You're an expert in what you do. But when it comes to communicating that expertise, is using a copywriting agency worth it?
Because getting your message across to your audience can be tricky.
Being a thought leader in your industry might not equal being great at getting those thoughts down on the page.
Hiring a freelance copywriter or using an agency can be a very affordable way to get the high-quality communications your business needs. Yet it isn't free.
Here's what you need to know about how much a freelance copywriter or copywriting agency costs and how to work out if it's worth it for you:
What does a copywriting agency do?
It's the job of a copywriter – freelance or agency-based – to make your communications with your customers as effective as possible.
The copy they write for you could include web pages, blog posts, PR articles, sales emails, product descriptions, landing pages for your paid ad campaigns, and more.
A good copy or content writer will create a brief for the project before they start (or agree to work to your brief).
They'll then create a first draft of the copy. You'll get to review that draft, offer feedback, and then have your writer amend the copy for you if needed. Good copywriting is a process.
Your copywriter will also usually work with you or your designer to make sure the copy fits where it's supposed to. Finally, they'll edit and proofread the copy to make sure it's flawless.
What about the alternatives to a copywriter for websites?
There are some alternatives to using an external copywriter:
1) Writing it yourself
When most businesses start out, they're small or even one-person operations. This often leads to copy creation being handled by someone who isn't an experienced writer.
Now, this isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, people find they've got a flair for writing they never knew they had.
Often though, the results are... a little mixed. Rogue apostrophes. Weird grammar. Oddly aggressive blog posts.
It also takes up your time, which isn't free. As a business owner, it's often your most precious resource.
This means every minute (or, let's face it, hour) you're struggling to squeeze out some content or copy each week is another hour you're not focusing on running your business.
2) Hiring an in-house copywriter
Larger businesses may consider hiring an in-house copywriter. This can be a good way to get access to quality writing.
Of course, there's the matter of the salary that now needs paying – even when you don't need any copy right now.
It also takes time (and costs money) to hire and onboard a new team member. This means it's only usually a solution for larger or marketing-focused organisations.
3) Using AI
AI writing tools like ChatGPT can be a handy way to get started. For ideation and breaking the “writer's block” of staring at a blank page, they're really not bad.
For actual copy or content writing though, especially anything that you want to convert into clicks or sales, they're not really there yet.
Plus, with “hallucinating” still very much a thing – that's when your AI language model straight-up invents a fact – it's a bit risky to use AI to research topics you don't already know about.
In short, using AI tools to help with the writing process – maybe yes. Using them to create content for you – almost certainly no.
Is a copywriting agency worth it?
When it comes to “worth”, most people are talking about how much a copywriting agency will charge for its services.
It probably won't please you to hear that this varies. A lot.
The typical daily rate for an experienced freelance copywriter is about £350. Sometimes more. Sometimes, it's several thousand pounds more.
My copywriting prices are just a little bit less than that (usually more like £150). Mainly because I don't think effective copywriting should be beyond the reach of most small business budgets.
A copywriting agency will usually charge you more than this. That's because they have additional costs like support staff. But they may also offer you services on top of perfectly crafted copy.
The best approach is always to request a quote first. Because the amount you'll pay for each individual project is likely to differ even when using the same writer or agency.
How much does a copywriting agency cost?
The actual amount a copywriting agency will cost for your specific project will depend on exactly that:
Some bits of copy are easier to write than others.
Some projects will take more time even though they're shorter (think sales emails, paid ads, or some sales-focused web copy).
For example, you might want to:
Write about a complex technical subject
Just provide a topic and have your writer research it
Get a regular blog writing service (I, and others, offer discounts for these)
Have interviews conducted as part of the research
Meet a short-notice deadline (for a website launch or print date, for example)
Differing specific requirements means that every project needs a clear brief and an individual quote.
Be very wary of copywriter services that charge by the word or for so-many thousand words. They're likely to be content mills where quality is not necessarily the aim or outcome.
That said, I do tend to charge more for longer pieces. But you should be writing your communications – even your humble blog – with a message in mind. Not just a word count.
Also, be aware that some agencies or writers will charge you for “amends” or “revisions” over and above a certain number.
I don't, but some do. Check on this going in.
Is a professional website copywriter over your budget?
If you're a small business, you might have a small budget. Even my pretty gosh darn affordable copywriting services might be out of your comfort zone.
It's certainly possible to write a blog or create decent SEO copy on your own. There's plenty of advice out there – check out the rest of my blog for some copywriting tips for starters.
The only thing I would caution against is going on some freelancer platform like Fiverr or Upwork and searching for the cheapest writer you can find. It's an easy way to faff into some bad copy.
For all but the smallest businesses, using a freelancer copywriter or copywriting agency is likely to be worth it.
So long as you get a quote, don't pay by the word, and don't pay well over (or too far under) the average for the writing you need.
Why not get a free quote on what you need now? What could it hurt?
I've been providing SEO copywriting services for businesses in Bristol and far beyond for over ten years.
Get a cost and commitment-free quote today by firing a few details to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or filling in the form below.