If I could count the number of times people have said that they’d had the idea, but not the words. What am I talking about? Writing. I often hear people say that they thought of a great idea for an article, an ebook, or some form of guide – but just didn’t have the skills to put it together. Almost always, that’s where the idea stopped because they weren’t able to leverage the concept in such a way that it brought income and revenue to their business. But it doesn’t have to end there. 

Believing in ghosts

Not real ghosts, ghostwriters. A ghostwriter creates content like ebooks, articles, how-to guides, web content, etc. A ghostwriter is paid by a client to create content either partially, or entirely, that shares the vision of the business or brand. Once the content is approved, it is fully owned by the client and the ghostwriter takes a backseat. Although termed ghostwriting, I prefer to look at it as an extension of the team. Keeping a ghostwriter on board means you can get the content you need to cover the ideas you just can’t quite convey.

Benefits of a ghostwriter

Ghostwriters are actually pretty common and are used by businesses, brands, and celebrities all over the world. It’s like having a content assistant in your back pocket. Sometimes the client knows what they want to be said and has an outline, and other times they know that they just need content. Traditional ghostwriting involves an interview to discuss the brief, the creation of the content, and a few feedback sessions where the client shares their thoughts and changes. The bulk of the work is handled by the writer, but the process in its entirety is as collaborative as the client wants it to be.

Hiring a ghostwriter has many benefits:

  • Saves you time
  • Builds a brand story
  • Content is SEO based
  • Ghostwriters research so that you don’t have to
  • You’re guaranteed quality 
  • Content turn-around time is quick
  • Generates new content ideas

Making the right decision

Not everyone takes to the idea of a ghostwriter. For some, they feel it’s a little unfair or a bit like cheating. Think of it this way, if your car broke down, you have two choices. Fix it yourself with the skillset that you have, or take it to a mechanic. Ghostwriting follows the same concept, the client shares the knowledge that they have and the writer fixes it into something useable and concrete. 

The use of a ghostwriter

Content is the way forward. It offers a business and brand the opportunity to build with their audience, to create trust and connection, and ultimately conversion. Your content needs to carry your unique voice and style, consistently sharing your product and vision authentically with your audience. Not only does good content increase the retention of your audience, but it also adds the extra oomph to your social media platforms. Having a ghostwriter in your team allows you to demonstrate your expertise more regularly, and can position you as an industry expert. Ultimately, when done right, content should create trust by answering the questions your audience is asking. The more content you produce, the higher the likelihood that customers will positively view your brand.

Of course, this is where a ghostwriter slips in. Clients often don’t have time to write their own content, not to mention trying to manage a team of writers and freelancers. Hiring a ghostwriter can be a great solution and an opportunity to tap into those underutilized opportunities like web content, ebooks, blogs, and more. 

The process involved in hiring a ghostwriter

Most ghostwriters follow a simple process that makes it easy for collaboration and communication. It’s important to be clear from the start, especially with how much involvement you want in the project and how often you expect feedback.

The usual ghostwriting process:

  • Client/Ghostwriter briefing (usually held online)
  • Client goals are defined and agreed upon
  • A proposal is sent, signed, and returned (some ghostwriters will request a 50% deposit)
  • An NDA can be signed if required
  • Writer produces an initial draft
  • Client uses ‘track changes’ to makes comments and notes
  • Writer creates a second draft
  • Client comments on errors or corrections they want to be made
  • Writer creates a third draft
  • Draft goes for editing and proofreading
  • Final content sent to client

What to look for

Be aware that ghostwriters often sign non-disclosure agreements and can’t speak too openly about their past experience. This means that they also aren’t able to share their work too widely which can make things tricky during the hiring process. A key factor to consider is the personality of the ghostwriter, and are you a fit, and can the writer share your voice? A seasoned ghostwriter can match multiple voices and styles through their years of experience. Assess the ghostwriter’s skill level by reading through their portfolio and content that they have written. An important factor to consider is how long they’ve been ghostwriting and do they have SEO experience. Scroll through their social media business page and LinkedIn to see what feedback and reviews they’ve been given. Without much effort, there will be some form of a track record to assess if you’ve found the right ghostwriter.

Cost to hire a ghostwriter

The cost of hiring a ghostwriter can vary for every project. Some ghostwriters work per hour, others per project, and many by word. Other ghostwriters are happy to charge less in exchange for a percentage of royalties and thus becoming a co-author. Either way, hiring a ghostwriter can be quite a lucrative investment, and for a set fee, you can leverage yourself as an industry expert. The cost of hiring a ghostwriter is dependent on a few factors:

  • Their experience
  • The time frame of the project
  • The extent to which the client is involved in writing
  • The total word count

Finding my ghostwriter

Some people may find the idea of hiring ghostwriters a little odd, but that’s often because they aren’t aware of the benefits a ghostwriter can bring to your team. By leaving the writing to the professionals, you’re opening up a whole new world of opportunity. If you think hiring a ghostwriter is part of your next content strategy move, then email me hello@clairelagewall.com for a consultation.