Every business needs content. Whether you create it in-house or outsource it to third-party professionals, content costs money.

But how much should you realistically pay?

Understanding how an article writing service sets its prices can help you budget a practical amount for your content-generating needs.

Bare Bones Article Writing Services

Some writing services deliver articles and nothing else. You don’t get edits, images, or detailed specifications. You might not receive topic approval in advance or extras like sources and fact-checking. This means you’ll have to publish the article as-is or add those extras to the content before it goes live.

These articles might cost as little as $5 each, but what do you get for such a minimal investment?

Online articles at this price point will likely feature regurgitated content, no distribution assistance, minimal or non-existent search engine optimization (SEO), and poor readability. In other words, you’re paying for content that likely won’t produce any significant ROI (return on investment).

Adding Value to Articles

Good writers should cost more than subpar ones.

Good writers who care about their content conduct research and create original, useful content.

If you’re looking for more value in your content, you’ll want to look for more reputable article writing services. These companies provide value-added extras that improve quality control and allow you to use the content the moment it’s delivered, whether you’re posting it on your blog or emailing it to your list.

For a basic article writing service, the sweet spot lies at around $99 per article.

At this price point, you can expect grammatically-sound, well-researched, SEO-friendly articles that your audience will want to share. Typically, an article costing $99 will be between 400 and 500 words and will feature sources, engaging language, and other benefits. Additionally, many of these articles will have gone through at least one level of quality control before you ever see them.

Gaining Extra Services

Some article writing services offer different tiers of content depending on what services you want to receive.

For instance, you might order articles on a per-piece basis as in the previous two examples, or you might pay a monthly fee for the articles as well as other services, such as promotion, content marketing consulting, automated publishing, and other features.

full content marketing service is the ideal strategy if you want to leave your content needs in the hands of the pros. They will take over the heavy lifting so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Overpaying for Article Writing Services

It’s important to balance excellent content with reasonable prices. If you overpay, you substantially reduce your ROI, which can negatively impact your business.

You can break down the cost of the content by the word. For instance, if a 500-word article costs $99, you’re paying $0.198 per word. Conversely, if you pay $5 for the same article, you’re only paying $0.01 per word, and if the article costs $500, you’re paying $1 per word.

When you go for the latter choice, your article will need to generate a significant number of conversions for the investment to pay off. If you think the content can attract new customers and convince them to buy your product or invest in your service, you might still generate positive ROI. This is especially true if the service adds other features, such as content promotion, that go above and beyond the content itself. However, you’ll want to vet the article writing service before you sign on the dotted line.

The costs for article writing services can vary widely. Knowing what to expect will help you make an informed decision. If you’re in need of high-quality, affordable articles, download our ebook: 10 Content Marketing Companies Compared.