How much does a blog post cost?
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The cost of a blog post depends on whether you commission a freelancer who charges per word, or choose to work with an agency who will likely ask for a minimum commitment of 3 months. At ESM Inbound, many of our customers start out with a one-off request for a single task. A lot of our competitor agencies would be likely to turn them away, offering only packages of content, often for a set period of time, usually three or six months.
We understand that commissioning a single piece of content - such as a blog post - is a good way to dip your toe in the water. It’s the ideal opportunity for a customer to have a small experience of what it’s like to work with us as an agency, and more often than not, it’s the start of something bigger.
But to get back to the numbers, the cost of a blog post can vary considerably. The top link when you google ‘How much does a blog post cost?’ throws up an extremely misleading answer. An article that is seven years out of date, by a freelance writer, is far off the mark, quoting $25-150 dollars, with no reference whatsoever to word-count. Granted, there may be some people who would create content for this, but their experience and expertise is likely to be questionable.
Freelance content creation
In reality, your cheapest option is to find a freelancer via a reputable online platform such as UpWork, where you can browse CVs and hourly rates. These range from $25 the least experienced to $120 an hour for the most. Others may charge by the word, and prices for this are equally variable. As far as Google is concerned, the ideal length for a blog post is between 1,000 and 13000 words. At an hourly pace, this (with time for one set of major and another set of minor revisions built-in), would be likely to take, on average 4-6 hours of a freelancer’s time.
Content marketing agencies
If you come to an agency with your request, it can be hard to know what represents good value (fair pricing and a high likelihood of a quality output). The time it takes to create a blog post varies depending on the nature of the content. Our hourly pricing model is designed to ensure our customers get exactly what they pay for.
Typically, it takes us a day to create a piece of optimised, high quality content. This includes consultation, interviews and transcription, planning and creation of the content and quality assurance so that you can have faith that the content you are paying for has been well researched and planned and is of the highest possible standard. We consult with the customer at the planning stage before we go ahead and create the final piece of content to ensure the brief is being met. This helps to keep the cost down as there is less likelihood of revisions.
Whatever option you go for, it’s important to be mindful of a few things before you decide on an agency or a freelancer.
Buy cheap, buy twice
A cheaper, less experienced or, if what you’re after is technically challenging, more generalist writer, may be a false economy. This is an experience we often hear our clients have had in the past, and by the time they come to us, they may have had their fingers burnt more than once. A low hourly rate is irrelevant if it takes somebody longer to produce the same piece of work and it’s a waste of money if they can’t deliver something you can use. There can also be a tendency for those with a low-hourly rate to pad out the hours they invoice for.
Know what your content is for
Really think about the brief you give an agency or a freelancer. Be clear about what it is you want the blog to include and what you want the content to do for you. What is the action you want to encourage as a result of a potential customer reading your blog?
Don’t be a stranger
Be prepared to put in some effort yourself - provide any relevant data you can without overwhelming the writer (bear in mind you will be charged for reading and research time as well as writing). Make yourself available for an interview, particularly if the writer or agency is ghostwriting a post on your behalf and you know it will have your name on it. At the cheaper end of the scale, many agencies won’t have allowed for interview time or transcribing an interview in the cost that they quote you to produce a blog. This more ‘off the peg’ content is more likely to underperform than a piece that has been properly researched.
Does the content answer a question?
Google and your customers will care far more about the quality of writing and the usefulness of what you’re saying than how long a post is or how many links it has in it. Make sure the theme of your blog answers a burning question your potential customer has. At ESM Inbound, we spend a lot of time with our customers helping to map the pain points of their customers and we think hard about how we can help solve these in the content we help our clients create.
Does the content add value?
SEO is changing all the time. It’s very hard to stay on top of this unless you make it your personal hobby. Having said that, since the introduction of Google’s hummingbird update in 2018, the gap between what Google likes and what your customers are likely to want to read has closed. Google has become more human in its ranking, so readability, relevance and what we like to call ‘react ability’ (a clear CTA and a big knowledge value-add, making it desirable to share, download and return to), are three top rules of thumb.
Has a proper QA process been followed?
Make sure there is a QA or proof-reading process included in the price of producing the content you commission. If you are working with a standalone freelancer, you will need to budget extra for proof-reading (or have somebody internal who has excellent editing skills and the time to check it over).
Beware of hidden costs
Remember, the time taken to complete your blog will vary depending on the length of the content and the work required to create it, including research, data gathering and any interviews required (either with you, or other sources you want the writer to quote). So be prepared for an agency or freelancer to push back if you are asking too much in the time you have budgeted for. Costs can easily spiral if there are extra rounds of revisions.
Look for clarity in pricing. Any agency or good freelancer should be able to tell you exactly what is included in their service, how long a piece of work is likely to take, and what they may need to charge extra for.
Are images included?
Consider imagery. A subscription to HubSpot Marketing Pro or Enterprise Portal comes with a free library of stock images. Bespoke images and infographics can be created by an agency, for an extra fee. Without access to an image library, picture research can be expensive and time-consuming.
Finally, if an agency promises you a guaranteed number of views, or leads, I’d run away from that like the plague! There is no honest way to predict these figures, and although having a sense of what you’re aiming for can be helpful, the main thing is to make sure the content itself is bang on. If you’d like to talk to us about your content needs, simply click below to book a call with one of our experts.
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