Stop paying them “for” a word count. Start paying them for results.
If you’re paying your writers for “1000 words”, they’re focusing on hitting a 1000 word count first, quality second, and certainly not winning any measurable results. Back when I was a super-novice freelance blogger charging .10/word I wasn’t even aware of how TO measure the result my clients were looking for – because that’s not what I was getting paid to care about.
As far as I knew, my “result” was word counts and keywords – because that’s all my clients expressed caring about when it came to paying me. And I see this happening in a LOT of other writers who haven’t learned how to play the game differently yet. So if you’re receiving crap content, your writers are functioning based on the tone the industry taught you to set for them. But you’re in power to change that, right now.
Let’s look at some proof of how this works. Take a look at that screenshot. This post got 1.2k comments within a few hours in a Facebook group that’s a fraction of the size of this one (about 8k members).
Each comment represents a hot lead that’s EXCITED to be pitched a $297 core offer with more backend offers to boot. The average cart value is going to be bananas and my client will easily hit multiple 5-figures for this product launch. No doubt.
Now, let’s say she paid me 18 cents/word. I would’ve made $32 on this Facebook post, for the client to make tens of thousands in 14 days. More on the backend if she holds retention. All based on the initial 180 words I wrote to put this all in motion.
Sounds great for her right? That’s the game. Cut costs. Make profit. Thing is, if I’d charged by the word and saw that it was a measly $32 coming my way regardless of the result – I wouldn’t have been so invested in her winning, would I? Because I would’ve been getting paid a BS number to hit an arbitrary number of “engaging” words…NOT to be an intelligent writer capable of achieving a measurable result using the 8 years of buyer’s psychology + copywriting experience I’ve built up to do it.
I wouldn’t have been inclined to be careful about learning exactly what the audience wants, so I could word this post precisely how it would trigger them to opt-in & purchase later. I wouldn’t have been inclined to put in the work for a win. I would’ve just wanted to hit my word count on the topic and move on to the next thing.
The post wouldn’t have blown up.
She wouldn’t have won this big. Nor would I.
Everyone would’ve lost.
So, you see, there is a cost to cutting costs, ladies & gents.
And there’s an even bigger cost to incidentally setting the wrong expectations with your writers.
But because this client hired a writer for web design blog post based on executing a RESULT (and is willing to pay accordingly) THAT is my focus for her.
And anyone who knows me knows I absolutely REFUSE to lose, because I’m being paid to win – not to write.
Writing is just the mechanism I use to win. Feel me?
And every other experienced copywriter I know functions Exactly. The. Same. Way.
Now, before you lose your shit, obviously word count matters in SEO.
But every writer I know who wins, knows that the time & place to focus on word count is in project scope: NOT in the terms of payment.
Fine line in communicating the terms, but it makes a HUGE difference in how you set expectations with your writers.
Don’t overcomplicate it:
Step 1: Keep an eye out for writers who speak the language of “results”, just like you do.
Step 2: Stop saying “I want to pay you to write X words”. Literally cut that out of your vocabulary. I’m serious.
Step 3: And stop expecting them to charge based on the number of words. Some will, but more experienced copywriters are moving away from charging for time/word count to explicitly charging for ROI. And that’s ok. By the time they do that they’ve gauged so that you get paid WAY more than them regardless of what they’re charging. As is part of our expertise.
Step 4: Instead of saying “I want to pay you for X words”, say “We want this post to [result]. It’ll have to be about xyz words long because SEO, but the PRIMARY focus is [result].” Whether that result is to rank, convert, both, whatever. YOU set the expectation that you’re looking for the content to perform, not take space to appease Google.
And yes, when you find the right writer, that invoice will be more than what you’re used to paying, but didn’t you just see…
The cost of losing is FAR greater than the investment in a great copywriter.
P.S. I hire writers too. When they come to me with this mentality of getting paid for time instead of the result I often find myself doubling their asking price and resetting their expectations.
“We get paid to win. Not to write.”
Haven’t had a bad hire yet. It turns them on. Makes them hungry to play the game to win. And MY job editing & managing them becomes way easier.
So I’m saying this from both sides of the table, not just the writer’s side, FYI.
Digital Primate is a web design agency based in Mont Kiara, Malaysia and legally registered with Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). With more than 5 years experiences, Digital Primate is your preffered destination for web designing, web development and mobile app development.