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If a football player can be worth £85m, how can you place a value on copywriting?

Even if you’re not interested in football and didn’t stay up watching the live news on the annual transfer window deadline, you’ll probably still have seen the Gareth Bale transfer story. The winger has moved from north London to the Spanish capital to play for Real Madrid. But the biggest talking point of this saga is the fee involved. The Spanish champions will be parting with a world-record £85m for the services of Mr Bale and will be paying him a staggering £300,000 a week.

Many papers and news reports have filled their pages and broadcasts with stories about how obscene these amounts are. How can someone that plays a sport for a living possibly be paid so much?

Of course, football has never lived in the real world like the rest of us, and shelling out huge amounts of cash on players has never been an issue. The clubs with the most money pay the most and players are simply viewed as assets. If a football was a normal business and that business paid so much for a new asset or acquisition, not many people would blink. It’s the fact that we’re talking about a person that makes it difficult to comprehend such vast sums. Placing a real value is difficult.

The same thing applies to copywriting and many of the other creative services. Knowing how to place a value on it is probably the hardest part of the job. Too expensive and people won’t be willing to pay. Too cheap and people will think you’re not much cop. The key lies in education and explaining why you charge what you do and, much like a footballer, what return on investment you can offer.

What Gareth Bale will bring to his new club is an increase in shirt sales, a bigger global audience and may just be the difference between them winning and losing the Champions’ League, thereby earning them more money. They’ll be paying for him in instalments too, so over three-years you could argue the revenue he will bring will pay for his transfer and wages.

That’s how copywriting works. It can help attract more customers, draw attention to your brand and get you found on Google. It will pay for itself. A press release printed in the local paper, for example, could get your business in front of thousands of readers for a relatively small fee. Running an advert in the same paper could cost you ten-times more than the press release but people will be less inclined to read it. And paying a copywriter to write the words on your website will ensure it’s engaging, compelling and search engine optimised. The amount spent will be more than worth it in the long run, and you’ll receive a healthy return on your investment.

As a copywriter, I can’t promise better shirt sales or that you’ll win the biggest prize in domestic football. But I can promise you’ll see real value in your investment and it won’t cost you £85m (unless you want to pay me that much).

Nick Pagan