Bargain copy is no bargain

Expert salesmanship in copy does not come cheap. Still, if you want to grow, it is a reasonable business investment. You’ll reap the profits from your brochure, letter, or website for years.

If you want copy that sells, you must expect to pay for something besides a copywriter’s time or word count. I put 29 years of professional marketing insight into every project I take on. Yet, you may find that my rates are not much higher than those of a less-experienced writer. With the novice you must cover the cost of wasted time and motion, while I can go straight to work.

You can see my typical copywriting project rates below. However, please feel free to now for a free estimate, with no obligation.

A guide to professional copywriting fees

Many freelance copywriters don't post their prices. They expect you to email them, describe your project in detail, and then wait to find out if they're in your price range.

I respect your time more than that. I estimate and invoice on a project basis, and 29 years of professional experience tells me that most writing projects fall into typical price ranges. Within each range, smaller, simpler projects will settle to the lower end (or even, dare I say, a smidgen below it), and larger, more-complex ones will rise to the upper end.

That said, here's a rough guide to my copywriting rates and fees. Please bear in mind that I am reasonably flexible on pricing, and also have been known to bid less if a project sounds fun. So, for a tighter quote, feel free to now.

Advertising: $1,500-$1,800 per ad for concept and copy
Ad campaign (3 or more ads): $1,200-$1,500 per ad

Brochure copy, small (two- or three-panel): $800-$1,600
Brochure copy, full-size (two- or three-panel): $950-$2,500
Brochure copy, multi-page (up to 8 pages with cover): $1,800-$3,500
Brochure copy, large (8-16 pages with cover): $2,000-$4,500 and up
Brochure insert copy: $200-$1,000 each

Direct mailer copy: $1,500-$1,800 each for concept and copy
Direct mail postcard: $600-$950 each
Direct mail letter: $600-$1,200 each
Direct mail campaign: $600-$1,250 each based on three pieces

Copy editing: Hourly rate of $120/hour, with most jobs taking just 1-3 hours

Email copy: $600-$1,000 each
Email campaign (3 or more): $500-$800 each

Folder with three to five single-sheet inserts: $1,600-$3,500

Newsletter articles: $450-$1,250

Press release: $450-$800
Press release, with online distribution: $500-$950

Radio commercial: $1,500-$1,800 per spot for concept and copy
Radio campaign (3 or more): $1,200-$1,500 per spot

Sales letter or email copy: $600-$1,200 each

TV commercial: $1,500-$1,800 per spot for concept and copy
TV campaign (3 or more): $1,200-$1,500 per spot

Website copy: $150-$500 per webpage - most basic websites cost $950-$1,500, while larger, more content-rich websites cost $2,500-$4,500 and up

Web content (fresh content every month): $750-$950 per month, for at least six months - for details see my web content package

For a tighter quote, accommodating your specific needs and circumstances, please feel free to now!

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Great quotes about advertising and copywriting

Fred Allen
“An advertising agency is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission.”
Aristotle
Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”
Mary Kay Ash
“Those who are blessed with the most talent don't necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.”
“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.”
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’”
P.T. Barnum
“Advertising is like learning – a little is a dangerous thing. If a man has not the pluck to keep on advertising, all the money he has already spent is lost.”
Bruce Barton
“In good times, people want to advertise; in bad times, they have to”
“If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.”
Allan Beaver
“When you produce a piece of communication for a client – whether it’s a car, a soap, or anything – you’re not just competing against that industry alone, you’re competing against the whole world.”
Clyde Bedell
“The real advertising writer who is after results makes the reader want something – and then provides what the reader will consider a good excuse for buying it.”
William Bernbach
“Creativity is the most practical thing a businessman can employ.”
“An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent of the person who rubs against it.”
“Properly practiced creativity can lift your claims out of the swamp of sameness and make them accepted, believed, persuasive, urgent.”
“Let us prove to the world that good taste, good art, good writing can be good selling.”
“The heart of creativity is discipline.”
“The memorable never emerged from a formula.”
“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.”
“If your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is academic.”
“Execution isn’t a vehicle for delivering a selling message. It is a selling message.”
Napoleon Bonaparte
“There are two motives to action: self-interest and fear.”
Bill Borders
“There’s mass mediocrity in every business. The trouble is, in advertising the whole world sees it.”
Steuart H. Britt
“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.”
Charles Browder
“There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ and ‘hard sell.’ There is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell.’ ”
Warren Buffett
“A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.”
Jeremy Bullmore
“75% of the benefit of advertising, is that you advertise.”
Leo Burnett
“When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”
“If you can’t turn yourself into a consumer, you probably shouldn’t be in the advertising business at all.”
“Advertising says to people: Here’s what we’ve got, here’s what it will do for you, and here’s how to get it.”
“A good basic selling idea, involvement and relevancy, of course, are as important as ever, but in the advertising din of today, unless you make yourself noticed and believed, you ain’t got nothin’.”
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
Dale Carnegie
“People aren’t interested in you. They’re interested in themselves.”
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
Paddy Chayefsky
“The whole labor of writing is to make it look like it just came off the top of your head.”
G.K. Chesterton
“Dickens didn't write what people wanted; he wanted what people wanted.”
“There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.”
Jay Chiat
“Sometimes the most important job advertising can do, is to clarify the obvious.”
“Taking risks gives me energy.”
Walter P. Chrysler
“The real secret of success is enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
Lee Clow
“Most ideas are a bit scary, and if an idea isn’t scary it’s not an idea at all.”
Robert Collier
“We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.”
“Playing safe is probably the most unsafe thing in the world. You cannot stand still. You must go forward.”
“Any thought that is passed on to the subconscious often enough and convincingly enough is finally accepted.”
Fairfax Cone
“Advertising is what you do when you can’t go see somebody. That’s all it is.”
Joseph Conrad
“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word.”
Dr. W. Edwards Deming
“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.”
Theodore Dreiser
“How dismal is progress without publicity.”
“The passions are the only advocates which invariably persuade.”
Dave Droga
“At the end of the day, it’s still a battle between good vs. crap.”
Peter Drucker
“Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
Thomas A. Edison
“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”
“There are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”
Albert Einstein
“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”
Carly Fiorina
“A required change never has unanimity of support, and by the time it does, it’s usually too late.”
Bernice Fitz-Gibbon
“A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable.”
“No ad is ever sought out and read by anybody except the person who wrote it or the one who paid for it. It must cut across the reader’s complacency and rivet his attention.”
“A little bad makes the good believable.”
“Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?”
Henry Ford
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Paul Gauguin
“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
Carlos Ghosn
“We don't want to be something for everybody, we want to be everything for some people.”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
“A concept is stronger than a fact.”
Goethe
“Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to think of it again.”
Howard Gossage
“People don’t read advertising, they read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.”
“Advertising may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, but there’s some evidence that the fish don’t hold still as well as they used to and are developing armor plate. They have control over what type of ammo you have, when the trigger gets pulled, and how fast your shot moves. Oh, and they’re not all in the same barrel anymore.”
“I don’t know how to speak to everybody, only to somebody.”
Dan Heath
“Explaining makes for lousy marketing.”
John Hegarty
“The very basis of advertising is optimism.”
“Good ideas move brands toward people. Brilliant ideas move people toward brands.”
“The best advertising uses the simple power of reduction.”
“We are in danger of valuing most highly those things we can measure most accurately, which means we are often precisely wrong rather than approximately right.”
“It's not about putting the core idea across through the pages of a newspaper or on a TV advertisement – it's about the idea opening up in people's head. And it is about telling the truth – that's the best ad you can ever have.”
Katherine Hepburn
“If you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.”
Theodore Hesburgh
“You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
Claude Hopkins
“There is no such thing as an advertising genius. To be an average man, with an average viewpoint, is the first essential of success.”
“The good salesman does not merely cry a name. He doesn’t say ‘Buy my article.’ He pictures the customer’s side of his service until the natural result is to buy.”
“Nine laymen in ten judge an advertising campaign entirely by the pictures. Yet how rarely is anyone sold by them alone.”
“Any article, to succeed, must first be made distinctive.”
“The ad-writer is anonymous and should be.”
Morris Hite
“Advertising is salesmanship mass produced. No one would bother to use advertising if he could talk to all his prospects face-to-face. But he can’t.”
Lee Iacocca
“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits.”
William Ralph Inge
“Originality is undetected plagiarism.”
Thomas Jefferson
“Advertisements contain the only truth to be relied on in a newspaper.”
“The man who stops advertising to save money is the man who stops the clock to save time.”
Steve Jobs
“Creativity is just connecting things.”
Erica Jong
“If you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”
Linda Kaplan Thaler
“When you accept that you may fail, you can accomplish anything.”
John E. Kennedy
“Advertising is Salesmanship in Print.”
Milan Kundera
“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”
Ray Kroc
“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday.”
Estee Lauder
“If you don’t sell, it’s not the product that’s wrong, it’s you.”
Shelly Lazarus
“If you can go from a big idea to a big ideal; if you can tap into a cultural truth; if you can tap into something in which society is wildly interested in at the moment, you have a huge opportunity.”
Jay Conrad Levinson
“If you don’t believe in your product, or if you’re not consistent and regular in the way you promote it, the odds of succeeding go way down.”
Sinclair Lewis
“People will buy anything that is ‘one to a customer.’”
George Lois
“Creativity can solve almost any problem.”
Douglas MacArthur
“Defensive strategy has never produced ultimate victory.”
Harvey Mackay
“If you wish others to believe in you, you must first convince them that you believe in them.”
“Don't confuse visibility with credibility.”
“The sale begins when the customer says yes.”
Ed McCabe
“Imagination is one of the last remaining legal means you have to gain an unfair advantage over your competition.”
Tom McElligott
“Selling is an art of passion. When you’re passionate about an idea, it shows.”
Marshall McLuhan
“All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical.”
“The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.”
“Our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.”
Marilyn Monroe
“Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer.”
“Only the public can make a star. It’s the studios who try to make a ‘system’ out of it.”
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
Indra Nooyi
“Brands never die. You only stop reinventing them.”
David Ogilvy
“Every advertisement must be considered as a contribution to the complex symbol which is the brand image.”
“The manufacturers who dedicate their advertising to building the most favorable image, the most sharply defined personality for their brands, are the ones who will get the largest share of those markets at the highest profit – in the long run.”
“You cannot bore people into buying your product.”
“The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.”
“Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.”
“The trouble with market research is that people don't think how they feel, they don't say what they think, and they don't do what they say.”
George Orwell
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”
William Overgard
“In order to understand the ad business, you have to keep in mind that, like going to heaven, it's based on expectation.”
“(Advertising is) a good business to be in, because you only have to remember two words: ‘new’ and ‘better.’ Every piece of ad copy ever written has included a version of these two words.”
Harry Overstreet
“The secret of all true persuasion is to induce the person to persuade himself.”
Pablo Picasso
“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”
Shirley Polykoff
“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.”
“You can’t write anything while you’re depressed. You have to stimulate yourself, and I don’t mean liquor. That only makes you dopey.”
“You generate better when you think you’re gorgeous.”
“(I’m) just an articulate consumer in the client’s offices.”
John E. Powers
“Let’s try honesty.
Rosser Reeves
“The consumer tends to remember just one thing from advertising – one strong claim, or one strong concept.”
“You must make the product interesting, not just make the ad different. And that’s what too many of the copywriters in the U.S. today don’t yet understand.”
“What do you want from me? Fine writing? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?”
“Advertising is, actually, a simple phenomenon in terms of economics. It is merely a substitute for a personal sales force – an extension, if you will, of the merchant who cries aloud his wares.”
Phyllis K. Robinson
“First, you must know your product. You can't communicate excitement if you don't know it. It would be like telling somebody about a marvelous party you didn't go to.”
Virginia Rometty
“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
George P. Rowell
“The mystery of writing advertisements consists mainly in saying in a few plain words exactly what it is desired to say, precisely as it would be written in a letter or told to an acquaintance.”
Raymond Rubicam
“Resist the usual.”
“Mirror the reader to himself and then show him afterward how your product fits his needs.”
Esa Saarinen
“The opposite of creativity is cynicism.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
“It pays to advertise.”
Victor Schwab
Poor copy cannot overcome faults or gaps in dealer distribution; it cannot even cash in on the finest dealer setups. But good copy can, and does, surmount many dealer difficulties, making them secondary, and selling in spite of them.”
“Advertising is nothing but an expense (not an investment) unless it gets the kind of action desired by the advertiser.”
Joe Sedelmaier
“There’s no reason you can’t do a good commercial on a small budget. You’ve just got to think with the budget you’ve got.”
Daniel Starch
“The attention-value of an advertisement is approximately twice as important as the actual convincingness of the text itself.”
G. Lynn Sumner
“Nothing can take the place of copy for persuasion, for downright selling.”
Herbert Swope
“I cannot give the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure – which is to try to please everybody.”
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.”
Margaret Thatcher
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies. So it is something in which no one believes, and to which no one objects.”
Robert Townsend
“If you’re not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?”
Ted Turner
“Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise.”
Mark Twain
“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”
Walter Weir
“Advertising begins and ends with copy – begins with good copy, ends with bad.”
“It is always better to have a few people read your advertisement and buy your product than to have a lot of them read it and do nothing about it.”
Mary Wells Lawrence
“You can’t just be you. You have to double yourself. You have to read books on subjects you know nothing about. You have to travel to places you never thought of travelling. You have to meet every kind of person and endlessly stretch what you know.”
Meg Whitman
“For the past 20 years I had thought that great brands were features and functionality – you know, ‘whiter whites’ or ‘cleaner cleans’ – and if you can get the emotional connection then you have a huge winner on your hands.”
“Most of us can’t even begin to imagine.”
“We’ve always said that advertising is the icing on the cake. It isn’t the cake – but it’s necessary to complete the cake.”
“Communications is at the heart of e-commerce and community.”
Dan Wieden
“Chaos is the only thing that honestly wants you to grow.”
“What matters in finding an advertising theme is ‘What’s the truth here?’ The truth is the only thing that works for both the client and the reader.”
Helen Woodward
“In writing good advertising it is necessary to put a mood into words and to transfer that mood to the reader.”
Boris Yeltsin
“It is especially important to encourage unorthodox thinking when the situation is critical; at such moments every new word and fresh thought is more precious than gold.”
James Webb Young
“An idea is nothing more or less than a new combination of old elements.”