Way down in the bargain basement
Written by
Anne Macindoe
September 2011
Written by
Anne Macindoe
September 2011
Sale signs, clearance ads, specials everywhere! We’ve all seen them. In most cases these mean a short term discount. It’s a highly effective way of creating urgency and massaging the urge to buy. But how do people really assess value? And what does that mean for what I do every day.

This week I was reading a musician’s story. Basically he was saying the glory days are well and truly over. In his case, weekly earnings at the start of his career were beyond his current income. Actually there are lots of reasons why the music industry is changing. I’m not delving into that here. But essentially we are all faced with the same quandary. How much will you work for?

Drawing the line

I prepare lots of quotes. People and businesses from all over ask me about copywriting. What I know is this. The very best results come from working with people who:
  • respect what I do
  • value my expertise
  • recognise my contribution
Now I’ll admit, at the start of my copywriting career, sometimes I worked for peanuts. Young and hungry new writers do that every day. It’s about getting runs on the board, creating your own success and (hopefully) forming some long-term relationships. These days I do things differently. Or so I thought.

The job that wasn’t

A colleague of mine referred a client recently. It’s a smaller business and they need copywriting for a new brochure. Sure ... that’s what I do! So I send a message to scope out the project and ask about budget. The response? Around 12% of what I’d normally earn.

Hmmm. In days gone by I may have tried to make that work. But that’s like shooting myself in the foot. Does this person Respect, Value and Recognise? Nope. And if I agree to go forward, I compromise by own self worth too.

What you’re worth

OK. I’ve read that online commentary too. How the perceived value of great writing has been diminished by high volume and low quality. But what this is really all about is how much I agree to work for. The value I attach to myself.

That’s important because how I value my work mirrors the way others see it too. If I do a job for $50 that must be all I’m worth. If I write below scale or even free, is that contribution valued and respected. There’s an easy way to tell. Ask for a credit.

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  • Anne Macindoe

    There's an argument the internet and content marketing have devalued good writing.

    I don't think that's really the case.  Junk is junk. 

    It's a matter of helping clients understand what they're paying for.


  • Trish Anders

    Good point, Anne. It also reflects the value that people in general put on writing or anything really that is created by an invidivual with talent and the skill to produce what is needed. Keeping firm on the price set is not easy when there is always someone ready to undercut you, but it is necessary in order to increase perceived value in any product.