Part of why we built ContentFly is due to frustrations we had about requesting work on Upwork.

You've created a job for a blog post for your website, and you're sitting there thinking: what the hell should I pay for this?

It doesn't help that writer fees are every single number under the sun.

Freelance writer rates can vary from $0.02 per word for a non-native speaker novice to $1 per word for a world-class writer.

That’s a huge range because the price depends on a number of factors like experience, skill, complexity of the writing task and whether they operate solo or offer their services on a freelance content writer platform.

Many writers also charge by the hour - especially when the project involves a lot other work like research and interviews.

Finally, the pricing is also affected by overhead and admin costs - unless a writer is selling their services on a freelance writer platform, they also have to factor in the time it takes to find work, send pitches, negotiate contracts, send invoices and talk with their customers.


So, what are the rates?

On the open market, these are the reported rates we've seen from our writers. We're going to split it up between different quality tiers. All of these rates assume native speakers - non-native speakers charge far lower rates.

Tier 1 - The absolute best of the best of freelance writers. Frequently featured on websites like Forbes, Inc, WSJ, etc. Very picky with their engagements. Typical rate: $1.50/word

Tier 2 - Extremely solid writers who make a great living through their craft. Usually strike the fine balance I mentioned of quality and throughput. Typical rate: $0.5/word

Tier 3 - The very solid. These are the 75th percentile and above of freelance writers, and are usually the ones hired by companies to write full-time. Typical rate: $0.2-0.3/word

Tier 4 - This is a tier where there's a huge discrepancy in quality. On one hand, you have seasoned writers who simply aren't of the calibre to command a higher rate. On the other hand you have very high-quality writers who are new to the game and looking to get experience. Typical rate: $0.1-0.2

Tier 5 - This tier has a lot of non-native speakers, but it also has a lot of people in the Tier-4 quality range who find that a lower price point allows them to make more money because they can write very efficiently. Typical rate: ~$0.07


For hourly rates, you could be looking at $30 per hour for inexperienced writers, and up to a $100 per hour for the top tier ones. 

If you want to see more examples of how much different companies have paid for outsourced writing services, then Contently has a handy rates database that also includes insightful comments from writers. But again be warned that these fees are all over the place!

Why we pay (and recommend) per-word pricing

Writers are, justifiably, very defensive when it comes to their rates. Part of it is subjective - it depends on how quickly the writer can complete the task, and per-hour rates can be very tricky to optimize.

We have writers who are very experienced and like to move quickly - so the per hour rates suit them better.

You’d think quality suffers but when you look at the numbers it doesn’t (these writers keep consistent 4.8/5 ratings on our platform).

Two major reasons why per-hour works for ContentFly is automation and flexibility:

  • The writers don’t spend time on admin - there are no contracts or negotiations and payments are handled by the platform
  • The writers get to pick the jobs they like or have expertise in, giving them command over their own productivity

Our writers are paid $0.05 per word - while it seems low at first glance, it allows them to make quite a lot of money as they don’t have to spend time on pitching, negotiations, invoicing and everything else that usually comes with working for yourself.

Basically we've cracked an economic model that's fair for everyone - clients get good writing at a fair and writers get a fair rate that they can move up or down depending on their needs


Conclusion

How and where you find your freelance copywriter matters more than just their price per word. With tools like ContentFly, the machines take the dirty work out of the equation, resulting in affordable rates for the buyers, while keeping the writers happy.

Unfortunately, open marketplaces like Upwork continue to recommend subjective per hour pricing which causes a lot of stress as buyers are vying for fewer and cheaper hours. A 2019 study by Make A Living Writing found that a third of the 1,400 freelance writers surveyed were earning hourly rates of less than $20, underscoring the problem of auctioning off creative people's time.

When a blind marketplace is allowed to work, good things happen to everyone involved. The age of these broken auction systems is over.


Update: also check out this comprehensive overview article about How Much Do Content Writers Charge?