Tips for Working with a Ghostwriter

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Ghostwriter, freelancer…whatever term you use, you’re hiring someone to take on the creative part of your website’s marketing plan and you need to ensure you’ll work well together.

Part of a great client-writer relationship is open communication and clear expectations. In my former life as a digital marketing account manager, nothing destroyed trust more than ambiguous goals and scattered communication. That’s why I embrace the “team” approach to working with clients—by planting a stake in your business’s success, I am as accountable as you are to your bottom line.

If you’re looking to work with a freelancer, here are a few tips to make your relationship as powerful as possible.

  1. SET REASONABLE TIMELINES.
    • Be upfront about turnaround times and check in if deadlines aren’t hit. People get sick, buried in work, etc. It’s never okay for a writer (or client) to miss a deadline, but be sure you’re clear from the outset and keep each other accountable.
  2. BE TRANSPARENT.
    • Writers aren’t mind readers, but neither are clients.  Push back if you’re unhappy or confused (that goes for writers, too!). The creative process is a beautiful, interpretive thing—a quality that also makes it hard to nail down. The clearer you are, the better.
  3. SET GOALS.
    • Creating great content is always a great thing and I love it. However, each article requires a well-defined strategy. Are you looking to sell? Build brand awareness? Or are you creating a lifestyle blog separate from your business? It doesn’t matter as long as you’re prepared for a writer to ask for goals and aim their pieces toward accomplishing them.
  4. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.
    • While a writer will write whatever you tell them to (within expectations), defining your audience, dear Client, is your responsibility. Great digital marketing agencies can perform an excellent audience analysis for you, but using the tools at your disposal (as well as having precise insight into your client base) will help your author write content that resonates perfectly.
  5. TRUST YOUR WRITER.
    • Sometimes a client will request a word count that makes sense on paper but doesn’t translate well to an article. For example, is it really necessary to write 300 words on a bandsaw? It’s possible, sure, but think about your goal for the piece or product description (see #3 above). If you’re looking to inform your customers, see if a writer can communicate in brief, effective way and sell your product without filler. If it needs a bigger space, trust that your writer will tell you. Be flexible!
  6. HAVE FUN!
    • Content is the medium where businesses can shine. You get to fine-tune your voice and have the freedom to choose a writer who captures your essence. It can be challenging to communicate your distinct needs and nuances, but once it happens, you’ll find growth where you never felt possible.

Do you have any other tips for working with freelancers or ghostwriters? Share them below!

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