As content marketing continues to drive sales, companies seek out writers to create great content. Frequently, these writers are contracted in as a “ghostwriter,” someone that writes content that is published under a different author’s name.
Ghostwriting has become a very common practice, but there are some best practices to follow as a ghostwriter to ensure that you produce quality work, retain clients and grow your business.
The cornerstone of business as a ghostwriter is obviously client acquisition – clients are your best example of the quality of your work. You have to be willing to put it out there that you’re a writer, and even sometimes be willing to take on smaller projects to prove your worth. In addition, the most popular clients for ghostwriting are often high-profile, very busy, and very well-connected. Landing one high-profile client may provide you with a pool of other quality clients that already trust you and your work1.
Networking also includes showcasing your writing on a blog or your personal site. Don’t make people buy into your product blind – give them an example so they can better understand your voice and writing style. Also, you can demonstrate the variety of work that you're capable of producing.
Be Smart With Your Pricing
In every industry, you will find large products with clients that underestimate the time, attention, and cost involved in completion. Figure out a pricing structure that ensures that you receive payment for the work that you do – this may mean breaking the work & payments up into phases, or requiring a certain deposit upfront2.
Also, understand that you develop value as you go. If you haven’t ever had a book or blog published, you can’t expect people to pay the same as they would for an experienced and proven ghostwriter. Set a price that’s fair, with the knowledge that as you become more experienced, both your demand and value will go up.
Use Voice Appropriately
Perhaps most importantly, remember that this piece of content truly belongs to your subject. The things to carry through from your subject include main ideas, signature words/phrases, and quality-sourced data points3. If you can maintain these core ideas, implementing your voice can help the piece to flow more smoothly. You may also be able to communicate ideas more clearly because you’re aware of what further explanation is needed.
Listen & Record
Understanding your client and their point of view is key to writing in a way that is believable. For this, it is recommended to not only listen, but to record your conversations or interviews with the client. Ask in-depth questions that will allow both you and the reader to understand the client. You can record these interviews or phone calls and have a service transcribe them for you for further review4.
There has been extensive debate over the years regarding the ethical use of ghostwriting. Opinions differ, but one thing is clear: with the high demand for content, there is a high demand for quality writing that can be met with ghostwriters.
Have you ever ghostwritten for a blog or a novel? Share your experience with us in the comments below.