Interesting question, because there’s no cut-and dry answer. The closest thing I can come up with for a blanket statement answer to the question is this:
Copywriting is worth the value of success.
In other words, whatever success means to you and your business, whether it be increased recognition, improved brand awareness, more leads, higher conversion rate, more paying customers, better customer retention and loyalty, whatever… high quality copy can make that success a reality.
Now, of course, this is based on the assumption that the other necessary factors for success are already in place: your product or service is top-notch, you’re competitive in your marketplace, your customer service is stellar, and you’re willing to invest in distributing the information a copywriter creates in an effective manner.
As you can see, there are a lot of “ifs” in this equation.
But that’s just how business is. Especially in a crazy and difficult economy like we’re experiencing right now, any or all of these factors can be under the money crunch, and some factors might be slipping. Unfortunately, this kind of economy has one of two negative impacts on the perceived value of high quality copy and the writers who provide it:
First, many businesses look at their dwindling budgets and decide now is the time to huddle up and cut the marketing budget to save precious cash. When this happens, unfortunately, copywriters are often among the first “cuts” made. This is because of the misconception that “anyone can write” whatever needs to be written, so the business owner, or some employee with a modicom of writing skill is tapped to take over and do the best they can for free.
Or, in other cases, a copywriter is still hired, but some of the other factors are hurt or even eliminated to save money, resulting eventually in poor results from the marketing efforts, which (for right or for wrong) gets blamed on the copy and the copywriter.
In both these instances, the business is missing a very important point about copywriting: a high-quality professional copywriter can mean the difference between a marketing message that falls flat and a marketing message that reels in non-stop profit. But, in the end, he or she is only one small (albeit important) piece of the whole puzzle.
Does the business profit by giving up on a copywriter in favor of handling the writing work themselves? Probably not. They may save themselves the cost of the copywriter’s fee, but how much is it costing in the long-run to have copy that is less effective than it could be? Or how much are they spending in time by having another employee handle the writing when they should be doing other things, and will probably take longer to write the copy than a professional copywriter would?
These questions are tough for them to answer, because it’s usually difficult if not impossible to measure the results. A campaign could fail with the copywriter on board, so when it fails after the copywriter leaves, do they blame it on their decision? Probably not.
But this brings us back to the question at hand: What is copywriting worth?
It’s tough to say. But mark my words: Good quality copywriting, and a professional copywriter who “gets it” quickly and efficiently, and can turn around stellar copy within budget and by the deadline, is worth far more in revenue and peace-of-mind than any copywriter would ever charge you.
I guarantee that if you experience the incredible effect high-quality copy can have on your business, you’ll understand what I mean.