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"The uninformed would be staggered to know the amount of work involved in a single ad. Weeks of work sometimes. The ad seems so simple, and it must be simple to appeal to simple people. But back of that ad may lie reams of data, volumes of information, months of research. So this is no lazy mans field."
- Claude Hopkins
Scientific Advertising

Why Copywriters Have Different Fees and What's Involved in the Copywriting Process.

Let me begin by saying I certainly cannot and will not speak for all copywriters. I havenít the faintest idea how other copywriters work or on what they base their fees. I have a general idea of the latter but none of the former.

I can tell you, however, how I set my own fees and what I do to earn them.

I have lots of people contact me about writing for them. Many only have a few hundred dollars to spend and they think that is a lot of money to pay a copywriter. Well, thatís pocket change and most professionals wonít touch it. We canít afford to.

We have to earn a living. We have to pay bills. We have to maintain a business. In addition, in my own case, I have worked hard for forty years to learn what I know. Knowledge is worth a lot. Fact is you probably canít pay me enough for what I know and for what it can do for you.

So what do I do to earn my fee?

To begin with, I do not sit down at the computer and begin to write. Now in truth, I can knock out a fantastic sales letter in an hour or less. However, before I make that magic happen I spend from eight hours to forty-eight hours to a week or more brainstorming, coming up with ideas, discarding ideas, trying to position my client, trying to build a case for him that will make people buy from him.

Then I spend hours with a yellow legal pad making notes, writing more ideas and thoughts.

Then I do an outline.

Then I write a rough draft.

Then I correct. I correct. I correct. I correct. In addition, sometimes I correct again. Again. Again.

Then I do magic in an hour or less. I've described me writing a sales letter. It could just as easily be a Web site or radio commercial or print ad. It could be anything you need in your marketing arsenal. The treatment is always the same.

Do you want to pay me a few hundred dollars for that? No thanks. For a few hundred dollars, you will get a couple hours of my time but you will not get the work Iíve described.

I learned copywriting by studying David Ogilvy, William Bernbach, Leo Burnett, John Caples and many other famous and great copywriters. I am very proud of what I do. I love what I do. I am very good at what I do.

In addition, when a client cares enough about his business to invest in a copywriter who has this sort of pride and work ethic and will pay the fee that fits the work, that client will be greatly rewarded. That client will, in almost all cases, get copy that produces tremendous results.

Now all copywriters bomb. Not everything we write works. David Ogilvy admitted that he made a mistake in putting a naked woman in an ad for a stove. "It was a mistake, not because it was sexy, but because it was irrelevant to the product - a cooking stove," he said.

We all make mistakes in our creation of sales letters, ads, radio spots, Web copy and everything else. However, a copywriter who has years of experience and has studied other peopleís successes AND their mistakes will do more for you than someone who has done neither.

David Ogilvy said something else Iíll never forget. One of his copywriters told him that he had not read any books about advertising; he preferred to rely on his own intuition. "Suppose your gallbladder has to be removed this evening. Will you choose a surgeon who has read some books on anatomy and knows where the gallbladder is or someone who relies on his own intuition?" Ogilvy asked him.

So thatís the bottom line. Do you want to hire someone who knows where things are and can fix them or someone who wants to blaze trails and go on his intuition?

I use methods that are tried and true. They work now and they have always worked. When they stop working, I will stop using them. However, I do not try to reinvent the wheel.

You can hire a cheaper copywriter. You can hire someone who will sit right down at the computer and knock out a good sales letter. At least I hope itís good. They may even ask you some probing questions and get some feedback from you. I hope they do.

But in the final analysis, do you want that or do you want someone who lives and breathes your business for the time it takes to do your advertising or marketing project?

Which copywriter do you suppose will get you the best results?

I suggest you try other copywriters. There are many good copywriters available. Test what their work does for you. Then if you're not happy with the results, get in touch with me.

Susanna K. Hutcheson, Creative Director
6505 E. Central #106, Wichita, KS 67206
Voice: 316-665-6904

©2006 Susanna K. Hutcheson.