Ready to share your company’s expertise, establish yourself as a credible authority, and boost your sales and leads?
Then you’re ready to create a white paper.
But how much does a white paper cost?
You can expect to pay between $1,000-$12,000. But that range doesn’t tell you much by itself. A lot of factors determine your particular white paper price.
In our last post we broke down how to create a white paper from scratch, but now we’ll breakdown the cost of hiring professionals.
We’ll examine the elements that affect your white paper’s price as well as the different pricing models. We’ll also have a look at your white paper design options.
A detailed project brief can dramatically impact the price of your white paper.
When done well, the project brief defines the target audience, the messaging, structure, and provides the majority of research from which the writer will cite.
A well-defined project brief allows your white paper writer to work far more effectively and efficiently.
The more research a white paper writer has to do, the greater the cost of your white paper. If they must spend three hours researching for every hour they write, it’s easy for costs to spiral upward.
This is why a thorough project brief can be so helpful. If you can save your writer from having to dig through journals, reports, and other sources to find information, then they can spend most of their time writing.
The tradeoff is that collecting your own research will require a lot more of your time upfront, but this can be trivial if you already have an excellent grasp of the topic and supporting materials.
Speaking with domain experts is a good, simple way to gather original information and relevant quotes. However, if the writer must organize, conduct, and record interviews on their own, it will be reflected in your white paper’s price.
Since interviews are fundamentally different from the kind of research mentioned above, you will often pay a premium here.
It should come as no surprise that having a subject matter expert write your white paper will cost far more than a novice.
A beginner will lack the developed network, experience, and domain expertise that a seasoned veteran in your industry might enjoy.
A former practicing lawyer, for example, would charge much higher rates for legal writing because their education and experience will produce a higher-quality white paper that requires few revisions.
If you need help in your search, check out our article about finding the perfect white paper writer.
If you require a fast turnaround time to meet a deadline, you will pay a premium. This is known as a “rush fee.”
You are essentially paying to jump to the front of the line in the writer’s work queue. Generally, the stronger the reputation and client base of your writer, the pricier their rush fees will be.
White paper writers often charge for revisions/edits, sometimes at prices higher than their standard rate. Some will offer a limited number of free revisions, beyond which their rate will jump dramatically.
Make sure the terms regarding revisions are clearly established from the outset.
Of all the white paper pricing factors, you usually have the least amount of control over the revisions/edits needed. It will largely depend on the quality and experience of your writer.
There are a variety of ways white paper writers charge for their time. Here are some of the most common models that will determine your white paper’s cost:
Per Hour: writers track their time and invoice you for every hour of work.
Per Day: also known as “day rates,” these are charged based on the value of a writer’s full working day.
Per Word: you are charged for every word written in the rough draft as well as any revisions that result in the final draft.
Per Page: you are charged for each page of your white paper. This is usually calculated assuming a certain number of words per page.
Per Project: the writer calculates the cost of the entire job and offers one all-inclusive fee.
Every writer is different, so make sure the terms of your working relationship are clearly defined to avoid any nasty surprise costs.
The design of your white paper is almost always going to be a separate process from the writing. As such, it has its own associated costs.
You have two main options for getting your white paper designed:
If you have a solid idea of how you want your white paper to look, then working with a freelance graphic designer will allow you to exercise a lot of control over the branding of your white paper.
It may be difficult to find a designer with relevant white paper design experience, so it’s imperative that you’re able to guide them to a polished end product with your own vision. Otherwise, the result may be lackluster or lacking the professional polish to be taken seriously.
This is a specialized service dedicated to the design of white papers. So, it has the advantage of a dedicated team highly experienced with effective white paper design principles. However, just like with a writer, that experience and expertise comes at a premium.
As you can see, there are quite a few factors that impact your white paper price range. That makes it tricky to estimate the range of a white paper’s cost, let alone an average value.
However, if we had to guess, we’d say the average white paper, with average levels of experience and expertise, costs about $6,000. Adjusting the pricing factors, pricing model, or design approach can quickly drive that price up or down. Your goal should be to achieve the recommended white paper best practices while adjusting these levers according to your needs.
So, use this article to keep in mind all the things that affect the price of your white paper, as it will directly affect your wallet!