how to work out your word-count-worth for posts

pitch and post how to work out your word-count-worth for posts
now that pitch&post is up and running, i’ve been watching the stats page closely. without a doubt, the most help bloggers seem to need is around calculating blogger fees. our post on working out your rate for a sponsored post has been the most popular hit to site by a country mile – so i’ve been thinking carefully about how to better help your blog rate.

the sponsored post angle was pretty focussed on the assumption that the post would include visuals and some form of giveaway, i appreciate that only suits particular blogs with products involved. for bloggers that base their content around reviews or diary entries, calculating what you would charge a brand/company for coverage on your site is far better worked out through a word count rate.

by charging per word, it means that you get a price true to the amount of time and coverage your posts gives the brand – making it arguably more effective. it is worth remembering that whilst a brand may not be posting an advert into your site, text covers space too and should be considered in a similar light, particularly if you are additionally presenting them in a positive light. here is some help:

starting out

firstly, when you are approached by a brand or business for coverage you are instantly in a secure position and have the upper hand; they contacted you and therefore you are already viewed as a strong option for them. as with any freelance opportunity put to an editor/writer, your rate should be based on the amount of time it takes you + the value of your words.

what is your blog value?

this is where the little devil called traffic comes in, and your level of influence. firstly, send them over your stats for the last month and remember as a guide: 5,000 p/m = good, 10,000 p/m = excellent, 20,000 p/m = outstanding. you don’t need to use any numbers to calculate anything together, but it is useful for you to know where you stand and use it to boost your confidence when negotiating.

secondly, use your google analytics reports to find which words respond/correlate to the review in question. for example, if you are asked to post a review on a restaurantin town, and 30% of your traffic visit your pages under search terms such as ‘italian restaurants’ ‘good food’ or ‘London eating’ then it will help validate your worth. similarly, if you have any particular Twitter/blog followers in the relevant space then mention that too.

what is the usual word count rate?

in short, as with most things in blogging there isn’t a standard charge rate. for this reason you need to associate costs with things PRs and marketeers will be familiar with. it is worth knowing that most publishers and freelance writers start life on a ‘£1 a word’ motto – this is on the basis that most pieces require over 100 words, ie: 100 words for £100. this obviously rises with experience and expertise (hence the importance of the additional stuff above).

word count worth estimate in the editorial industry for exec level freelancers

Paid by the Word Count Word Count
Fee Per Word 100 250 500 1000 2000
25p £25 £62.5 £125 £250 £500
50p £50 £125 £250 £500 £1000
£1 £100 £250 £500 £1000 £2000

now this doesn’t mean you can command these rates (unless you are a freelance writer alongside your blog) but it does give you an indication on the kind of figures people in the industry are used to hearing about. writers are quite particular to be separated from the blogging world (rightly or wrongly) and remember when somebody calls you about a piece for a magazine rather than on your blog itself, they are probably a writer themselves so be careful not to offend them.

general rate rules

from speaking to a couple of blogger agencies, the £1 per word model works for blogs who reach 10,000 unique users per month. so with that theory, you can + or – the rate around your traffic. for example, if you get 5,000 p/m you should charge 50p or for 100,000 you should charge £10 per word (hey, a girl can dream).

that is the standard, however consider that budget are often tied no matter how many times you hear it. if you really want to do the review in question, it is ok so accept product but i would advise that you take some payment as well otherwise negotiating with them next time around (when you have an even larger readership) will be much more difficult.

lets say you have 5,000 unique users per month and you have been asked to do a product review on a pair of hair straighteners worth £100. the company have offered to send you the product for free in return for a post. first up, whilst the straighteners are worth £100 in the shops, the average retail mark up is 30% so in actual fact the straighteners are worth £70 (this is why brands offer product over cash). so, with your 5,000 UU you should be charging 50p per word (as per blogging agency standards) – so lets put together some proposals.

  • you can do a 50 word post for free, and accept the product
  • you can do an 100 word post for £25, and accept the product
  • you can do a 500 word post for £150, and accept the product
  • you can offer a ‘bundle rate’ for more money (say £200 and product) for 500 word coverage on your blog, twitter and instagram feeds
  • or, you can not accept the product (send it back) and only accept full payment on the above rate card

few things to remember

there are 52 weeks in a year. most professional bloggers write 3 posts a week. that’s 156 posts a year. the average income in the online media industry is £28,000, divide that by your 156 posts and you’ll need to make £180 per post just to come out as an ‘averagely paid worked’ in your field. i doubt you are getting this all from sponsored posts and writing content, additional top ups such as affiliate revenue and appearances help – but i thought that stat might give you some food for thought.

good luck with your negotiating, i’m really keen to hear how you all get on with this – please do email me with any questions or guidance if you need it.

2 responses to “how to work out your word-count-worth for posts

  1. Hello! A magazine asked me if they could publish pictures I posted on my blog. Do you have any idea of the current rates for such a request? Thanks!

    • So sorry, we’ve only just seen this. Personally I wouldn’t request a charge for this. It’s fantastic promotion for you, for free – try not to be selfish about it. You are completely in your rights to ask to be credited and to know exactly what the story is – but aside from that, I’d be nothing other than grateful.

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