1. I quoted them $.10 per word ($50 for 500-word article) they did not respond. Is this overpriced in 2015, you think?
No. I don’t. I think this is spot on for a newbie; some would say you’re even underpricing your services for this kind of job. At my firm, we charge $85 for an article of this length.
What many freelancers fail to realize is that there are tiers of clients in every business. Freelance SEO writing is no different. There are clients who wouldn’t even consider paying you $25 per article, because they don’t want to; they would fear the quality of the work. THESE are not your clients/potential clients. Leave them to writers who will gladly take on the work.
Then you have those who consider $50 per blog post an “industry norm,” and don’t even blink when you quote this rate. THESE are your potential clients; they are the ones you want to target your marketing to.
To ferret out the types of clients who can afford to pay higher rates for work, target businesses with defined marketing budgets – budgets that include hiring freelance content writers. This shows that they care about their brand because they’re putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak. They would no more hire a $5 per article writer than they’d speak ill of their own business, which is what hiring “cheap writers” signifies to them.
How do you identify higher-paying clients? There are numerous ways. Here’s a post that identifies three of the easiest ways to do it.
As I’ve said many times over the years, the higher your rate, the longer it usually takes to land clients. But they are out there, especially these days because content marketing is THE way to market online right now.
All you have to do is Google it to see how big it is. And the main reason it’s so big is that Google updates its algorithm constantly, keeping companies on their toes if they want to be found in search results.
How One Journalist Doubled Her Income because of the Growth in “Content Marketing”
FYI, as a trained journalist, thought you might enjoy this post on how one journalist used content marketing to double her freelance income. She writes:
“For much of my content marketing work last year, I made between $300 and $400 an hour. … A new writer would do well to start with blog posts that pay $50 and graduate to greener pastures after getting some clips and credentials…”
By the way, everything this journalist lays out in her post — from getting paid on time, to the volume of work you can expect — is something I’ve experienced since I started writing SEO content in 2007/2008. This “new media” type of writing, and the norms around it, is just a completely different way of doing business than traditional freelancing like writing for newspapers and/or magazines.
Here’s another post on achieving success as an SEO writer. It that details how a 9-to-5’er went freelance full-time, and grew her business to the point where she needed to hire other writers.
I’ve written tons about how to price your freelance SEO writing services. Following are some links to relevant posts.
2. It seems to me that freelance writers are saying the industry is moving away from simple 500-word SEO content writing and more into longer blog posts/in-depth articles. Honestly, do you think this is true?
Yes, this is definitely true – and why rates for writing this type of content are going up. Why?
In the past, to rank well in search engines, all a firm had to do was throw up some keyword-stuffed articles to get a bunch of backlinks, and voila! – they could dominate search results. Nowadays it’s a lot harder to rank well – and to continue to rank well. What’s needed is original, high-quality content — a continuous stream of it. And the number one thing that blocks many firms from ranking well is having enough to time to produce it. Hence, the need for freelance SEO writers.
And those who know how to do this type of writing – well – are still in short supply. Trust me, as the owner/manager of a writing firm, I receive the resumes/CVs/writing pitches of freelancers constantly. There are very few I’d hire. Most of the writing is marginal (very marginal); very few of the samples really stand out. And that’s what clients need these days – well-written content that rocks!
3. Did I miss the [starting a SEO writing business] boat?
I’ve used this analogy before to explain this point, but I’ll do it again. When I was a recruiter years ago, I used to attend a lot of Chamber of Commerce meetings. You know the two professions that were almost ALWAYS represented? Real estate agents and recruiters/headhunters. But it didn’t stop me from being successful, and it’s because how much competition there was had nothing to do with what I brought to the table.
FYI, one way to differentiate yourself is to specialize, ie, write in a defined niche.
In my opinion, you should never base your desire to start a freelance writing business on the idea that there are “too many writers” already; or the feeling that “the field is too saturated.” Nothing under the sun is new – and when it truly is, it’s only new for a short while; then along comes imitators, competition and further innovators.
Has the field become more competitive? Sure!
Does that mean that you can’t make money in this niche? No! Far from it.
I’ve answered the “is this niche becoming too crowded/competitive” before. The advice is still very relevant; perhaps even more so as SEO writing has matured even more.
4. Are your current buyers still seeing success?
In all the years I’ve been selling the SEO writing ebook (since late 2008 or early 2009 – I forget which), I’ve received less than a half-dozen requests for refunds because “the advice doesn’t work.” That’s the only way I know how to judge. And from what I remember, a few of the requests for refunds came from those who didn’t even have the book for 24 hours (you always have scammers who try to get stuff for free).
And all of the testimonials on the site are real. I’ve stopped posting them because I don’t receive as many as when I first put the book out, and because I don’t update InkwellEditorial.com as often as I used to (my focus is more on my fiction writing these days).
5. How has the economy affected the SEO/web design business and their willingness to pay $35 per article, which is as low as I am willing to go?
At this rate, you might be pricing yourself out of work – because your rates are too low, as highlighted in this post. Again, it’s all about the type of clients you target.
As for the economy having an impact, I haven’t seen it. Maybe for those charging on the higher end, but if you’re having trouble getting $35 or $50 for a blog post, then the problem most likely is with something in your marketing (eg, niche, type of client you’re reaching out to, your website, your writing samples, etc.). And FYI, the wonderful thing I’ve experienced in all of my years of freelancing is that freelance writing is a business that booms in good economic times — and bad. It booms for different reasons, but it is kind of a Teflon-like career –- if you know how to market.
One thing I’d advise all aspiring freelancers to do is to really assess if this is a career they really want. If you have good writing skill (heck even average from what I see/hear!), there’s no reason you can’t be successful as a freelance writer. It all hinges on your marketing ability – and your willingness to stick with it. It’s not easy, but it is one of the easiest businesses to start compared to others.
This freelancer’s experience with her limited marketing proved this. She stated:
I did not prospect this way for long, two weeks tops. … However, I got responses, in that short time, from some of these prospects.
As this proves, there’s so much work out there it’s ridiculous, especially with the ever-growing popularity of social media, but you have to be proactive in going after it.
I hope the answers here have given you the insight you need to make an informed decision.