Why bother trying to hire a writer?
As writers, regardless of experience level, we check out job boards. We seek suitable clients who will hire a writer for future projects.
It makes sense to do so, right? In an ideal world, certainly. Unfortunately, prospective clients seeking to hire a writer often wax lyrical about the company, its perks and what wonderful people we’d be working with. But, and it’s a big BUT, fail to include any details about the rates offered. Sometimes, this detail is ignored completely and they ask us ‘intelligent’ questions such as:
- “Why would you like to work at our company?”–big clue, like most of us, we like to earn money and buy things with it.
- “What is your hourly rate?”– for producing what exactly? – YOU provide a sample.
- “How much do you charge per article/post?”–How long is a piece of string? What’s the word count? The research level? The audience? Credited or uncredited? The list goes on.
As a group, writers are smart and quick to sniff out the bullshit from the few truffles on these job boards. We always ask “Why is the budget or rate not disclosed?” and will not waste our time on board postings that lack this rather significant detail.
Think about it. If you want to move to another company, what is the primary consideration? It’s salary, isn’t it? Obviously, job satisfaction is important too, but almost never achieved by taking a pay cut.
Why Prospective Clients Hide Their Rates When THEY Must Hire a Writer
If we’re logical about it, the primary reason for hiding rates is that they are crap. Other reasons include but are not limited to:
- Rates are not disclosed so that the client can select the cheapest from the rates received. In other words, the client is a bargain hunter and without knowing it, each applicant is part of a bidding war. This may or may not tie in with relevant experience. My advice to such clients is to visit cheaplancer, peanuthire or slopwork, if this is your approach.
- Confidentiality- the client is protecting rates from competitors. Unfortunately, this argument does not hold water as an approximate range could be provided (from $0.25-$0.40 per word, for example). It would then be up to the applicant to justify the higher rate, based on portfolio, expertise etc. Even this approach is not necessary as the company can remain anonymous and disclose rates. Even if an approximate rate is known, it allows writers to decide if it’s worth applying or not. Most of the time, it isn’t
- There is no actual job–posted ads allow companies to estimate the potential cost of future writing projects. They are gauging the market or using their findings to generate market surveys, infographics etc.
- The client has no idea what writing costs–if this is the case, then expect similar professionalism in other areas.
If Rates are Not Visible, Move On
How much of your time do you spend pitching ideas or seeking new clients? I’d estimate 20% of my time is taken up with these activities. I generally get it out of the way early in the morning, researching in between each completed project. So, every 10 hours, I spend two pitching or responding to potential clients. Unfortunately, even these are mostly composed of spam.
For example, an ad listed on Problogger came from METRO, part of CBS Interactive and called CNETContent…no rates disclosed but a big company… Of course, CNET drew my attention but after a little online checking, it was a crowdsourcing /micro-tasking model, where both editors and writers are part of this crowd. They test you etc. to make sure you are ‘qualified’ and then according to one Reddit post, the princely sum of $5 to $10 per hour can be yours writing short product reviews. IF you can battle successfully against so-called editors that are also chasing money in the same timeframe, you can complete the task and receive payment.
I wasted 10-15 mins checking it out, time I won’t get back. Problogger clearly states that payment details are necessary but advertisers seem to ignore it.
Hire a Writer Without Disclosing Rates and Other Fables
My advice is to treat any offered position that does not disclose rates in the manner it deserves and ignore it. Reputable sites and recruitment portals make it a condition when posting an ad. In addition, it is worth pointing out that content marketing platforms of note (Contently, Skyword, nDash, ClearVoice etc.) always post rates when opportunities arise.
Adjectives such as ‘competitive’, ‘industry’, and ‘attractive’ are meaningless. Some clients think 2c a word is a lot of money. Similarly, ignore “Earn $$$” on “high-paid opportunities” . As writers, we deal in facts.
Should we behave otherwise?
A final note to clients who fail to disclose rates:
Please, pretty please, give all writers a chance to assess a potential job accurately, by disclosing the budget available or rates per task. A writer brief would be helpful as well. Ignore project or company info when rates don’t make the ad copy. We are service providers and won’t to waste our time pitching or supplying resumes to amateurs who fail to comprehend the importance of disclosing rates. In any case, until detailed discussion has taken place via the provided email, the only communication you’ll receive has all contact info (apart from URLs) removed. If clients are prepared to follow these terms. they are free to contact me.