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how much do freelance copywriters make in the UK

I thought this would be a timely blog to write seeing as everyone and their dog are currently talking about ChatGPT, Bard and every other AI software in the public domain. Why do you need a copywriter when AI can write it for you? Why do copywriters charge so much when you can do it yourself? How do copywriters justify what they charge? It’s only words, after all. Can you make a lot of money as a freelancer?

I know that people who are considering copywriting for a living and those of you that hire copywriters will be interested in this, so I’ll try to answer them from both points of view.

Saddle up, we’re going on an adventure to find out the answers to these questions and more.

What are the average earnings of UK freelance copywriters?

According to the Professional Copywriters’ Network (PCN), an industry association for copywriters in the UK, freelance copywriters earn an average daily rate of £387 (as of September 2021). This doesn’t mean that every freelance copywriter you come into contact with will immediately charge this, but it’s a good ballpark figure to have in your head as you either try to work out your own rates or enter into discussions with a copywriter about their fees.

How much do freelancers make per hour?

Freelancers rarely charge by the word or the hour. Why? It’s just not a cost-effective way to price up a project. All the freelancer writers that I know charge on either an ad hoc or project base or have a retainer agreement with their clients. It’s something to bear in mind, whether you’re the client or the writer.

Understanding freelance copywriting rates

The earnings of freelance copywriters in the UK can vary significantly. Now, that’s not a cop-out answer, it’s genuinely open-ended. There are loads of different things that get factored in that will influence how much a freelance copywriter charges for their time. Let’s break them down a bit more.

5 things that will influence copywriting rates

Experience and Expertise: Copywriters with more experience and specialised knowledge often command higher rates, and established professionals with a proven track record can charge premium fees.

Industry and niche: Rates can vary drastically based on the industry or niche that the copywriter specialises in. Fields such as finance, technology, and healthcare often yield higher-paying opportunities for freelancers because of their specialised nature. If you’re in the market for a really good writer in these sectors, be prepared to have to pay more than the average going rate for them.

Project complexity and scope: Rates may increase for projects requiring extensive research, long-form content, or technical expertise. This may come as a surprise, but a big part of being a good freelance writer is the ability to perform really well-informed research – the writing is actually secondary in many circumstances.

Client and Budget: Copywriters often adjust their rates based on the client’s budget. High-profile clients or large corporations tend to have bigger budgets, allowing for higher rates, whereas sole traders and SMEs traditionally have less budget to play with but they give you a much freer rein when it comes to interpreting the brief.

Time Constraints: Copywriters may charge higher rates if the project requires a quick turnaround or if there are tight deadlines. Rush jobs often demand additional effort and prioritisation, more than justifying higher rates to compensate for the increased workload and time pressure.

How much do freelance copywriters charge for different types of projects?

Website Copy: Writing website content can range from £100 to £500 per page, depending on the complexity and length.

Blog Posts and Articles: Rates for blog posts and articles typically range between £100 and £500 per piece, based on word count, research requirements, and the writer’s experience.

Social Media Content: Writing social media content, such as tweets or Facebook posts, can range from £25 to £100 per post, depending on the platform and the copywriter’s expertise.

Advertisements and Marketing Campaigns: Rates for creating advertisements and marketing campaigns can vary widely, from £500 to several thousand pounds, depending on the project’s scale, complexity, and the copywriter’s experience.

Email Campaigns: Freelance copywriters charge anywhere from £300 to £500 per email campaign, taking into account factors such as the number of emails in the campaign, the level of personalisation required, and the overall complexity of the content.

Why do you need a copywriter when AI can write it for you?

Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that AI doesn’t have its uses, it does, but if you’re expecting AI to write all your content while you draw up plans for your very own Scrooge McDuck money bin then you’re sorely mistaken. AI is great for initial ideas but you need someone with skill to then convert it into something that people actually want to read.

Why do copywriters charge so much when you can do it yourself?

Yes, you might be able to write your content and copy yourself, but freelance writers exist for a reason – they are experts at their craft. If you had a toothache, would you want a dentist to take care of it or would you have a go at it yourself? If your car broke down, would you take it to a mechanic or would you just turn the radio up and hope it fixes itself?

See what I’m saying?

How do copywriters justify what they charge? It’s only words, after all.

A really good copywriter can make your words inspire brand loyalty in your customers, increase your turnover, and turn your website into a gold mine. They are NOT an expense – they are an investment in your business. Alternatively, you could watch a 15-minute video on YouTube on how to become a writer and have a go yourself. And hey, you’ll be a few hundred quid better off too!

Can you make a lot of money as a freelancer?

Potentially, yes. Is it easy work? No. Being a freelance writer isn’t some idyllic existence where you write for a few hours in the morning and then take the afternoon off to sneer at people working 9-5. No, you have to source your own work, engage on social media, market and promote yourself, attend networking events, keep up to date with the latest technology trends (like AI), do your own finances, pay your own taxes, pay your own pension, sort out liability insurance… I could go on.

It’s not for the faint of heart but the rewards – in terms of finances, flexibility of schedule, and job satisfaction – are definitely there to be had.

On the other side of the coin, working with a freelance writer comes with its own set of benefits. You’ll consistently get a high standard of work, less stress, they free up time for you to do other things in your business, they’ll often enhance your original ideas, plus, they’re a delight to work with. Oh, and they’ll be the ones that’ll earn you the money to design that Scrooge McDuck money vault.

Need to hire a freelance copywriter?

If you need a freelance writer to craft anything from blogs to ghostwriting LinkedIn posts, newsletters, SEO copywriting, interviews & articles, press releases & case studies and video scripts then get in touch with me using the button below and let’s have a chinwag.

Sources for this blog:

Professional Copywriters’ Network (PCN) – https://www.procopywriters.co.uk/help-advice/freelancing/suggested-rates-for-hiring-copywriters/

Freelancer Rates Explorer – https://www.freelancersintheuk.co.uk/freelancer-rates-explorer/

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain – https://writersguild.org.uk/

Freelance UK – https://www.freelanceuk.com/journalists/copywriter_rates_allowances.shtml

Society of Authors – https://www2.societyofauthors.org/

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