“Tips about how writers can articulate their worth would be very interesting,” she wrote. “Not what does the writer NEED, but what is professional writing WORTH to the client — especially relative to other professional services they retain.”
Great question…so today I’ll share a bit of the speech I give prospective clients who ask me about rates. One of the things I’ll frequently say early on goes something like this:
“If you’re having a bidding contest to find the lowest price, I’d like to tell you right now I’m going to lose. I will not be your lowest bidder, and I don’t generally work with companies that are only concerned with how little they can pay for writing.
“I work with business owners seeking exceptionally talented writers who can help establish them as the pre-eminent thought leaders in their sector. They need to communicate in a sophisticated, compelling way with their target audience.
“That’s what I will deliver for you — authoritative content that communicates that you are the most knowledgeable source for information in your industry. This will attract quality clients, build Web traffic, and will pave the way for you to charge more for what you do.”
Of course, when presented with it that way, most of my prospects rush to say, “Oh, that’s me! I understand that I need to be the authority. That’s just what we need to do.” And discussions of how little they can get me to work for tend to evaporate.
They get it immediately — I’ve helped them put their finger on what it is they’re really in the market for. They need content so compelling and strong that it will enhance their brand and company reputation, and bring them more business. Not every writer can give them that — but I can.
Once you’ve framed it that way, if they balk at a rate, I tend to point out that paying, say, $1,500 for a custom-written article they can get republished in newspapers, use on their site, hand out as fliers, email to their prospect list, expand into a white paper, and otherwise use FOREVER to promote their business and drive Web traffic at no additional charge is the marketing bargain of the century.
Compare it to the cost of placing a single decent-sized print ad! To doing one radio spot, or putting up one billboard! The reality is that having strongly written information about your company is a real deal, even at prime rates.
I find most writers don’t think about their services through the client’s eyes. Writing is usually part of companies’ marketing budget — and in that context, it’s very affordable compared with many other forms of marketing spend.
So ask for a great rate, and explain why you’ll be worth it. You’ll be surprised how often you find yourself with a wonderful new client who’s happy to have you, and willing to pay you what you deserve.
For more about negotiating rates, see my post for the week on WM Freelance Writing Community – How I Got Paid $300 A Blog.