“I’ll do it myself” the hidden cost of writing your own copy

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Is it worth paying a copywriter

Here is an answer to the question ‘is it worth paying a copywriter?’ that you probably wouldn’t expect from a company in the copywriting business. We think that if you can write your own copy then you should do it. Go for it. Why pay us when you can do it yourself? It makes no sense to spend time telling us what you want, reviewing the copy we send (excellent though it will be, naturally), and then paying our bill if you don’t need to. Why would you?

We certainly wouldn’t.

What you are actually doing when you engage a copywriting service is asking a professional in their field to apply their writing skills to your subject and produce engaging copy. If you can emulate that and produce good copy yourself, why spend money with YourCopyWriter.com? After all, you know your business better than we do, in fact, it isn’t uncommon for our clients to write some additional copy themselves because of that very reason. Our job is not to write for you, it is to write the copy you need. In some cases, we are so keen to make sure you get the right service, we even turn clients away because they don’t meet our criteria.

Do I need a Copywriter? Some questions to ask yourself

Here is a partial checklist of what we look for in a client. When we take on a new business we want to be confident they would say ‘no’ to these questions. Therefore, if you can give an emphatic ‘yes’ to them, then we don’t see any reason for you to engage us for your copywriting. So here is a checklist and an explanation of why the question is so important to us.

Have you got the time to spare?

Let’s assume you are writing a piece of copy for your site. The first thing you need to do to estimate its value is to look at the time taken to write it. The first thing to do then is to time youself. Remember to include your research time, proof reading, re-writes, and the all-important thinking time. If you don’t want to go to all that trouble though, a quick google will reveal that the expected time for 500 words is between 1.25 and 1.5 hours for the first draft. The real world truth though that you only need to hit exactly 500 words at school. In reality the two most common article lengths are around 800 and 1200 words. The actual writing time then is going to be around 2 hours minimum and more likely 3 to 3.5 hours just to write the first draft. Now add in all the other bits and bobs and you are probably looking at an article taking between 3.5 and 4.5 hours on average. That’s the time you really need to put aside to write your own blog. If you have that much time, then great.


Is it cost effective not to pay for your copy?

Having costed your writing in time, you can cost it in money. I know we are all in business because of our inner ‘why’, the passion for what we do that drives us to be here every morning, but we also do it to put food on the table. On average a business owner in the UK earns around 50k a year. OK, stop laughing, that’s according to job insight company Glassdoor so I am pretty sure it’s right. However, let’s be generous and knock 10k off. So, at 40k we are looking at a monthly wage of £3,300. Now we can break that down to 40 hours a week or 160 hours a month. OK, stop laughing again, yes, I know, business owners work more than 40 hours a week. Right, fine, let’s say 45 hours a week making it 180 hours a month. That means, worse case, you are earning a minimum of around £18 an hour. Therefore, the article is costing you £72, personally. Only it’s actually more than that. Read on for why.


Do you want to do it because it is important to you?

This is a big factor in the decision to hire a Copywriter. Some people love writing and some people hate it. In our experience the majority of business owners are somewhere between the two. They don’t really detest writing, but they would much rather be doing something else. Most people see writing as a chore that needs to done and, a bit like repainting the back fence or buying socks, it isn’t that the task is particularly difficult, it’s just not as urgent as other things. So, we push it into the ‘things I will do later’ pile. Where it usually remains untouched ever again for a very simple reason. During the working day you are being pulled in several different directions at once. When you finally get around to thinking about writing that blog after a long day at work, you would rather grab a beer and watch TV, take the dog for a walk, listen to the kids tell you about the gossip at school or a thousand other things that feel more important than writing. The bottom line though is that these things probably feel they are more deserving of your attention because they genuinely are. The writing is no less important because you want to watch the football or read to your kids, it is just not as important at that moment as a pre-bedtime adventure with Dr Suess. It’s not that you don’t want to write, it’s just that you have better things to do.


Are you a confident writer?

Contrary to some copywriting services we think that most people are quite good writers. That’s not an unreasonable assumption considering many business owners have a good level of written English and are commonly quite well educated. However, the business owners themselves often don’t see it that way and have what we sympathetically call ‘their, there fear’ of writing. This is a nervousness that you will make simple errors in your writing. The fear that you will use the wrong version of ‘there’ or some other easily made mistake is perfectly understandable. You are, after all, putting yourself out there. Writing and then publishing what you write can be daunting.


Is it time well spent?

Let’s do a reality check here. Assuming you going to write 2 articles a month (our most popular client request) then you need to be pretty much allocating the equivalent of a full working day to your writing. Despite all the obvious benefits of good copy, and even if you really want to write it, you need to ask if it is time well spent for you to do so. We tend to undervalue ourselves as business owners, not in terms of our pay packet, but in terms of our value. It’s actually quite daunting to recognise our actual hourly rate but to quote Aldus Huxley ‘Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored’. That £18 an hour we talked about earlier that you work so hard for probably requires you bring in twice that in revenue. The bottom line is your value is more than your hourly pay rate and it usually doubles at least in real terms. Which means you are writing at an average of £36 per hour. That’s a pretty expensive commitment.

So, to be able to answer answer ‘yes’ to the above questions the average businessperson would need to be able to say:

“I have plenty of time to spare and writing a blog is more important to me than many other activities, personal or work-related, because I love writing and I am a confident writer. Not only that but it is cost-effective and time well spent at £288 off the bottom line for two articles and I can afford to spend a full day out of running my business.”

If you can’t say that then you probably should consider a copywriter.

Here is the last thought on this subject. Sometimes people ask why buying copy from us is so much cheaper than doing it themselves. Well, the answer is deceptively simple. We can say ‘yes’ on your behalf to the questions in this article. In much the same way that you are good for your business because you are professional in what you do, we are really, really slick at writing copy. So, the cost per hour of writing for us is financially positive not negative. We write, confidently, and as it’s our job, we write pretty quickly. Instead of being a drain on resources, the writing we do for you is part of a workflow, and yes, to be honest, we actually do love writing.

That’s why we are called YourCopyWriter not just copywriter. This is not about us; it’s about taking the task of writing away from you so you can get on with something more pressing.

Call us, email us or message us to see how we can help.