How long does it take to write a blog post? One that “moves the needle.”

Value of a Blog post

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When it comes to writing blog posts, most people want to know three things: 1) How long should it be (how many words)? 2) How often should I post? and 3) How much should I pay?

However, the better question you should ask, the one that helps you answer these questions is: How long does it take to write a blog post?

Ultimately, business owners want to know how much they have to invest in content marketing. Content marketing is an investment, not an expense.

To understand the value of something, there are multiple things to consider. For one, how valuable is the world of writing, of content?

Is it worth $25 per article? Is it worth $.05 per word?

I can’t tell you what you need to pay, but I do like to talk about the value of an article in terms of time.

Most people can understand and relate to that.

So today, we are going to talk about the time it takes to write an article that “moves the needle” in your marketing efforts.

Moving needles and changing the world

Planet Earth
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

It seems like every time we want to make a change, the first thing we do is sit down and get our thoughts on paper. Often they turn into a manifesto, a mission, a purpose.

That comes from words.

Then, we employ principles of persuasion.

Words have the power to create change.

To be honest, it is not the words on the paper that does it, but it is the message, and, yes, the story you tell.

It changes the world. It “moves the needle.” It helps you close the sale.

There are two ways that content helps “move the needle:” 1) search engine results; 2) moving a prospect closer to the sale.

Content that skillfully does this is worth more than its “weight in gold.”

I can remember about 12 years ago when Content Marketing started being a thing for some companies. All that really mattered at that time was posting blog posts.

The posts didn’t have to be super complex, super deep, or super long even. Many skillful writers could whip up a 400-600 word article pretty quickly. And that did the trick. Google noticed activity on your site and it boosted your links higher in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

As with all things, content marketing evolved, largely because of Google and SEO. Google started rewarding other kinds of content.

People always try to game the system and content marketing, often, is changed on how Google makes changes. However, used right, you can write articles that move users closer to your sale.

Suddenly, everyone is writing articles that go past 2K and even 3K words. But that doesn’t always mean they are good articles because many of us know how to stuff words into an article to make it longer. The better skill is to know when to remove words and make them read better.

Time to write depends on the article

Screenshot: poststatus.com/salary-transparency-why-not
Screenshot: poststatus.com/salary-transparency-why-not

Few people talk about it, but some articles are just written faster. That doesn’t mean they are bad articles. In fact, often, they are better articles because they are more focused and come from a place of internal strife.

We have always written what I call “opinion posts.” These articles where we have an opinion about something controversial or a hot button issue and we sit down and write. Often we put that out in just a short period of time.

It is focused; it is tight, and it is forceful. There is nothing wrong with those articles. Newsy articles also are quicker to write, but can be important nonetheless!

Often these articles have as big of an impact.

Other articles are very thorough.

For example, recently Piccia Neri wrote an article on salary transparency for Post Status. It was very thorough.

I can only imagine how much time she put into that based on the amount of topics she covered.

Not only did she cover many topics, but she also addressed objections to her argument. This article is a hybrid of the opinion plus thoroughly vetting the various points.

I have taken blog writing courses and training over the years, and when you peek behind the veil, you will be amazed at the standards and how intense they are.

I peeked behind the veil of how Copyhackers do authority articles and let’s just say; it is a pretty massive undertaking. If you write for what humans want to read, you can make a great impact on your rankings.

Yet, much of Copyhackers’ content hits top search key phrases for their product and their brand.

The bottom line, we need to move from the idea of simple, opinion blog posts to the idea of well researched and vetted articles, authority articles to gain greater results.

I’m not advocating spending 20 hours on a blog post, but I know a WordPress Website Care Consultant who tells me he has easily spent 10 hours on a blog post that did well for him.

If you intend to write an article that makes an impact, especially in search engine results, there will be a need to consider the value of such an article.

Now that we have considered the value of articles…

I have a tendency to call blog posts articles. There is a reason for this. I want people to understand that they take time, focus, and skill to write.

In this increasingly fast-paced world, it is hard to find time to dump into a good article.

And you, as a business owner, are no different. You are doing things left and right, building websites, updating and supporting, and you are doing other services for your agency.

When do you have time to write an article? When do you have time to spend 10 hours on an article?

A skilled writer can reduce time with the help of technology, but there is only so much technology can do. The best part of the writer’s skills is his or her thinking, writing, and ability to create original thoughts.

I call it the REO Framework. R is for relevant, E is for engaging and O is for original.

I can’t tell you how much to pay a writer, but I can show you the value. Obviously, much of it has to do with your budget and your needs.

You know, the most obvious answer is “depends.”

Good writers cost much more than 5 cents per word. You will probably start at $.25 per word, and some quality content writers charge by the project.

By the way, if you are using skilled writers, they likely understand content strategy as well or better than you do.

So how long does it take for a content writer to write an article?

Screenshot: www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogging-statistics
Screenshot: www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogging-statistics

How long does it take to write an article?

The problem with the question of how long it takes to write an article is that it depends on a lot of things including the research period, the editing, the outlining, and even the writer. It also depends on the type and length of the article you are writing.

However, Orbit Media does a survey every year of professional writers.

The average time to write an article according to the survey went from 2 hours and 24 minutes in 2014 to 4 hours and 10 minutes in 2022.

In case you are wondering, the average length in 2014 was 808 words and the average in 2022 is 1376 words.

You can bet, if you are writing a good article that is 1200-1500 words, that it will probably take at least 4 hours to write.

How much should you pay for that article? Depends.

Your content writer may charge based on hours, words, or some kind of flat rate.

If the writer knows he or she will spend at least 5 hours on the article, and they make $100 per hour, then you are looking at about $500.

If the writer charges by the word at $.25 per word, then you are looking at a minimum of $300. Expect to pay in the minimum of $200-300 for a long form (1200-1500 words) article.

Your writer may consider a small discount for multiple articles or monthly production.

Wrapping it up

Often we quantify the cost of something based on time. Of course, there are other factors and many use value in terms of return on investment to measure the value.

Consider carefully that a quality article will cost you at least 4 hours of time to write. How much is 4 hours worth to you?

Do you consider your blog posts an investment or a necessary evil?

How long do you spend writing more authority articles for your company? Let us know in the MainWP Users Facebook Group.

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys