Grow Your Writing Business in 2007

Elizabeth ShortThe Copywriter’s Paycheck
By Elizabeth Short

Now that you’ve surveyed your copywriting horizons, what will you charge?

Getting Started Tip: Take a deep breath—and set your rates
Before you can start earning money as a copywriter, you need to set your rates. How much will you charge—$25 to $30 per hour? If that sounds good, take into account:

1. un-billable hours (the time you spend marketing, keeping the books, etc.)
2. costs of business (utilities, advertising, etc.)
3. self-employment tax

Okay, maybe $40 per hour is more reasonable. But what about the value-added nature of your services, the fact that clients forego a permanent employee by hiring you on-demand to provide a valuable service? Truth is, professional copywriters charge between $50 and $75 per hour (see http://writersmarket.com/assets/pdf/How_Much_Should_I_Charge.pdf) to cover their costs and pay themselves a deservedly nice wage. If you’re a slower writer (as I am), shave a few hours from your bill and smile.

Copywriting Tip: Be concise
A novel might use 150,000 words to relay its message. A newspaper article might use 1500. Copywriting uses the fewest words possible and leads directly to the marketing message. Why? Let’s face it, people have better things to do than read promotional content—especially if its meaning is buried in long-winded passages. Lure readers in with short sentences composed of simple words, omitting everything that is not strictly necessary. Perhaps the best way to learn concision is in an editing class at your local university or community college where you’ll study the secrets of ruthlessly wielding the red pen.

Elizabeth Short is a freelance copywriter and graphic designer with a passion for helping small businesses clarify and broadcast unique marketing messages. With a focus on websites and print materials, she brings together content + design in one easy, affordable package (www.write-design.biz). Check out her e-book, 7 Steps to Effective Web Content (www.write-design.biz/e-books.htm) to learn the secrets of writing copy for the web.

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