By Carol Tice
Many readers of my Make a Living Writing blog have heard me mention in passing that I had a big assignment at the end of last year that paid $300 per blog. I got a few requests for more information on how I ended up making so much for blogging, when so many gigs in this niche pay $10-$20 a post.
So here’s the story:
I was contacted by an editor I hadn’t worked with before. They got my name from another editor who’d worked on a different part of this large financial-service firm’s Web site. Rates for writing articles for my editor had varied widely, so I didn’t know quite what to expect on rates.
This new editor explained they had a huge, rush project — 144 blog entries in all at 400 words each — that they needed done in six weeks flat. The major corporate sponsor who’d paid to create this content wanted it all ready to upload in January 2010. It was explained to me that it was a bit of a hybrid format — a ‘reported’ blog that would need an interview for each post.
So based on that brief introduction, these were the key factors I was thinking about as we talked rates:
3) All financial topics, so fairly limited pool of people qualified.
Me: “How many of these would you like to see me handle for you?”
Them: “Um…could you do 20 of them?”
Me: “Let me take a look at my assignment calendar…I think I could do that many.
What’s your budget for this project?”
Them: “We’re offering $200 a blog.”
Me: (after long silence) “But…it is a rush project.”
Them: “Yeah, you’re right…how about $250 a blog?”
Them: “OK, $300, and that’s my final offer!”
I’d like to add that the client was very happy with what I turned in and will likely use me again in future. I’ve detected no negative backlash from negotiating a higher rate on this project.
This incident illustrates my philosophy on how to handle rate negotiations, an area I know intimidates some writers. My rules:
1) Make them tell you a figure. You want them to blink first.
2) Don’t jump at the first figure they offer. Explore if there’s wiggle room.
3) Specialized knowledge required = fewer qualified writers = should pay more.
4) Use strategic silences to give yourself thinking time, and to leave an opening for them to offer more. Humans abhor silence and will often fill it by starting to talk again. In negotiation, this keeps the pressure on them to move the negotiation forward.
For more tips on getting corporate clients to pay you a good rate, see my latest post on Make a Living Writing: How to Get Writing Clients To Pay You More.
This post originally appeared on the WM Freelance Writer’s Connection.