Sunday, March 23, 2008

Five Clients Who Will Buy Your Articles for a Decent Price

Sometimes I hear from people who are selling articles for $5 or less, wanting to know how on earth to sell their articles for a better price. The type of articles we're talking about here are usually simple online how-tos or overviews of a topic. They can take as little as a half hour or as much as two hours to write. Because they're easy and quick to do, they can be lucrative--but not if you're selling them for $5 apiece. There is a large section of the online marketplace that thinks $5 or so is a reasonable price for this kind of work, but there are also other markets that will pay quality prices for quality work. If you're looking to make good money writing articles, here are five potential clients who will buy.

SEO's. Article marketing is just one among many weapons in a search engine marketer's arsenal. Many SEO's sell articles to their own clients in addition to other services intended to raise their clients' search engine rankings. They charge high prices for these articles--sometimes as much as $100 each--and they can get away with it by selling their own SEO credentials and claiming these articles are ultra-optimized for the best placement possible.

However, a lot of SEO's don't have time to actually write these articles, so they farm them out. A lot of my SEO clients start off by using college interns, friends and family, and others who can write on a part-time basis--many of them don't use the $5 article writers because they're looking for high quality to justify their high prices. But as their workload increases, they find they can't rely on part-time help. That's where you come in. Offer reliable service and high-quality articles your SEO client can sell to his own clients for a marked-up price, and you'll have a client who keeps coming back with large orders.

Online marketing agencies. Even if they're not specifically focused on SEO, many online marketing agencies will use simple how-to articles for a variety of purposes. I've worked with agencies that package my articles into e-books and e-courses, set them up in e-newsletters and educational autoresponder series, and build article libraries. If your work is good, you can charge higher prices because these agencies will turn around and sell the writing to their own clients for an additional markup--so your price isn't a tough sell, as long as the marketer thinks his own clients will accept the price.

E-business owners. You can also sell your articles directly to e-business owners without going through SEO's, online marketing agencies, and other middlemen. They use the articles for the same reasons and purposes the middlemen do. They may be a tougher sell, because they're not making the money they pay for your writing back quickly by turning around and selling them to a new client; instead, they're making it back more gradually through increased exposure, rankings, and sales. But a web- and marketing-savvy e-business owner can also be a great buyer for articles.

Online publications. I know a lot of websites depend on users to write content for free--think Wikipedia, EzineArticles, and even Blogger. But some websites want to position themselves as authorities in their niches, and some of these are willing to pay for your articles. They're likely to operate more like print publications than your typical online client--most of these sites expect to set their own price and pay on publication, and you should check their guidelines or contract for usage rights and kill fees. But some can pay decent prices for articles.

Offline markets. Every so often I get an email from someone who found one of my articles online and wants to use it for a print newsletter, magazine, presentation, brochure, speech--the list goes on and on. This shows that there are people looking for well-researched, well-organized and approachable writing that serves their market both online and off.

These markets expect quality; your grammar and spelling must be perfect, your research must hold up under scrutiny, and you'll be expected to come up with unusual angles, know how to write with web readers in mind, and know the basics of effective keyword usage. It goes without saying that these clients also expect original work--no cutting and pasting. But if you can deliver a quality product and you've been selling your articles for $5 apiece, you owe it to yourself to look into markets that will pay more.


Unknown said...

How decent a price are we talking, Jennifer? This is a new area for me.

Jennifer Williamson said...

For most online markets I've been able to sell articles for $35-$55 as a baseline depending on the length and topic. I charge more for more technical and creative topics that take more research time. I usually use an hour as my base estimated time for writing an article on a topic I have to research (but which isn't too technically difficult); two hours for a topic I have to research that's a bit more in depth; and half an hour for a very short article on a topic I know well.

For online publications that accept articles, I've seen prices as low as $15 and as high as $50 for basic articles like this without interviews. For example, I've sold some old blog posts to one writing website for about $15, which is much lower than I'd generally want to go but the posts were already written. I'm also starting to write articles on commission for another site for about $50 for a 600-word article that doesn't require much research and is based on my experience. I rarely give bulk discounts unless someone orders over 200 articles at once, which rarely happens.

Bunny McCoy said...

I just found you recently and am enjoying your helpful insights.