What’s the average freelance writer’s price per word?

February 28, 2020


John Thomas

Learn about the average price per word for freelance writers and gain insights into the factors that influence pricing. Make informed decisions when hiring writers for your projects.

We built Draft, in part, because of our own frustrating experiences requesting content on other marketplaces like Upwork. Once you sort through the eclectic list of writers, you still have to agree on a price. It doesn’t help that writer fees can vary significantly.

Prices by the Word

Freelance writer rates can vary from $0.02 per word for a novice or non-native English speaker (or in this case writer) up to $1.50 per word for a world-class writer with bylines in big-name publications.

When you consider that the average blog post should be upwards of 1,700 words, the high end of that range could mean a six-figure blogging budget. The range is so wide because the price depends on a number of factors like experience, skill, complexity, due date, and even the cost of labor in your geography.

Prices by the Hour

Many writers also charge by the hour, especially when the project involves meaningful research or interviews which can create additional overhead for the writer beyond putting pen to paper. Indeed says the average hourly copywriter charges $33.50 per hour with varying projects requiring varying amounts of time.

Pricing is also affected by overhead and admin costs – unless a writer is selling their services on a freelance writer platform like Draft, they also have to factor in the time it takes to find work, send pitches, negotiate contracts, send invoices, and talk with their customers.

So, what are the rates?

On the open market, these are the reported rates we’ve seen from our writers. We’re going to split it up between different quality tiers.

Tier 1 – The absolute best of the best of freelance writers. Frequently featured on websites like Forbes, Inc, WSJ, etc. Very picky with their engagements. Typical rate: $1.50/word

Tier 2 – Extremely solid writers who make a great living through their craft. Usually strike the fine balance of quality and output. Typical rate: $0.5/word

Tier 3 – The very solid. These are the 75th percentile and above of freelance writers, and are usually the ones hired by companies to write full time. Typical rate: $0.2-0.3/word

Tier 4 – This is a tier where there’s a huge discrepancy in quality. On one hand, you have seasoned writers who simply aren’t of the calibre to command a higher rate. On the other hand you have very high-quality writers who are new to the game and looking to get experience. Typical rate: $0.1-0.2

Tier 5 – This tier may have the most non-native speakers, but it also has a lot of people in the Tier-4 quality range who find that a lower price point allows them to make more money because they can write very efficiently. Typical rate: ~$0.07

For hourly rates, you could be looking at $30 per hour for inexperienced writers, and up to $100 per hour for the top-tier ones. 

If you want to see more examples of how much different companies have paid for outsourced writing services, Contently has a handy rates database that also includes insightful comments from writers. But again be warned that these fees are all over the place!

Why we pay (and recommend) per-word


Writers are, justifiably, very protective when it comes to their rates. After all, it’s their livelihood. But pricing strategy can be very subjective since it relies on several qualitative factors like experience and speed. Because of this, Draft uses a per-word pricing model to ensure the output matches the price.

Two major reasons why per-word pricing works for Draft:

  • Automation: Draft handles all of the admin for our writers so they’re not distracted by cold calling or client management. Draft writers are able to focus on the content to a greater degree than other writers which helps them create quality work faster.

  • Flexibility: Draft is strategic about hiring writers with experience across varying industries and content formats. What’s more, Draft writers get to pick the jobs they like or have expertise in, giving them command over their own productivity.

Our fair rate for our writers allows them to make quite a lot of money as they don’t have to spend time on pitching, negotiations, invoicing and everything else that usually comes with working for yourself.


How and where you find your freelance copywriter matters more than just their price per word. With tools like Draft, the machines take the busy work out of the equation, resulting in affordable rates for the buyers, while keeping the writers fulfilled.

Unfortunately, open marketplaces like Upwork continue to recommend subjective per-hour pricing which causes a lot of stress for buyers and customers alike. In many ways, it’s a race to the bottom in terms of price and quality as buyers vie for cheaper hours. A recent study by Make A Living Writing found that a third of the 1,400 freelance writers surveyed were earning hourly rates of less than $20, underscoring the problem of auctioning off creative people’s time.

The age of these broken auction systems is over.

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