Why Hire Freelance Writers in the Age of AI? How Much Should You Pay Them?

freelance writers

The Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines has released a rate guide to address the lack of standardized fees as AI continues to threaten the livelihood of writers.

Data shows that there are approximately 1.5 million freelancers in the Philippines today. Instead of working for a company full-time, these freelancers have the option to entertain as many clients as they wish. It may sound like an ideal type of work, but it does have its share of problems. Freelance writers, in particular, often encounter challenges when charging clients. This is primarily because of the lack of standardized fees. But with the widespread adoption of AI, the challenges have rapidly become a threat to their livelihood.

Why? As one business owner puts it, “I’ve never hired a writer better than ChatGPT.”

Companies seeking to outsource creative work can, instead, opt to use ChatGPT, in effect making freelance creative fees a race to zero. To complicate matters further, there is also no guarantee that freelancers will not use AI themselves. And yet, given the challenges that freelance writers face, why is it still advantageous for businesses to still hire them?

Journalistic Integrity

Even as AI continues to amaze, it is important to note that AI is not perfect.

While proponents of AI point out that quality will only improve over time, there are instances where AI, particularly ChatGPT, has generated wrong answers. Even with improved quality, AI’s relationship to verifiable truth is shaky at best. OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, has even admitted that “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”

Bias is also something that has been seen in the answers generated by ChatGPT. As an article by Make Use Of notes, “ChatGPT has been shown to produce some terrible answers that discriminate against gender, race, and minority groups, which the company is trying to mitigate.”

These shortcomings of AI are a problem, especially when it comes to having accurate, factually correct content. These highlight the advantages of hiring writers despite the rise of AI. In particular, writers have journalistic integrity, a set of ethics and standards that dictate their behavior. Journalists, for example, should only make statements from verified sources, from authorities, or from interviews they have conducted themselves. In addition, journalists operate on reputation: the industry rewards trustworthy journalists and swiftly ostracizes journalists with unethical behavior like plagiarism.

In large language models like ChatGPT, the source of answers is a “black box” that users and developers mostly cannot look into. And this is because, by definition, ChatGPT was created to reproduce language patterns, not provide factual answers.

Rate Guide for Freelance Writers

While hiring writers instead of choosing AI will undoubtedly help the livelihood of freelancers, there is also the problem of freelance rates.

In response to the problem, the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) has released a rate guide for freelance writers in the country. According to the FWGP, it “has come up with a guide to give freelance writers a basis for costing their work.” 

“These rates are based on previous surveys, current average market rates, and input from some of FWGP’s members, many of whom are long-time freelance writers and editors,” it adds.

The FWGP rate guide: 

AVERAGEHIGH
Content/Article/Blog PostPHP 2.97 per wordPHP 25 per word
Web CopyPHP 300 per pagePHP 5,250 per page
Landing Page/EmailPHP 8,500PHP 28,000
Press ReleasePHP 3 per wordPHP 7 per word
Print AdPHP 10,000PHP 30,000
Sales Letter/PagePHP 28,000PHP 57,000
GhostwritingPHP 3 per wordPHP 7 per word
Translation PHP 5 per wordPHP 13 per word
SpeechPHP 3 per word
Infographic (idea and copy)PHP 15,000

FWGP also released a rate guide for social media copy. The rates for social media-related copy are as follows: 

AVERAGEHIGH
Facebook Post or CaptionPHP 1,000PHP 2,800
Facebook AdPHP 2,800PHP 8,500
Social Media CampaignPHP 20,000 per monthPHP 50,000 per month

The rate for social media campaigns includes four to five posts, analytics, market research, ad management, and graphic design. 

A rate guide has likewise been provided for scriptwriting.

AVERAGEHIGH
AVP for a one to 10-minute scriptPHP 5,000PHP 25,000
TV for a one to two-minute scriptPHP 5,000PHP 15,000
EventPHP 30,000PHP 40,000

For the complete rate guide, you can find it here.

Why Clients, Freelancers Alike Should Abide

In its announcement, FWGP highlights how some freelance writers agree to very low compensation just to get a project. 

“This automatically lowers the bar for freelance writers’ compensation and is essentially seen as very damaging to the community and industry, in general,” says FWGP. “The sad reality? Writers who charge rates that are fair will lose projects to those who accept contracts for a pittance.” 

With the release of the rate guide for freelance writers, there is now a standard that the industry can follow. The rate guide protects freelance writers, but this can only happen if everyone in the industry uses the same rates. 

Paying freelance writers a fair amount is a sign of respect for the value of their work. Clients should keep in mind that they are paying for the writers’ names—their journalistic integrity—which they will not get from AI.