How Should You Pay Your Freelance Writer?

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When you hire a freelance writer, you will have to figure out how to compensate him or her. Setting up your relationship with a freelance writer is, in part, about how you plan to pay. There are a number of different arrangements that you can use to get started. Here are some of the options your freelance writer might accept:

Per-Post, Per-Article, or Per-Project

If your freelance writer has set parameters, it often makes sense to pay on a per-post, per-article, or per-project basis. For a professional blogger, you can agree on a per-post rate that sets out how many words will be in each post, as well as other criteria. If you need a press release, or if you need some other type of work done, there are often set rates charged.

A blog post, depending on who’s writing it, and its length, might cost anywhere from $15 to $200 — or more. Realize that if your freelance writer has experience, and provides quality work, you can expect to pay more for the work. Often, when you hire a freelancer, you get what you pay for. If someone is willing to write a 500 word post for $5 or $10, you run the risk of low quality.

Paying on a per-project basis or per-post basis can make sense, since it lays out exactly what needs to be done, and you pay for a finished product.

Per-Hour

You can also pay by the hour. Coming up with a reasonable hourly rate can be difficult, and you might pay anywhere between $25 and $100 an hour (or more), depending on the work and the expertise involved. You can ask your freelancer to use a timing app to track hours, but you still have to trust the freelance writer will be accurate in measuring the hours worked.

Revenue Sharing

When you are strapped for cash, it’s tempting to offer revenue sharing. Instead of paying your blog staff writer for the work done, you share a portion of the revenue the site makes. This requires that you ask your writer to basically work for free until you start earning money — and then the blogger has to trust that you will accurately report the revenue earned.

Even though this can encourage your freelance writer to promote your web site, it can become frustrating for a freelancer to spend time on your project, and feel inadequately compensated. While the potential for earnings is greater (unlimited) with a revenue sharing agreement, the risk for a freelance writer is also great — especially since the freelancer is also trying to make a living.

As a freelancer, I would never accept a straight revenue sharing deal. However, I have been willing to accept a lower per-post rate with the rest made up in revenue sharing. It’s possible to use revenue share as a bonus.

Traffic Bonus

One of the ways that you can encourage your freelance writer to promote your blog is to offer a traffic bonus. If enough traffic is driven to your site, you can pay your writer a bonus. Much of the time, this bonus is paid on a per-thousand rate to posts written by the freelancer. So, you might agree that your writer will receive a $1 bonus for every 1,000 pageviews that his or her posts receive. That means that if your writer’s posts bring in 10,000 pageviews in a month, he or she will receive a $10 bonus.

This encourages your writer to stay with you, as well as try to drive traffic to your site, since all of the the writer’s posts, past and present, are considered in the traffic bonus.

In many cases, it is possible to negotiate a lower per-post rate when you offer a traffic bonus. I have, in the past, accepted a lower per-post rate in exchange for a traffic bonus. This allows the blog owner to get a break on costs, and the freelancer has the potential to earn more over time.

At the end of the day, you need to negotiate a payment arrangement that you are both happy with, and that provides you both the potential to find success.

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