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!

What is Ghostwriting?

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Ghostwriting sounds spooky, right? Don’t worry, it’s not scary! It’s also not a reference to a short-lived 90’s kid’s show either (totally love you if you get that reference). Ghostwriting is the industry term for any content written for you by someone else. Based on you and your chosen author’s agreement, your name will be listed as the writer and the ghostwriter simply gets paid to do the work.

You and your ghostwriter can collaborate as much or as little as you’d like, but since communication is the key to creative success, an open line to both of you is a successful best practice.

Some writers object to ghostwriting, since it removes their name from the work and makes it harder to get credit for their efforts. I prefer ghostwriting, though, because it allows me to keep my writing skills versatile and exposes me to different areas of research. I get more satisfaction out of building great relationships with clients and I know that attitude (and high-quality work) is more valuable than constantly claiming authorship.

If you’d like to speak to me about content writing, copy writing, or ghostwriting services, feel free to contact me so we can discuss your needs. Happy writing!