90 Seconds or Less: Why Smart Writers Will Stop Writing Blog Posts

There’s a few things I’ve learned incredibly quickly as I make my foray into full-time copywriting:

1. There’s an unbelievable demand for blog posts, and

2. Smart writers will avoid making blog posts a big part of their offering if they can.

Why?

Perceived value.

When I’m approached by a company to do their website copy, their perceived value is high. This will be their longer-term, client-facing presence for the foreseeable future. It’s important that it come across the right way.

A client asking me for copy like that cares less about how many hours it’s going to take me and more about what the end product is going to be. Let’s imagine I bill them $950 for a 7 page website (not at all unreasonable). It may take me 4 hours or 20 hours – they don’t care. We’ve priced for value to them. We’ve priced for my skills, not my down-to-the-minute time.

Same goes for bigger, more important content pieces, ad campaigns and so on.

Blogs are (usually) the opposite.

If someone wants me to write up well researched, reasonably lengthed blog posts for their website on an ongoing basis, I’m going to be absolutely pulling teeth 9/10 times to get somebody to pay me even $100 per piece.

This is because to most clients, the value of a blog post is seen as low and the writing process is poorly understood. People tend to assume blog posts erupt from writers’ fingers spontaneously, without any time spent researching, planning or organizing. (For more on how this actually works, see: What Happens Before Writers Write?)

As such, there’s this weird prevailing thought that writers should be able to crank out high quality, share-worthy posts in an hour.

Even if it takes me the same amount of time to write a 3,000 word blog post as it does a small website, the perceived value is lower. Add in the recent epidemic of SEO’s who are only looking for mass quantities of content they can rocket launch all over the web, and blog posting starts looking a lot less attractive long-term.

If you get a client who values your talent and experience as it is applied to blogs, stick with them. Love them forever. Thank them for being against-the-norm and give them your best work. But if you want to be writing bigger, better paying jobs, it’s best not to let blogging eat up the bulk of your writing time.

I’m not trying to bite the hand that feeds – right now, blog posts and articles help keep food on my table. And if you love the subject matter (or the client), it’s a great revenue stream.

But I’d be a damned fool if I wasn’t trying to target more of those higher-value projects.

Wouldn’t I?

¬†P.s. I hope I didn’t scare you off! If you want me to write cool things for you (blog posts included), head over to Business Casual Copywriting.

 

3 Responses to “90 Seconds or Less: Why Smart Writers Will Stop Writing Blog Posts”

  1. Dan Shure says:

    Makes sense to me! I think this parallels a trend I’ve been sensing in general, that like 5 years ago all of a sudden every business “had to have a blog” because … why … it worked for some, and then everyone assumed you just had to do that, coupled with this whole idea of “freshness” and “new content” – people really missed the idea on that, and Google did a poor job of explaining it and how the algo works.

    So what do you get, every business no matter if their dentists, tax attorneys, garbage collectors, industrial welders – writing blogs. Arg.

    If I served local mom and pops (which I don’t) I’d rather have them do two or three absolutely killer, full throttle effort pieces of content (video, a short book, a seminar, a massive FAQ / help document) a year instead of 400 word meaningless blog posts. For some, a blog makes sense, but more most it’s only one option out of many, and in most cases it’s basically the worst option.

    • Joel says:

      Not to mention that the competition for blogs is absolutely fierce thanks to services like oDesk and Elancer. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got some GREAT clients who highly value blog posts and pay well for them; they’re looking for my very best and compensate for it. But then there’s the e-mails where you just KNOW the company is budgeting for someone fresh out of college who can whip up 30 posts a month for $500. It makes absolutely no sense to try to compete in that space – and I don’t. I never have, I never will.

      Lead gen and direct sales copy are where the better investment are; creative campaigns are also amazing but they take a different kind of pitch to land. Blog posts come relatively easy and when you find the right client, they can be great. But I feel like staying in that space will pigeon-hole you away from the projects you really want to be doing.

  2. MikSas says:

    Thank you for eloquently writing what I can’t get out of my mental socks… This piece just made me realize I am “underpricing” my skills (I do Web Visibility Optimization, as I taught myself how to, to augment my writing).

    Have been through a couple of agencies, tried the independent route (freelancing) but the steady income was just too enticing… Now, I might just jump in and take the ‘consultant’ route.

    Thank you for writing out my thoughts. Darn, this was good bro!

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