Tech articles

  • ... and yet, progress IS creeping in. A year ago, the weekly itinerant markets dealt only in cash. Now cash payments are well in the minority, with people quickly paying through their cell phones.

  • The last paragraph definitively negates the thought I had entertained at the beginning of the column - that at least the UK wouldn’t be saddled with the new regulatory burdens. So much for the notion that there might be even one advantage of Brexit.

    • Helpful

    I joined a tech news website in 2016, left earlier this year. I wrote around 5800 articles during that time haha.

    Really, there was a time when I was doing Splinter and Jim's article count in a few months across various clients. I used to send 100 a month to one insurance client, who I am still with but thankfully writing much less for without losing money.

    I am writing 6-7 articles this morning.

    What's interesting is I often presumed speed was always going to be a trade off with quality. In other words, speed automatically means errors and probably disinterest from high-paying clients. In some cases this is true. I will give you a breakdown of my morning (7am to around 12pm). So, I do five articles for a client I have. The general criteria for these articles is placing one keyword and anchor into the text. These articles are often on one subject and the keyword on an entirely different subject. Placing ths keyword is the hardest part of the articles, which are around 500 words.

    I can write 500 words in around 30 mins and I am a stream of thought writer so what I think comes out. So, if I know the subject I reel off one of those articles in about 40 mins (arsing around with the keyword placement and editing). So, that will take me around 3 hours but probably a bit less. Each of those articles pays me $25, so $125 for the batch. A fairly awful rate to be fair, but I have been with the client years and he offers consistent work. It works out to around $40 per hour for this batch. Solid but unspectacular but the quality of the writing does not have to stand out (the keyword is the most important).

    I will then write two 1000 word articles which will be more complicated. I spent an hour yesterday researching and "building" the structure of the articles, which are insurance. I am a specalist insurance writer so know the subject well. Today it's a case of putting down the words, which combined 2,000 will take me around 2-2.5 hours. These articles pay $60 each and are for a relatively big UK insurer so the quality cannot be average.

    Ok, so today I will work around 6 hours (unless it all falls apart and I put YouTube on) and earn $240, or exactly $40 per hour. Not bad. My average daily work has now gone down to 2-4 hours because I changed my approach earlier this year and started charging more. I am now writing 3 or 4 articles per day and making more than I was when I was writing 15 a day. However, the thing stopping me continuing to write 15 a day and earn even more is simply a dip in available work this year. Also, I am writing 3 articles a day for a client who is extremely low paying but I have been with for years. I get just $15 a day for those articles, but they take me an hour to write them all so I tolerate it. The extra daily article is typically for an higher paying client that makes the 2-4 hours I work highly worth my time.

    Over 10 years, a university degree, and just writing thousands of words each day I class speed as perhaps my best asset. I mentioned I assumed speed would mean high-paying customers would not be interesed. That's not true in my case because ultimately they don't know how long I take to write. For example, my main insurance client (which is Canada's largest online insurance websites and 70% of my income) gives me 7-day deadlines for a 500-1000 word article. I hand in the article on the 7th day (always do this if you're interested in doing freelance writing) and of course they assume I have been working on it through the seven days, researching, prepping, writing, and maybe even drafting. Instead, I typically wake up on the morning of 7th day, check what I have to write, spend half hour to an hour researching and an hour to write and clean it up. This company demands quality but has never complained so I guess my speed does not compromise the quality, at least when I ensure it doesn't.

    I guess this post may belong in the humble brag thread, but I like to explain how this freelance writer thing works sometimes because people are sometimes curious. Also, you can add another half hour onto my work time today because I have just written 600 words here.

  • Semigoodlooking, thank you for sharing insights on a copywriter work. I don't know much about it and it is hard to figure it out without a detailed account like yours. There are many professionals who are 'invisible' to the larger public, yet we come in contact with their work daily.

    One of the hardest thing, for me, is exactly to figure out what kind of professionals I need and how to select one. There is a number of ideas about my business that I'd like to expand, but I don't know where to start from.

    These are:

    1) Getting a stamp. So far, I have been using a customizable office stamp which looks so lame. At Staples, there aren't nice designs to pick from and they want to see my credentials to supply a stamp. My credentials are from abroad - will they accept them? I have also found two girls doing creative stamps (such as to stamp on brown bags, tags etc. for cafes and take away food) and I wonder if they also design them and if they can supply the stamp in a self-stamp (without the separate ink pad)

    2) Getting customized stationery. I have been using my own letterhead for my translator's statement of accuracy, but I'd like to have matching envelope / folders. I guess I need vector images and my letterhead could be improved, too.

    3) Blog. I'd like to add a blog section on my website to add more keywords. However, I am not sure about the technical part. I did my website using and it's a static website. I also don't have time to write the article myself, but I need someone familiar with the topic. Perhaps the time spent to instruct a copywriter is more than it would take to write the posts myself... How does this work? I assign the cipy writer a summary of what I'd like to write, and they develop an article around it? Do I supply keywords, or is the copywriter able to research the most googled keywords around the topic, and use them in the article(s)?

    4) Branding. I have always done everything myself and I feel it lacks of coherency. Maybe I need a logo, or at least use the same graphic across my online outlets, my stationery, my website.

    What's hard about it? Well, there is a group of suggestions for service providers in Buenos Aires where from time to time there is someone inquiring about these things, however the recommendation consists in tagging their cousin. Clicking on the cousin name, I see just a name and a picture, or their persona facebook wall. I don't see anything about their work that could help me understand if they are a good fit.

    Some 'graphic designer' have a portfolio on Instagram or a website, but their work is Argentinian-style graphic (hippie pañuelo verde stuff with animals and plants), while I need something appealing to business clients in the US. I believe there are Argentinian freelancers already working for clients in the US. I am also old fashioned enough to want to meet in person (or over zoom) and discuss my needs in depth, also because I am not familiar with the steps involved. Will they provide a few logos/styles to pick from? Or do each of them follow their own style, and I should look for someone on the same page?