Friday, May 16, 2008

Why You're Worth More

Just learned on Words on the Page that today is "Writers' Worth" day. Look, writing is a notoriously underpaid job. Everyone thinks they can do it. Everyone thinks it takes you two seconds to do it. Lots of writers want to do it so badly they'll completely debase themselves to do it--working for free or next to free and bringing the job market down for everyone. If you're stuck in the cheap-writing death spiral, here are a few things your writing does for clients--and why you're worth more.

It makes them money. This is the absolute first thing you must realize about what you write. Your writing makes people money. Otherwise they wouldn't pay you to do it, right? This is true across the board, no matter what industry you're writing for. Newspapers and magazines wouldn't get subscriptions without your writing. SEO's wouldn't get ad revenue without your writing. Affiliate marketers wouldn't get clicks without your writing. Businesses of all shapes and sizes wouldn't land half so many customers and clients if your writing didn't clearly explain the benefits of their service or product.

Look: don't just consider the time it takes you to write something. Consider what it's worth. Back when I used to work on Elance, I saw hundreds of writers offering to write ebooks for $500 or less. That's whole, 100-page or bigger ebooks, folks. And you know what the clients do with those ebooks? Sell 'em to niche markets and make thousands of dollars. For something the writer valued at a couple hundred. Don't be the idiot who doesn't know his worth and who gives away the farm. You're smarter than that.

It makes them look good. Your writing makes your clients look good. When you ghostwrite an article or an ebook or a report for them, you show their expertise--but the expertise you're actually showcasing is yours. Charge for it. Your writing makes your client look like an expert, increases his credibility with customers, and builds trust. That's crucial to your client's business. Don't think it's nothing--and don't charge nothing for it.

It gets them noticed. Especially online, your writing generates traffic. Even humble keyword articles generate traffic and bring your client's site up in the search engine rankings--a benefit that's worth thousands. If you write them a press release, you'll get them publicity. If you write blog posts for them, you'll get them noticed in the blogosphere. Plus all those blog posts generate ad revenue--for the client, not for you.

It lands them clients. Your writing in brochures, websites, and other marketing materials explains much better than your client could all the reasons why the client's product or service is worth buying. As a writer, you get inside the prospects' heads; you find out what their problems are; and you convince them that your client has the key to solving their problems. Think that's worth a couple hundred bucks? Think again--it's worth a couple thousand at the very least. Your clients can't do this themselves. They'd land a fraction of the business they would with a clearly stated USP and compelling copy.

Your writing is pure gold to clients, no matter what kind of writing you do. Be aware of what you're worth. Know the value you bring to clients. Charge for it. People who pay $5 for an article are counting on you not knowing how much they need those articles--or how much they benefit from them. Know your worth and charge your worth, and you'll have a great career--not a work-from-home sweatshop job.

Other posts on Writers' Worth:

The Urban Muse
Irreverent Freelancer
Chaos in the Country


Lori said...

Amen! Perfect, Jen. Thanks so much for posting and helping the cause!

Star Lawrence said...

I love this! Thanks.

We are all about the check