Hiring a ghostwriter sounds like something for the rich and powerful, but a ghostwriter can be a great asset to businesses of all sizes. Ghostwriters don’t just write novels or speeches -- they can play a variety of roles within your organization.
Ghostwriters create content that is attributed to someone else. Whether they write content from scratch or develop existing material of the attributed author, ghostwriters don’t take any credit for what they write.
Some people worry that hiring a ghostwriter is “cheating.” But think of a ghostwriter as a partner. You’re bringing your unique voice, ideas, and thoughts, and your ghostwriter is bringing writing expertise to turn those ideas into words. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help.
Anything you could write yourself can be ghostwritten, but most ghostwriting falls into three categories:
Many entrepreneurs and executives choose to write books to market their business and establish authority in their field. You often provide the ghostwriter with the premise of the book and key stories, thoughts, or methods that make it unique. The ghostwriter takes it from there, working with you to develop an outline and write a complete book based on your ideas. During the editing process, you usually provide feedback to help make the book sound more authentic and better fit your voice.
Writing for established publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, and Inc. is a great way to build credibility. But these opportunities are often time-consuming, and require researching, writing, and revising to meet the publication’s standards. A ghostwriter can write these articles on your behalf, using information from existing content or by developing your ideas.
Most other forms of content written on an executive’s behalf fall under “executive ghostwriting,” including social media content and blog writing. Social media content written for the company’s account is likely handled by a digital marketer, but anything written for your personal account falls to ghostwriters. A ghostwriter can draw on news events, happenings at your company, and personal stories to position you as a thought leader in your industry on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other social platforms.
Books, articles, and executive ghostwriting all serve different purposes and are appropriate for different stages of a business.
Books are a powerful tool to gain authority for your business, but writing them can be costly. Expect to pay more than $15K for a completed book. And if your business is just getting started, you might not have the experience or background needed to fill the pages.
If your industry lends itself to press opportunities, article ghostwriting is the way to go. Publications are always looking for professional voices, especially in more technical subjects. But again, article ghostwriting requires you to already have some authority in your space. If you’re just starting your first company and are still learning the ropes of your industry, you’ll have a tougher time convincing publications to accept your work.
Executive ghostwriting is generally a good fit for executives at all levels. Whether you’ve been in business for years or you’re still building your credibility, it’s always beneficial to have an online presence. Executive ghostwriting is also easier to scale up and down as your budget changes.
Dozens of ghostwriters are pitching their work online, so it can be challenging to decide who to hire. Consider these factors in vetting potential ghostwriters:
How much are you willing to spend? For books, you can easily expect to pay between $50 and $100 an hour on the lower end.
For articles and social media, expect rates closer to other content writers. Less experienced writers could charge as little as $0.1/word; for top-tier writers, the price could be as high as $1.50/word. A good middle-of-the-road rate for a strong professional is around $0.5/word.
In general, it’s best to look for a writer with experience in your niche or the type of work you’re looking for. Most established writers will be able to offer you samples of previous projects, whether ghostwritten or under their own name. If you want to ensure they can write well in your area, consider offering them a small paid test project before signing off on a larger scope.
Even if you find a writer with experience in your niche, they may not necessarily write in a style you like or in the format you need. Do your best to narrow down what it is you’re looking for. Who’s your audience? Is your style traditional, edgy, or humorous? What’s your goal for writing the piece? The more you know about what you want, the easier it will be to find a writer to meet your needs.
Especially for larger projects, it’s vital that you know what you’re signing up for. Ask if you can speak to any current or previous clients about their experience working with the writer. This can help you to get a sense of their personality, work style, and any quirks that could influence how you work together.
Knowing what to look for in a ghostwriter is only half the battle. Finding one is another matter. Some of the more popular options for locating ghostwriters are:
Upwork is a worldwide freelancing platform for writers, designers, translators, and more. You can post your job and let freelancers submit quotes for it, or you can peruse lists of writers filtered by levels of skill, experience, niche, etc.
The #1 business social network, LinkedIn is popular with employees, executives, and freelancers looking for new work. You can either post a job opportunity on the site, or search for ghostwriters in your niche and see if any profiles stand out. Because it’s a social network, posting about a potential ghostwriting opportunity will likely lead to shares and tags from people you know, making it easier to spread the word.
Nothing beats a verified recommendation from someone you trust. Whether you post on Facebook or send an email to your peers, knowing that the person you’re hiring has someone else’s approval can be reassuring.
Hiring a ghostwriter can be the perfect way to reduce your workload and still build authority in your industry, whether digitally or in print. Of course, the process of finding a ghostwriter can be daunting and exhausting. If you want to skip the nonsense and get your content machine running, schedule a call with me. We’ll discuss your needs and how I can take some work off your plate.
Published in Growth