How to command a premium as a freelance writer

Written By: Supriya Jain

Content is one thing in abundance in this information overloaded world. Are so are content writers. With the emergence of portals such as freelancerelancepeopleperhour etc., there has been a tremendous increase in the number of writers. And these freelancers are willing to work for as less as 10 paisa a word!

Now let’s be practical. The average person can type around 41.4 words per minute. That is about 20,000 words in an 8 hour day if you just type without really thinking. And that supreme effort is going to earn you ~ INR 2000. There will of course be time you’ll spend on sales and operational activities, the cost of which must be deducted from this amount. So what’s your profit?

Mind you, we are talking average people, lowest pay. But this is your competition. You might be writing faster, and more importantly better than any of these people, but they are out there. And they are creating a price trough, sucking the work in. There are also bots now, machines that can write as well as any average human, creating a whole new type of competition. What’s your chance of survival?

It’s therefore important to stand out from this crowd so that you can get quality work that pays well and is rewarding also in a ‘job-satisfaction’ kind of way. Here are 5 tips that can help you:

1.       Create a differentiation: Define your value proposition. Sit down and spend some time to outline why you are better than anyone out there. Is it your research capability that is unparalleled, or your way with humor, or your attention to detail?

 2.       Customize: Then customize this pitch for every project that you are aiming for. Why are YOU the best person for this job? It may be time consuming at first, but once you’ve got the knack for it, you’ll see the difference in the price you can command.

 3.       Promote: Let it be known that you are different. Take testimonials from happy customers and include them in your pitches. Create a showcase of your work (of course no confidential information can be displayed) – it could be your own website or a social media page. Keep some time aside daily for promotion. Make it a habit; it will pay off in the long run.

4.       Stop charging per word: It may sound a bit counterintuitive to some of you, but don’t charge per word. Charge for your effort or for the entire project. Most freelancers try to stuff in unnecessary words to earn a few extra dollars. Your pitch to the client should be on your capability to think through an assignment and deliver a crisp, to the point piece of work – with no repeats, no noise and no faff. Create a rate card of how much you want to charge per hour of effort and map how much time it takes you to say write a blog post. Quote that. Charging for effort will also factor in time you spend preparing and researching for the assignment, any calls that you may need to get on and any meetings you may have.  This way, you are not limiting your fee to just the number of words.

5.       Network:  And finally, invest in relationships. People do business with those they trust. Make it your charter to approach 2 new people per week. Meet them at events, use LinkedIn, or just do cold calls. The wider and stronger your network, the more business you will get. These relationships will also enable you to get premium rates, because people already know the kind of work you can deliver.

So go out there and make a killing! Tell me if these tips worked for you @jainsupriya

About the Author:
Supriya is a wordsmith. She has published several articles and also loves to read. She is also the founder of Miitra an organization for the elderly and can be reached @jainsupriya or
© Supriya Jain. All Rights Reserved

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