Streaming live at 10am (PST)

Working with copywriters as a designer

I have been using a friend of mine for professional copywriting on sites that require one and have just been paying him as freelance. Recently I mentioned that I was going to send some proposals to companies I’ve come across with terrible websites and he asked about doing it as a team…50/50.

I was wondering how other freelance designers work/pay for copywriting. I really prefer not to do copywriting myself so I either require the customer to provide it or pay extra to have it written. Is this how others work? To me, it seems like I’d lose money doing it as a team - especially since I would want to be the one doing the interviewing and contacting with the client

Hi Natalie, I truly think you have a very healthy reasoning here. I think as much as designers grow, age, mature, as much they’re realizing just that. And not only about copy writing:

  • about everything they’re not an expert at
  • about everything that’s not going to make them a better designer
  • about everything that’s time consuming and prevent them to make a website stand out

So that’s about copy writing, SEO tasks and strategies, assets and data management, arts and illustrations, films and photography, custom code development.

As a freelance designer, you’re most likely going the one to be approached for a project, so you already are a project manager/producer. Now it’s your duty to understand the ambition of a project, and list all those things you’re not an expert at (see list above).

For each of those things, tell you client they have the choice: handling that themselves (it can be preparing a lentghy, complicated data table for CMS import, copy writing, sourcing or producing images etc…) or let you manage it through an expert of yours. So you gotta have your list of experts.

And you’ll probably see how this messages is well understood, especially if you know how to sell those people. You can make more promises about what you’re going to deliver as a team, about the quality of what you’re going to deliver.

And that will make your job easier: you’ll get great recommandations from the SEO expert on the structure to put in place, you’ll work with great custom code from the developer, you’ll have custom tailored copy, and beautiful, unique, custom illustrations that you can asked to be layered (for example) to use along with Webflow interactions.

All of this makes sens and is the start of a virtuous circle that will make your projects better, and you pride of yourself.


Yes, I completely agree with all you wrote. Thanks for such a detailed response! It helps reinforce my original thoughts.

I believe the minimum wage payment requirement is for employees in companies. It does not apply to independent contractors.

Sorry to chime in, but I’ve done copy writing on a per document basis. That makes more sense to pay him by that. For example, we would receive a 2 page document that need adjusting. So the comp was $10 per page. It’s super easy to sell and doesn’t leave both parties hanging because there was time frame for the milestone to be completed when she received the initial plan. So handing over a page could be done in the beginning, middle or whenever needed. As long as, the phase 1 package was completed by “X” date. Never needed to deal with the company, just the project manager. Edits can be done by you. This allows for solid cost estimates, and the budget was never in question. I’d go per page.

Then you can work with him on the expected time. Give it early enough so he doesn’t rush. Explain the milestone for you, which can be 1 week earlier than the client’s. If he has a time management weakness, find someone else with the same parameters.

Hope this helps.