May 21, 2014

A Fair Deal for Copywriters?

Many businesses make use of copywriting services, though the quality of such services varies to a significant degree. Freelance copywriters can now find work far more easily as a result of the internet and the numerous agencies around. But not all of these agencies are reputable and some copywriters are questioning whether they give a fair rate of pay to copywriters and whether the low rates effect the quality of the work. Other freelancers offering copywriting services are simply pleased that work is so readily available.

"I would have given my left arm for an opportunity like Copify when I was starting out," said Martin Harrison in an interview with the Guardian. Martin is a copywriter who co-founded Copify in 2009. Tom Albrighton is very critical of services like Copify, he is a copywriter and co-founder of the Professional Copywriters' Network which promotes "realistic and fair pricing for copywriting services", among other things, and "strongly discourages" pricing by the word. Albrighton says it "skews the cost-benefit equation of copywriting by privileging quantity over quality".

Professional writer, Nick Padmore, calls Copify's 1p-per-word rate "incredibly low", adding that "good writers are rare. If you're one of them, you're worth a hell of a lot more." Copify take a cut of 66.67% which is very high compared to agencies like EmpowerLingua who also offer translation services, and take a much lower percentage.

Copify is not a great route for freelancers offering copywriting services to launch their careers. Author's bylines are never published, nor can their work be included in a personal portfolio according to the site's terms and conditions. For these reasons, the only benefit that a service like Copify can offer to freelancers is the chance to make a quick buck. A useful resource if you are waiting on payment for an article from a magazine for example, but hardly the basis of a career. One might assume that 'you get what you pay for' with copywriting, as is the case with all things, but Harrison defends his website, saying,

"We frequently supply articles that are published on websites like the Independent and Marie Clare … the copy would not be published if it wasn't up to scratch."

It's hard to check up on the quality of the copywriting services provided by Copify, which is currently running on a unique model but there are many other agencies operating under more conventional models.

Copywriters are advised to sign up to multiple agencies so that they have a constant stream of work, if multiple jobs come in then you have the option to choose the better one. To rely on a basic service like Copify would be short-sighted. Those seeking copywriting services can heed the warnings from the copywriters themselves, if you seek out the cheapest deal, you get the lowest quality. Many copywriters offer tiered services; including a basic check for spelling and grammar as standard and a premium option which involves thorough analysis of the text, rewriting, rewording and restructuring. Talk to an agency about copywriting services and let them know exactly what you require from your copywriter.