Out of the half dozen content marketing conferences I’ve attended in my five years as a white paper and case study writer, I’ve come across two speakers who tried to tout the “value” of a $300 white paper. They lucked out on Craigslist or Fivr and were convinced that it’s the norm to pay someone what amounts to maybe $15 an hour for a job that requires a very particular set of skills.

It’s not.

Those marketing directors got lucky. But for the vast majority of content marketers, the work product generated by these low-cost freelancers isn’t fit for humans to read. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients who said, “We hired this other freelancer for [insert obscenely low amount here], and we need someone to fix it.” And I’ll get the white paper/case study/ebook from the client, and [tweetthis]I’ll be horrified. There’s no way I can just Winston Wolfe it.[/tweetthis] I’ll need to start from scratch. And that isn’t inexpensive, but it’s a better value than a $300 white paper.

Unfortunately, these clients – and plenty of other marketing directors – learn this the hard way. They balk at the cost of a trained, educated freelancer, spend a few hundred dollars out of their marketing budgets on these low-cost freelancers, and realize that the work product is unusable. Then they’re forced to contact me – or someone like me. They need a professional with the skills to interview, research, and write a white paper or case study, and that costs more.

But cost doesn’t determine the value. What’s valuable about spending more is what the client gets from me: someone who can interview a subject matter expert, who has a personality and background knowledge on enterprise technology. The client gets someone who is able to write clear, understandable, and engaging lead generation pieces that prospects will actually want to read. Even better, the client gets the security of knowing who I am: I’m the only one doing the work. It’s me, my trusty laptop, and copious amounts of coffee. I stand behind every deliverable, and I meet my deadlines.

In other words, you get what you pay for.