhat complicated summary above is that while the prices are for the most expensive articles in each offer (called specialist, expert or topic-based…), the stylistic quality and content of the articles could vary enormously.
Cheap, well-written texts? Pretty impossible.
To finish with, one important digression. When you read website descriptions encouraging you to use copywriting services, your jaw might drop. In one of the offers analyzed, the first sentence didn’t make grammatical sense, and the punctuation in the whole paragraph broke all the rules in the book… It goes without saying that this was mostly true for websites offering the cheapest services. But that’s a topic for a separate article entirely.