Normally I find the Money Saving Expert enewsletter to be a useful read, both from a personal and business perspective. Something in today’s edition however made my blood run cold.
Tucked into a section headed “30 ways to earn cash online”, I found:
Write copy. Web content brokers pay £2-£30 per piece, eg, Groupon ads and travel descriptions. Forumite Sinkorswim says: “Been doing it 9mths & made £1,000. It’s a godsend.“
Now the more cynical reader may think that I am simply being protectionist, that I can see my potential market being eaten away by people looking to make a bit of extra pocket money. Obviously the more copywriters there are in the market, the fewer jobs I can land.
But if commissioning a freelance copywriter, you should be equally concerned.
Tight copywriting deadline uncovers a crime
Last week I completed a rush job for a client who had hired a cheap copywriter to put together a number of inbound marketing articles. The problem was that every single article was awful. Writing from a personal perspective, the author openly admitted in the articles that they knew nothing first hand about the topics in hand.
There was no sense of authority. The articles failed in their purpose to inform or convince.
One of them even included the phrase “cutesie patootsie”, which is a crime against any language.
The writer who penned these articles had been cheap. Worse still, it showed. Poor grammar, dodgy spelling, an openly-stated unfamiliarity with the topic in hand and that phrase meant the copy was unusable.
Posting this junk on a corporate site could have permanently damaged my client’s reputation.
Cheap copywriting costs more
This then left my client in a dilemma. They had saved some of their inbound marketing budget with cheap copywriting.
But when the articles were delivered and it became apparent they would need to be completely rewritten, there wasn’t enough money left over to pay a “proper” copywriter. Not without breaking their budget anyway. Which they eventually did.
Are all cheap copywriters rubbish? Not at all. At the time of writing, my rates are at the lower end of the payment scale proposed by the Professional Copywriters Network. But it is essential that you carefully check previous projects undertaken by a copywriter and that they can demonstrate a working knowledge of your subject area.
Whenever you need to source a freelance copywriter do not be seduced by a low headline rate. As your grandmother used to say, buy cheap, buy twice.
If your business (or customers) need top quality web content at a price that won’t break the bank, drop me a line. And I hereby swear never to use the phrase “cutesie patootsie”.