How long does it take to write a…

August 23, 2023


The most popular copywriting question I’m asked is, “How much does copywriting cost?” The second most popular question clients and colleagues ask me is, “How long does it take to you write a…

  • blog
  • email
  • website
  • web page
  • sales page?”

A project that involves copywriting requires planning. Usually it’s just one slice of the project pizza that has to line up with other deliveries from a designer and/or developer, as well as fitting in with the proposed project deadline.

If you’ve never worked with a copywriter before then it can be hard—and sometimes surprising—to learn how long it takes to turn a piece of copy around. This can make planning your project difficult, or set you back a week or more. ​

Time tracking to help you, and me

Two years into my business, I started using the time tracking tool, Toggl. I reached a point where I needed to understand how long it was taking to complete different copywriting tasks. This would (and has) made it easier for me to plan my time, say “yes” to more client projects, and answer the client’s burning question: “How long, Rose?”

When someone first contacts me, they tell me a bit about their project and the copy they need. I can then reply confirming my availability. It’s not uncommon for me to be booked out 1-2 months ahead of someone’s ideal start date. And that can come as a shock. They were expecting availability and a project start date in a day or two from first contact, or at most, a week.

Speaking with my copywriting colleagues confirms that their lead times are similar. The shortest was 2 weeks and the longest 8 weeks. Having an awareness of a copywriter’s lead time is useful. I understand that it’s disappointing to hear that the copywriter you’ve spent ages searching for is unavailable. This is why I’m sharing the time tracking insights I’ve been building up since 2019, so it’s easier for you to:


  • plan your project timeline
  • contact your preferred writer and get on their books
  • avoid that crushing feeling of disappointment if they’re not available.

There’s more to a project than the writing

When I started my career as a journalist in 2009, it didn’t take long to twig that sitting and writing was the quickest part of the job. Organising, researching, and planning an article took the lion’s share of my time. This increased when I went freelance.

Today, as a freelance copywriter and business owner I manage the client relationship and project admin, as well as writing the copy. If I were working in an agency (or you were looking to hire one), this wouldn’t be the case. An agency would have a dedicated client manager. In-house agency copywriters only really have to focus on turning out the copy.

Project time when working with me, accounts for:


  • briefing sessions (between 20 and 90 mins)
  • project meetings/work in progress updates
  • contract and invoice creation
  • setting up the shared work space
  • managing the copy drafts and editing process.

And then there’s the writing

Writing copy is done in stages. It’s rarely ever a case of get the brief, write the copy, and it’s signed off. (I’ve only encountered this when collaborating with a marketing agency.)

Here’s what happens after my clients and I have completed the copywriting brief.

Stage 1: Create a skeleton draft. This is a rough, dot-pointed outline of the article or page content so the client can:

  • get a feel for the structure
  • see what topics and points I’ll cover
  • confirm what they want the call to action to be.

The client reviews the skeleton draft, asking me to add anything they think I’ve missed, and then give me the nod to start writing.

Note: It’s rare that facts, figures, and quotes are included in a skeleton draft. Instead, I’ll put placeholder notes that look like this:

Only [NUMBER]% of Americans get married on a Wednesday. (Rose to find stat.)

Researching stats and facts from reliable sources take time. It’s counterintuitive to spend ages on this in case the client says the stats not relevant or they’d rather not take that angle.

Step 2: Research and finding sources. First draft information gathering takes roughly 2 hours. But it can take more. If the piece needs original quotes from interviewees, I need to:

  • find someone suitable,
  • set up a time to talk,
  • put questions together,
  • run the interview,
  • listen back and transcribe the interview,
  • and then pick out sections I’m likely to use in the first draft.

How I research depends on what I’m writing, as I explain in Sharing my copywriting research techniques.

Step 3: Writing the first draft. A fair bit of project time has already been racked up by now but that’s okay. Writing first drafts is hard and having done the ground work of detailed brief, skeleton draft, and research, I’m well prepared to smash out the writing. It takes away a lot of the fear of the blank page.

Step 4: First draft submission, amends, and second draft creation. The first draft is sent to the client and I ask they sit with the copy for a few days but try to get feedback to me within a week so the project doesn’t lose momentum. If they’ve never worked with a writer before, I ask that the client takes a moment to understand how to provide useful feedback to a copywriter, so I can then take their suggested amendments and create a second draft that’s closer to what they want.

Step 5: Second draft submission, amends, and third/final draft creation. This follows the same process as step four. It’s rare a project goes beyond two rounds of editing, so the third draft becomes the final draft which is sent to my editor.

Step 6: Final proofread and edit. After hours of looking at and rereading a piece of copy, my eyes can become blind to mistakes. To make sure my clients are getting the best copy possible, I always send their work to one of the fantastic editors I collaborate with. They go through the piece with their eagle eyes, making suggestions and changes.



When the editor tells me they’re done, I work through their changes and then this becomes the ultimate final draft which is ready for the client to publish

As you can see the writing process has many parts, with the project as a whole having even more. When you’re working with a freelance copywriter, it’s rare you’ll ever just have the copy. They’ll be managing your whole copy project, too.

What affects how long a project takes?

Following a step-by-step process gets my clients the copy they want as quickly as possible. This has been refined over more than a decade of work experience. But even with slick processes, there are things that can affect how long a project takes.

For example, the complexity of a project will slow down copy creation. Added complications might be:

  • the subject matter
  • advertising laws
  • character counts
  • the number of people reviewing the copy.

All of these can be overcome. They’re not big issues. They’re just time consuming.

The business owner’s brand, audience, and messaging knowledge is another factor. These are all important things I need to know in order to write the copy that’s wanted. Clients who can answer questions on these during our briefing session will, generally, get their copy back sooner.

For those who don’t have this information, we’ll work through it until I feel I have enough information to start writing. Generally, this is covered during the briefing session. I’ll keep probing until I’ve got what I need. And ​sometimes I’ll ask for any links to reviews or for the opportunity to speak with previous clients. All of this puts me on the right writing track. But does add hours to a project.

Finally, whether I’ve worked with you before or not will also affect how long the project takes. Getting to know a new client means I have more questions. There’s also more to think about as we’re generally creating things like tone of voice and writing style as we go.

When it comes to writing, I’m a lot slower. Everything is more carefully considered. But once you’ve been my client for a while, or we’ve worked on multiple projects together, I’ll have a better feel for what you like and don’t like in your copy based on your previous feedback. Turning copy around for a client I know is generally much simpler, and therefore faster. (Although I’ll share some data later which contradicts this.)

Hours spread over days and weeks

I’m going to share my time tracking with you so you have some insight into how long it takes to write different types of (mainly) digital media. But I need to emphasise something massive.

The time shown rarely happens in one hit. A project that takes six hours is never wrapped in one working day. Rather, the time is spread over two, possibly four days. This allows for feedback time, amendments and redrafting, and editing time.

Context is everything when it comes to understanding how long it takes to write a blog, website, or sales email (or newsletter). And now I’ve shown you that, let’s actually dig into some time tracking, starting with blogs.​

How long does it take to write a blog?

The majority of my month-to-month workload is writing blogs. At the time of writing this article, I’m tapping my way through 30 different client blogs, with another six on the way. Suffice to say, it’s been vital for me to track how long it takes me to write a blog so that I can deliver services that work for my clients and keeps it a sustainable part of my business.

Currently, I offer business blog packages in blocks of 6 and 12 for new clients, then in blocks of 3, 6 or 12 for repeat clients.

Writing half a dozen 800-2,000 word blogs takes between 30 and 53 hours.

I don’t currently have reliable figures for how long it takes to turn around a 12 blog project. I’ve only completed a couple of these services, and each time I’ve sub-contracted articles to other writers. Their time isn’t included in my time log.

What I can see is that even with the help of other writers creating the first draft, I spent roughly 42 hours working on a 12 blog project. This was a mix of project management, admin, and writing some of the blogs myself.

How time is allocated during a blog project

Looking at the last three Half Dozen blog projects, here’s how the total project time breaks down. Below the table is a quick description of how the time is tracked for each part of the project.


Emails and admin – This begins when the business has verbally agreed to be my client and accepted my proposal. Writing up the Statement of Work, invoicing, and weekly project update emails all goes into this. Along with setting up our shared work space.

Briefs and outlines – This includes our on call briefing session, time spent finding ideas to pitch during that session, and once the client and I have decided on the blog topics to be included in the block, it’s writing out the more detailed briefs.

Fastest blog to write – The article in the block which took me the least amount of time to write. This time is tracked from writing the first draft through to final signed off version.

Slowest blog to write – The article in the block which took me the longest amount of time to write. This time is tracked from writing the first draft through to final signed off version.

Average time per blog – This time begins when I actually sit down and write the first draft and ends when I have implemented edits from my proofreader and the article is fully signed off. Spending time researching and finding the facts, sources and data I proposed in the detailed outline happens during this time. The average time it takes to write one article in the block.

How long does it take to write an email newsletter?

At the moment, there’s only one client that I write a monthly newsletter for. It’s a very formulaic newsletter with sections that are repeated every month and we try to keep it short and sweet. (They’re a dental practice and, if we’re being honest, how many people want to spend a lot of time reading an email from their dentist?)

Each newsletter works out at around 600 words. The process involves:

  • planning the newsletter content (and working with the client to confirm what they want in it)
  • writing two email subject lines
  • writing an introduction
  • writing the main body of the email
  • requesting images
  • version control management
  • up to two rounds of revisions (rarely needed these days)
  • sending to editor for final proofread and polish, and implementing their changes.

All up, this takes between one and two hours to get from initial ideas to final copy.

The only other email newsletter I write is my own. And I’ve only been consistently tracking my time for that since the start of 2023. But I can see that writing my own newsletters takes 1 – 1.5 hours each month.

My own newsletters are more copy heavy than the one I write for my client but I think what helps keep the time down is that I repurpose content I’ve written elsewhere. For example, I’ll include social media posts I’ve published earlier in the month.

How long does it take to write website copy?

Buckle in folks because this is where it’s going to start getting wishy-washy. Attaching a single time to writing copy for a website is impossible. There are too many variables. For example, the number of pages needed, the page content (product, service, home, about), time needed for revisions, the number of people reviewing the copy, and assets available to inform and influence the copy are just some of the factors that will affect writing time.

So how do I tackle this? Well, I can only share the data I have to give you a steer. And I try to keep my website copywriting services packaged.

Writing 300 words of site copy

Sometimes a client only needs one page of website copy, usually their home or about page. For this, I offer my Tasting Paddle service, which gives the client 300-words of website copy, some briefing time with me, one round of amends and I’ll offer notes on style and tone.

It takes me an average of 6.6 hours to turn around that one page of copy.

Time is tracked from the time I create and send the Statement of Work through to the uploading of the final draft in our shared work space. Generally these projects are always for new clients who I’m getting to know.

Bigger website projects

Because there are so many variables when it comes to bigger website projects, the fairest way to present it is by giving a snapshot of some of my website projects over the last 2-3 years. I’ll list the number of pages, time taken and some project context.

Client Number of pages Time taken (hours) Comments
Client A 4 18 A repeat client. I’d written two pieces of online ad copy for them ahead of this project.
Client B 3 19 New client.
Client C 3 21 New client.
Client D 3 12 A repeat client and wanted very few changes. Made final draft amends in house.
Client E 8 17 New client but made very few amends to drafts. Some pages were very short only needing an intro paragraph.
Client F 3 24 New client. They weren’t totally sure what they wanted.
Client G 11 59 New client. Page creation for SEO purposes, so long copy that hit necessary keywords to improve overall site ranking.
Client H 6 32 New client.
Client I 3 24 Repeat client who was repositioning/rebranding.
Client J 1 3 Repeat client. A single page full of team profiles, so real quick and easy.


At the time I was collecting this data, my three-page website package was the most popular of my site copywriting services. Look at this, it surprises even me that I was able to turn one of those projects around in as little as 12 hours. Goes to show, that finding a copywriter you like working with repeatedly allows them to get to know your business, so projects can be turned around much quicker.

​How long does it take to find and book a copywriter?

I’ve shared a lot of information here about how copywriting projects break down in time. The hope is that by seeing it all laid out like this will help you think about when is the right time to start looking for and commissioning a copywriter for your project.

As I said earlier, I’ve had instances of business owners contacting me because they’re ready for copy. But they’ve not accounted for availability or how long a project can take from start to finish. This can then hold up their entire project, so they’re launching or publishing later than they hoped.

Start looking for your writer roughly 2 months from your ideal deadline date. And when you’ve found someone, or an agency, you like the sound of, don’t waste time getting in touch. Get on it and book the copywriter you want



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