The average writing agency normally charges a per page, per word or an hourly rate. Depending on how established the company is and the quality of the content they can create, prices can range widely. The average white paper costs about $4,200, and can reach up to $7,000 if the writers have specific niche knowledge of the subject.1
To determine the value of this type of content, one would need to know what the content is for and what its purpose and value would be to the company. A white paper designed to market a product or service worth $10,000 or more has an obvious ROI if even one subsequent sale is made. Similarly, one could develop shorter content, such as blogs and one-pagers that would cost less, but may not lead directly to a sale. Short-form content is still useful for generating leads and repeat site visits, although it cannot build the same authority that results from an effective long-form content strategy.
BKA Content, an industry-leading content creation company, published an article in 2017 breaking down the cost between third-party and in-house writing departments. If a company needs to produce thirty pieces of content per month, each containing 500 words, with the average writing speed mentioned above, this company would only need to have one writer on staff.
The first month’s cost of hiring a writer involves five main parts: Wages total $4,165 along with benefits and payroll taxes, amounting to an additional $2,145. Also, hiring and equipment costs run about $6,800, bringing us to $13,111 for the first month. Subsequent months would not incur hiring and equipment costs, reducing monthly expenses to $6,311. For one year, the total cost is $82,526. By working with a third-party service, these can be batched together and completed in a much shorter amount of time, reducing the cost significantly and removing the need for a year-round employee.2
That is not to say that there are not benefits of having a salaried writer. An in-house editorial team can easily maintain a consistent writing style across all content formats. Also, considering the writer would be working on premises, communication regarding content changes and edits is simplified. The question, though, is to what degree these benefits mitigate the various disadvantages discussed above.
1“How Much? For a White Paper?!” https://demodia.com/discovering-demand/cost-of-a-white-paper
2Matt Secrist, “Outsourcing vs. In-House Content Creation – A True Cost Comparison” June 28th 2017, https://www.bkacontent.com/outsourcing-vs-in-house-writing/