A Ghostwriter Guide for Businesses
It’s Halloween night. The moon is full and a dog howls. You look behind you and see… a GHOSTWRITER. Except the ghostwriter is really nice; He likes coffee with two sugars in the morning and he has a fondness for collectible rubber ducks.
Let’s face it: Ghostwriters aren’t that scary. Collaborating with ghostwriters can help you create killer content, especially as a business looking for online, engaging content. If you don’t have the time to write blogs, articles and other types of content on your own, ghostwriters (specifically professional blog writers from a blog writing service) may be the ideal solution.
What Are Ghostwriters?
In their most simplest form, a ghostwriter is someone who is hired to write a form of content (blogs, books, literary journals) but isn’t credited for it. You may think this is a sad way to make a living (all the work and no credit, right?), but it’s actually quite normal and useful for both the writer and the buyer. Just like many other services, the company that buys the content gets the credit because they essentially buy ownership of the content and can use, alter and improve the product they buy. Writers get paid and can write on a variety of topics without having to take ownership or maintain that content for a long period of time. In other words, content writing services are just another cog in the wheel that help businesses run smoothly.
What Can Ghost Writers Do for Me?
Wealthy business owners might tell you that task delegation is one of the secrets to their success. Even if you’ve never considered it an option, there’s no reason to exclude online content development from outsourcing.
When you don’t have the means to write and optimize your blog, there are a few different approaches that can help. You can hire an article writer in-house who produces brief content for short-term projects. You could also ask other leaders in your industry to contribute an article or two and lend their authority to help boost yours.
If you need more regular blog contributions, you might consider contracting staff writers. These professionals have byline privileges and work on a freelance basis. Still, they usually maintain a standing relationship with the publisher of their work.
Yet, if your blog’s purpose is to express your ideas in your voice, none of these options are viable. Moreover, there is the possibility that these methods could undermine your credibility by watering down your message or contradicting your ideals. In these situations, there is a fourth blog outsourcing option that is perfect for a content marketing strategy: ghost blog writers.
Ghostwriters, most famously associated with prolific big-name authors, operate in virtually every industry. They are frequently contracted for long-term projects and have experience with most types of content writing. Since they write anonymously and credit you with the work, they are the perfect choice if you are bursting with ideas for your blog but can’t produce the results you want.
1. A Blog Ghostwriter Can Do What You Can’t
There could be a myriad of reasons why you are unable to write a coherent, polished blog entry:
- You are skilled at formulating cutting-edge concepts but are terrible at expressing them in written words.
- You encounter writer’s block due to the tunnel-vision brought on by working inside your industry.
- You don’t have time to do it well, or do it at all.
- You hate writing. Period.
Your minimal blog writing skills or hurried efforts could damage your reputation as a thought-leader. In turn, this could lead to a loss of authority and reduced profits.
Ghost blog writers are skilled at translating your thoughts and ideas into eloquent prose that is relevant, witty and instantly captures your audience’s attention. Best of all, they can do it in a way that sounds exactly like something you would actually say.
2. Blog Ghostwriters Are Professionals That Produce Superior Content
Professionals know how to get the job done well — if you’re useless with a drill and hammer, would you build your own fence or hire a contractor?
Blog ghostwriters are experienced literary professionals and dedicated to their craft. They have the time and energy to thoroughly research a topic, compose multiple drafts and make sure the message is perfect.
Like other professionals, many ghostwriters actively pursue advancing their skills and repertoire. They often have working relationships with other writers and share tips and tricks that help them write better blog content for you.
Ghost blog writers, in particular, spend a lot of time learning the techniques specific to internet content writing. These can include SEO strategies, web formatting and creating content that captures and holds a reader’s attention. A blog writer worthy of hiring will also ensure that the finished piece has a professional polish — no garish spelling or grammar mistakes or awkward phrasing common to the lower-cost writers from overseas.
How Do I Find Ghost Blog Writers for Hire?
So how do you get writers for your blog? Finding freelance ghostwriters is easy; finding outstanding ghost blog writers is not. Like most professional endeavors, though, every successful outcome starts with a solid plan.
1. Set Your Blog Content Marketing Goals
Before you start looking for ghost blog writers, you need some substantive content marketing goals, If you haven’t already, you need to come up with a clear picture of your blog’s objective in particular. Different content marketing goals could change the skill set requirements you’re looking for with a blog writer for hire. You can limit your search to ghostwriters with the exact qualifications needed for your purpose.
Increase Organic Traffic
Organic website traffic is driven by unpaid sources. These include non-ad based search engine results and backlinks from other websites that use your blog as a source. Successful marketing strategies rely on creating content that contains relevant search keywords that your customers are likely to use, yet distinguish you from your competitors.
Your ideal blog ghostwriter will have experience in SEO, creating easy-to-read layouts, using backlinks and writing compounding posts. Your ghost blog writer should also be able to produce great content quickly. To build organic traffic, you need to post optimized content as often as possible, up to five times per week.
Build Brand Awareness
If you already have a respectable flow of traffic to your website, you can slow down a little and focus your efforts on increasing brand awareness. Posting blog content that teaches skills or explains industry-related topics in detail can help develop your reputation as a thought leader in your field.
Ideal ghost blog writers should have the ability to produce well-researched, relevant content that incorporates graphics, charts and images in a high-quality layout. The blog writer will be speaking with your voice as an expert in the industry. So, strong research and interviewing skills will help him or her develop a comprehensive understanding of your sector.
Food for thought: Instead of hiring a ghostwriter that is an industry insider, consider someone who has never worked in your field. They will enter with fresh eyes and might have a perspective that appeals to an untapped customer base.
Target Audience Personas
Great ghost blog writers can draft expert-level content, present it most attractively and make it sound like the words came directly from you. However, if they can’t match your audience personas’ tone, their content may not be engaging enough for readers to spend more than a few seconds on it before moving on.
Provide your blog ghost writer with a description of your audience that is as detailed as possible. Armed with a list of targeted demographics, interests, hobbies and other persona characteristics, your ghostwriter could browse social media for public profiles that fit the description for trending current events, passions or worries. Your writer can then incorporate those trends into blog posts, making the content more relatable.
2. Search the Blog Ghostwriting Talent Pool
Next, compile a list of the most relevant and applicable job skills and start searching for qualified ghost blog writers.
Blog Ghostwriting Services
Also known as content creation agencies, professional ghostwriting services often have access to an extensive network of vetted freelance ghostwriters. Therefore, you won’t waste time sifting through applications, sample articles or conducting interviews.
Ghostwriting services offer a wide variety of content styles and categories. Most offer simple content purchases through their websites. Alternatively, you can request customized account managing services. Your personal contact will help you tailor your content and assemble a dedicated ghost blog writing team capable of tackling your project.
Ghostwriters for hire networks have streamlined the development process for SEO criteria and client-specific style guides. They are a great choice if you need a lot of content within a short period of time`.
Job Listing Websites
Your other two options are posting a job listing or perusing blog ghostwriters’ resumes. There are a multitude of websites that connect companies and workers, ranging from free online classifieds to professional social networks to job portals where freelancers pay a subscription fee for full access to listings. Keep in mind that you’ll need to implement selection criteria, or you’re likely to be overwhelmed with applicants, many of whom know very little about your industry.
3. Vet the Blog Writing Applicants
If you decide against using a professional ghostwriting service and choose to hire your own ghost blog writers, these steps can give you a solid start, especially if you’ve never conducted a vetting process before. When either receiving responses to an ad or reaching out to freelancers, the first step is to review samples of candidates’ published work.
Create a Short-List
After you receive a flood of responses to your ad, there are a few simple criteria that can significantly separate out the chaff:
- Follow basic instructions: The best blog ghostwriter candidates will answer every question you ask and follow your instructions to the letter. Ditch the application if they send you a 20-year-old college essay after you request a recent article in a major publication.
- Correct spelling and grammar: This is a must. Don’t be too nitpicky, though — many finer points of grammar are stylistic rather than unequivocally wrong — errors that a standard spelling and grammar checker would point out are a red flag.
- High quality of writing: Essentially, if you don’t enjoy reading it or if you have a hard time understanding it, file it in your recycling bin. Don’t waste your time trying to teach a blog ghostwriter how to write satisfactory content.
If, after applying the criteria, you still have a long list of candidates, narrow the parameters until you have only several applicants remaining.
Audition the Blogging Candidates
Before you go any further, make sure that they are willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement. This is a standard operating procedure for ghost blog writers, and if a candidate balks, it is better to know now.
Competent, organized ghostwriters will have a portfolio ready and may have even tailored it to feature work that they feel is most applicable to your blog needs, based on the information you’ve given to this point. Examine it to get a feel for their experience. More importantly, try to gauge how well they adapt to different industries and writing styles.
Next, give each applicant a writing assignment specific to your blog’s niche. Specify that they have free rein to format the blog content as they see fit on a content management system.
Include a detailed list of requirements; for example, the due date, a minimum word count, keyword placement and source links are a few of the standard items on a style guide. You don’t have to go too in-depth in crafting your list; the point is to test the writers’ attention to detail.
Set a favorable precedent by offering to pay the ghost blog writer for the assignment. At the end of the hiring process, their content will be yours to use as you see fit.
Here are a few things to look for in their completed assignments:
- Writing instructions: We’re repeating this one for a reason; a writing professional may not produce the best content at first, but don’t waste your time with a ghostwriter that doesn’t make the extra effort to nail every single detail of your request. Remember, at this point, they are trying to impress you, and if their best effort doesn’t meet basic requirements, there’s not much hope for improvement later.
- Content: Your ideal blog ghost writer will begin with a concise, intriguing title and compose engaging, non-generic content that is relevant to your business. He or she should write in the first or second person narrative, and the source links should be to reputable websites.
- Format: Your ghostwriter should format the blog for readability. This includes breaking up the content into short paragraphs, inserting subheadings, and using techniques that draw the eye downward, such as charts, lists and images.
- Clarification: Don’t write off candidates simply because they ask a ton of questions about your instructions or goals. These are the writers who take extra steps to get it right the first time. Also, look for questions that indicate a willingness to go above and beyond. This can include a request to increase the word count or add components that you didn’t initially request, such as videos or sound clips.
However, if they add too many extras without asking you first, it might be a warning sign of a rogue writer that could potentially damage your reputation with content that doesn’t adhere to your message or style.
Finally, prepare interview questions: Medium has recommendations for interviewing freelancers on its website. Conduct your interviews face-to-face with a video conferencing app. If that’s not possible, you could interview ghostwriting applicants over the phone, but never settle with email. You may pick up on intangible personality characteristics during a spoken conversation that might not appear in written correspondence.
Is It Unethical To Contract Ghostwriters for Blogs?
If you’re feeling slightly uneasy about someone else writing a blog entry for you and then publicly claiming it as your own, you have company. Some professional bloggers believe content written by undisclosed ghostwriters is unethical, especially on social media and blogs that aren’t strictly informational.
Their premise is that since the object of those posts is to cultivate a personal relationship with readers, there is an expectation that the people publishing the content are doing the writing. Therefore, if a ghostwriter writes the content, then the readers’ relationship would be with the social media ghost writer and not the personality associated with the website.
There is a certain distaste in that scenario, for sure. However, most professional or branded blogs on the internet are designed to deliver useful or fun information. That information is directly supplied by the entity that puts its name on the website. Here, the ghost blog writer’s role is simply to translate concepts into written words that are both polished and the best expression of the originator’s meaning and intent.
Here’s a more practical way to look at it:
- Do all haute couture clothing designers have the skill to weave cloth and sew perfect seams to bring their art to life, or do they need the most talented master sewing professionals available?
- Do Supreme Court Justices have the time and energy to publish their own decisions and opinions, or is it permissible to give the job to their judicial clerks?
- Does an international public speaker learn every language spoken in each country, or would a translator with prodigious skill better cross the language barrier, conveying not only the words but also the intended meaning?
No one expects industry leaders to perform 100% of the tasks involved to produce the finished product, so why should your company’s blog be the exception?
1. Using Experienced Blog Writing Professionals for Specialized Tasks
The most commonly accepted (and comparable) example of ethical ghostwriting is the work done by presidential speechwriters. Successful politicians realized long ago that if they could articulate their ideas in a way that spoke to people’s emotions, they had a better chance of being elected.
Judson Welliver, a White House “literary clerk,” was recognized as the first official presidential speechwriter during the 1920s, although Alexander Hamilton famously wrote a considerable portion of George Washington’s Farewell Address in 1796. Basically, the notion of a professional writer putting words to a public figure’s ideas is nothing new.
The best blog ghostwriters will collaborate extensively with you to gain the most accurate perception of your personality, philosophy, and idiosyncrasies. That way, when you publish their work under your name, it seems as though you might have written it yourself.
2. Pushing Ethical Boundaries
While ghost blog writers traditionally and happily remain anonymous, no policy requires you to either disclose your collaboration with a ghostwriter or display your name over any content you did not write. Still, there are a few types of content where using ghost blog writers could raise ethical questions:
- Blogs created to interact directly with an audience: Either a sudden switch to or between ghostwriters will often cause a shift in tone that many readers will detect, no matter how skilled the blog writer. Readers who discover that they were interacting with a ghostwriter instead of the expert figure could feel personally violated, leading to a significant loss of credibility and respect.
- Blogs written by ghostwriters with minimal input: While not strictly unethical, many would consider content claimed by an expert figure who contributed little or nothing to the effort to be fraudulent.
- Scholarly blogs or papers written for academia: Students and professors are assessed not only on their original concepts and theories but also on their ability to communicate them accurately and wholly to their peers.
Hire Professional Ghost Blog Writers for Your Site
As you can see, the process of hiring and vetting a blog ghostwriter yourself can be very involved. If this is the first time you’re using ghost blog writers, you may easily be overwhelmed just by the search process, let alone the effort it will take to manage your new content writer.
In the beginning, when you’re still testing the blog waters and not sure exactly what you need, the quickest and easiest solution may be to use a blog ghostwriting service. An experienced content account manager will ask you for all the information you didn’t know you needed to supply and take care of the busywork. You may also consider using our monthly blog subscription plan to get well-written content consistently.
Now, all you have to do to implement your content marketing strategy is to sit down with paper and pencil (or laptop) and let your progressive, industry-altering blog topic ideas flow.