Why 400 words of copywriting and 400 words of copywriting can have a completely different price tag

As a copywriter, I often get asked for a copywriting quote for, say, 400 words of copywriting for a website. Full stop. No background information, no nothing. The trouble is, 400 words of copywriting for one product can be completely different from 400 words for another. (Or any other number of words, of course.)

And there are so many other different factors involved when providing an accurate copywriting quote. Here are just some of them…

  • Some products and services are more complex than others. For instance it’s pretty easy to provide 400 words of copywriting for a product that we’re all familiar with, like furniture. It’s not so easy to provide 400 words of copywriting for something technical like obscure electronic widgets.
  • Background information is important, too. Sometimes clients provide well-constructed information that tells me everything I need to know about the product or service, its benefits and the target audience. However sometimes clients provide me with nothing more than a handful of links to similar websites which means I have to do a lot of background research. Not surprisingly, the latter can add to the price.
  • Some clients want me to visit them for a face-to-face meeting whereas most clients prefer to deal direct over the Net. Meetings are time and therefore money. So again, this can make a difference to the quote.
  • Some clients provide me with no information at all which makes it impossible to provide them with a copywriting quote. Full stop.
  • Some clients have a ready-designed website (minus copy). All it needs is for me to fill in the gaps with copywriting and they’re ready to roll. Others have nothing. I always stress that the former is the best and most cost-effective way to deliver copywriting because I can see what I am working with from a design and word-count perspective.
  • Some people provide me with background information of War-and-Peace proportions which can add to the cost because of all the time required to read, digest and drill down to the key selling points.
  • Other people don’t provide me with enough information which can mean a lot of to-ing and fro-ing before I’m happy that I have what I need. This wouldn’t necessarily add to the cost as I never start work until I am 100% sure I have what I need. The problems arise when people say things like “You’re the copywriter, you should know” as if copywriters have some kind of built-in encyclopaedic knowledge of every product and service on the planet. We don’t.
  • Other clients move the goalposts after supplying the original copywriting brief – or suddenly remember a whole load of additional information which they forgot to send me. This will always add to the cost because it can mean having to start writing from scratch or at least having to extend or revise the original copywriting draft.
  • Some clients simply want a refresh of existing copywriting or want me to liven up their own efforts at writing the copy. Usually this costs less than having to write the website copy from scratch. Not always, but usually.

So this is why it’s impossible to give an accurate copywriting price without know exactly what’s involved.

It’s like asking a decorator for a quote to paint your house. How big is it? Does it need painting inside or out? Or both? Or just one room? Ceilings or just walls? Wallpapering or just paint? Any embellishments? After all, gold leaf on every surface is going to cost more than white emulsion.

And, worse, you’ve just painted the whole house white, as instructed, and they suddenly decide they’d like it purple instead.

Get my drift?


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