7 Ways to Boost Your Copywriting Income
I doubt a week goes by without someone asking me, "How do I make more money as a B2B writer or a copywriter?"
There are many answers to that question. You could make more money by working longer hours or getting more clients.
But I want to focus on how to increase what you're making for an hour's work. How can you boost how much money you’re making per hour when you’re writing copy and working on client projects?
Now, I don’t advocate at all that you charge clients an hourly rate. In fact, if you want to restrict how much money you make per hour, that's the way to do it. So don’t consider charging by the hour unless you’re a world-class copywriter or famous expert and then can get away with charging $300 or $400 an hour. Instead, I recommend you charge by the project.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say a client gives you an email campaign project. You agreed to a fee of $2,500 for the project.
When you’re working on that email project for that total set fee, you want to make sure you're making a good amount of money per hour. That's what I'm talking about when I talk about an hourly rate … It’s a number you keep secret behind-the-scenes.
Now, if you can boost that hourly rate, you’ll make more without working more hours. So, here are 7 ways I’ve discovered to boost your hourly rate.
#1. Focus on Better-Paying Projects
This is a pretty simple one. It doesn't always make sense to me, but some types of projects tend to pay better than other types of projects.
For example, writing a company's blog can pay okay. But it rarely pays as well as writing a company's email campaign. The email campaign may have just as many words, and take you just as long to write, but clients are much more willing to pay top dollar for a well-written email campaign than they are for a blog post.
It’s unfortunate, but that's just the way it is. Some projects just tend to pay more than others. Some clients tend to value certain projects more.
White papers pay well. Email campaigns, which I just mentioned, pay well. And writing marketing copy that requires specialized knowledge or for something that's very complex tends to pay well.
So, focusing on better paying projects is definitely a way to boost your hourly rate because when you work on those projects, you'll earn more money per hour when you work on them, even though you're charging the client a project price.
#2. Get Better-Paying Clients
Just like there are some projects that tend to pay more than other projects, some clients pay more. There are some clients that have no trouble at all paying $5,000 or $6,000 for you to strategize and write their websites while another client would balk at that price and only pay $200 or $300. There really is that extreme difference on the market.
Now, there's no fast and sure way to identify a good-paying client, but there are some common characteristics.
Higher-paying clients really appreciate well-written copy and have an appreciation for the value of copywriting. They tend to run businesses that make money. So they have the money and the budget to pay you more.
As you grow your business, you'll develop an instinct for which clients will tend to pay well and you'll enjoy working with and which clients will always undervalue your work and not be willing to pay well.
#3. Complete Projects Faster
Your project completion time is something you have a lot of control over. If it normally takes you 10 hours to write a follow-up email campaign composed of 3 to 5 emails and your fee is $1,000, you're making $100 an hour.
But if you can learn how to write that campaign in 5 hours, then you've doubled your hourly rate, haven't you? Now, you’re earning $200 an hour when you're working on email campaigns because you're working faster and more efficiently.
So, when you charge by the project, the faster you're able to work and the more productive you become, the more money you make for every hour.
#4. Get More Repeat Business
This strategy can work along with my previous strategy. If you complete one project for one client and then you get another client and complete one project for them, and then you get another client and complete one project for them, you’re doing a lot of work to learn each client's business.
Each time, you have to learn their products, how they work, and their target audience. The time to ramp up before you start writing can be substantial. It’s not a very profitable way to work.
But if you get more repeat business, you become so knowledgeable about your client’s products, services, and their target audience that you're able to complete projects much more quickly. Writing becomes almost second nature.
I have clients I’ve worked with for many, many years. I can complete their projects quickly simply because I know them so well.
That efficiency comes from getting repeat business.
Do your best on every project you work on for a client. Do your best work writing the copy. Do your best when you're in conversations with the client. Do your best when it comes to deadlines and giving the client a really good experience in working with you.
Do your best in every aspect of that client relationship and the chances that you'll get repeat business from clients will go up substantially.
#5. Become a Project Specialist
Instead of writing a wide variety of projects, there are some B2B copywriters who specialize in a single type of project. For example, Gordon Graham only writes white papers and Casey Hibbard has specialized in writing case studies.
If you specialize in one or two project types, and you really become good at those projects, two things will happen. First, you'll be able to complete those projects faster, which means you make more money. And second, you position yourself as a specialist in those projects. Clients are willing to pay you more as a specialist.
You can still take a variety of projects, but if you are a specialist in one or two, you’ll earn more than a copywriter who doesn’t specialize.
#6. Become a Better Negotiator
If you can be more effective when you have the pricing conversation with clients, you can negotiate higher fees.
Let's say you negotiate and you're able to get 10 percent higher rates from clients. Well, you've made 10 percent more money right there.
Learn to negotiate skillfully so when you’re talking price with clients you’re able to convince them to pay a higher fee.
#7. Become Well-Known in a Niche
You don’t have to become well-known in a niche market to succeed as a B2B copywriter, but it certainly helps.
I know one copywriter, for example, who is very well-known in a specific B2B market. And I remember when I was talking to her I asked, "What do you like most about specializing in this market?"
And she said, "What I like most is that I'm Number 1 in the market. I'm the most well-known copywriter in that little niche market. So people expect that I'm going to be expensive. People expect I'm going to charge the top fees. So when I get inquiries for my copywriting services, those prospects are already primed to pay me top dollar. I get the best clients and the best rates."
Which Strategy Will You Use?
Now, you don’t have to implement all of these strategies. But even one will boost the amount of money you make each hour when you're working on client projects.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go from making $75 an hour to $150 an hour or perhaps even more? Isn't that worth the effort? So try some of those tips. And let me know in the comments how they work for you.
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