How to Hire a Ghostwriter to Increase Your Business

08 Oct 2019

HOW TO HIRE A GHOSTWRITER TO INCREASE YOUR BUSINESS

As a business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to increase your profitability. And to do that, you probably spend a lot of time focusing on things like increasing sales, reducing expenses, and improving employee productivity. But did you know that hiring a ghostwriter can also improve your bottom line?

Let’s talk about the ways a ghostwriter can increase sales, cement your place as an expert, and possibly help you disrupt your industry. And then we’ll show you how to hire the right one successfully.

What is a Ghostwriter?

Not everyone writes their own content. For instance, the blog you read by your favorite industry leader may be written by a ghostwriter. And that thought leadership piece that prompted you to take action with its thoughtful and logical presentation? Chances are, a ghostwriter penned those words. What about that business book you used to gain so much inspiration? You guessed it — there’s a good possibility a ghostwriter wrote that, too.

If you’re like most business people, you have a talent that makes you good at what you do. And frequently, that talent doesn’t involve writing for the public. And that’s where ghostwriters come in. These specialists learn all they can about a topic by interviews and research, and then write books, blog posts, and all other written forms of communication in someone else’s name. They are masters at what they do, but they don’t care about recognition.

Instead, their passion is making their clients look good.

Sometimes ghostwriters work on one project, such as a book. Other times, they become part of the company team and create all of the written materials for a business.

What Can a Ghostwriter Do for My Business?

The spread of information is the foundation of most marketing campaigns. Consumers want to understand and know the companies they buy from, and savvy entrepreneurs use various forms of content to help brand their business. That’s why most successful companies use written communication to reach the public.

And that communication comes in many forms — and each has different benefits. Here’s an idea of how today’s successful businesses use words to convey their message.

Books: Some of the biggest brands in any industry have published books to solidify their brand in the public consciousness. For instance, the CEOs of Zappos, Starbucks, Nasty Girl, Clif Bar, and Whole Foods have all written books that help brand their business.

But many CEOs and business leaders don’t write their own books. After all, a book takes months of hard work and concentration, and typically, the people who run companies don’t have an abundance of time. Instead, they rely on ghostwriters to do the job for them. And because the ghostwriter stays in the background, the CEO gets all the credit and benefits of the book.

Blogs: It’s hard to imagine any successful business today that operates without a blog. Blogs are the best way to reach potential customers and let existing customers know that you’re in touch with the needs of your clients. But who has time to come up with the ideas and write blog posts a couple of times a week?

Ghostwriters, that’s who. And the great thing about hiring a ghostwriter to write your blog posts is that soon, they will become an expert in your field. And they will use all that knowledge to create blog posts that keep your customers engaged and connected with your business.

White papers and thought leadership pieces: When you want to secure your place as a leader in the industry, writing a white paper or thought leadership piece is a great way to make your mark. These documents are also an excellent vehicle for industry disruption.  But for the piece to make a difference, it must be well-researched and expertly presented. Chances are the thought of taking the time to write such an impactful piece is overwhelming to most business leaders.

And that’s why they hire ghostwriters. These writers are expert at interviewing and extracting just the right information to present it in a professionally written piece. The result is that the company who publishes the pieces receives all the acclaim — without doing any of the writing.

Request For Proposals (RFPs): If you bid on government contracts, you’re familiar with RFPs. And if you’ve ever tried answering one of the complicated documents, you understand why so many people hire ghostwriters to do the job for them.

Those writers who specialize in RFPs have a system that not only make the process easier, but it also increases the chances of a winning bid.

Keep in mind that most ghostwriters aren’t limited to just one form of writing. But each writer probably has a specialty where they excel. And that’s why many business owners hire a company that employs multiple ghostwriters. These companies match each project with the writer who specializes in that area. It’s a great way to ensure that the ghostwriter you hire is an expert in your field. 

How to Hire a Company Ghostwriter

Now that you understand the ways a ghostwriter can enhance your company brand, communicate with potential and existing customers, and establish credibility among your peers in the industry, let’s talk about how to look for and hire the right ghostwriter for your business.

You have two options when it comes to hiring a ghostwriter. You can hire a freelance ghostwriter from sites like UpWork, or you can hire a company that specializes in the practice.

Freelance Ghostwriters

While it’s entirely possible to hire a quality freelance ghostwriter, you will have to do more due diligence to ensure the writer fits your needs. Think about it: anyone can claim they’re a ghostwriter, but not everyone’s skills are up to par.

If you decide to hire a freelance ghostwriter, you can post a job on sites like UpWork, or you can run an ad on places like Craigslist, Indeed, or FlexJobs. If you decide to go this route, be sure to adhere to the following steps to avoid hiring a ghostwriter who won’t deliver the content you want.

Ghostwriting Companies

You can increase your chances of success by hiring a ghostwriting company. These businesses are expert at all things ghostwriting and employ multiple writers so they can successfully fulfill every writing project.

The benefit of working with a ghostwriting company is that you can look for online reviews, Better Business Listings, and ask for referrals.

Define Your Project

Once you determine where you will hire your ghostwriter, it’s time to begin preparing for the interviews.

Your first in the preparation process is to define your project. Start by stating what you need the ghostwriter to write. Is it a book? How many pages do you anticipate it will be? Will you make yourself available for interviews once a week? A few times a week? If you’re hiring a ghostwriter to write blog posts, how many will they write? Is it a one-time post, or do you want them to post to your blog several times a week?

The better you define your project, the easier it will be for the ghostwriter to give you a bid and complete the project successfully.

Experience Counts

To hire the best ghostwriter for your project, you need to ask about their experience. You should hire a ghostwriter who has experience writing the types of content that your project demands. For example, if you want to hire a ghostwriter to write a book, the writer you choose should have experience writing books. And if you want to hire a ghostwriter for your corporate blog, the chosen writer should have plenty of experience writing blogs.

Ask for References

The ghostwriters you interview will all have past clients they can use as references. Ask the writer to provide information for references you can call. Ask for a minimum of three, and then call or email them and ask some questions. You can ask if the writer met their deadlines, how many revisions they required once the content was submitted, and how easy it was to work with the writer. In other words, did they take criticism to heart and improve when asked, or did they fight to do things their way, even when the client protested?

One time or more?

You also need to determine whether you want to hire the ghostwriter on a one-time basis or for an extended period. If you’re writing a book or a one-off white paper, you will probably only need the ghostwriter’s services one time. But if you plan to revamp your corporate content or hire a writer to take over your company blog, you can offer the writer a long-term gig.

Can I Sample That?

A ghostwriter is only as good as her writing samples. Every writer keeps samples to show prospective clients their voice and ability.

Keep in mind, though, that not all ghostwriters can share everything they’ve written. For many jobs, writers are under non-disclosure agreements, so sharing their work would be a breach of the contract. To get around this, some ghostwriters keep personal samples or old work that is no longer under contract.

When looking at the samples, you should note that ghostwriters are highly skilled at mimicking the voice of their client. While you can pay attention to the writer’s style, you should remember that in each sample that they show you, they were writing for that particular client. Every brand has a voice, so make sure you find a ghostwriter who understands and can best represent the voice of your company.

When looking at the samples, you should note that ghostwriters are highly skilled at mimicking the voice of their client. While you can pay attention to the writer’s style, you should remember that in each sample that they show you, they were writing for that particular client. Every brand has a voice, so make sure you find a ghostwriter who understands and can best represent the voice of your company.

What’s Your Budget?

Ghostwriters vary in the way that they charge their clients. Some writers charge by the word, while others charge by the hour. When looking for a ghostwriter, you need to understand the billing practices of each writer you interview, so you can determine whether or not they fit in with your budget.

Start by assigning a budget to the task. Then, as you interview each writer, give them the parameters of the project and ask for a bid. If they charge by the word, you can easily figure out how much the project will cost. And if they charge by the hour, ask them for an estimate of the time it will take them to complete the project.

Be sure to ask about additional fees for edits or revisions.

Is English Their First Language?

The world has opened up, and writers from all around the world apply for writing jobs for an English-speaking audience. Some of these writers have great English skills, even if it’s not their native language. Others…not so much.

If you’re writing to an English-speaking audience, your best chance of success is to choose a ghostwriter who speaks English as their native language.

Set the Process in Motion

If you follow all of the above steps and find the ideal ghostwriter, your next step is to set the project in motion. You’ll need to take a few steps to ensure the project runs smoothly and on time.

Here are the steps you should take when meeting and interviewing ghostwriters for your project. You can interview them in person if it’s convenient, but most will prefer Skype or another form of online communication.

Put It in Writing

When hiring a ghostwriter, you should create a document outlining all of your guidelines for the project. In this document, include the word count, deadlines, and editing and revision guidelines.

You can also include your brand and style guide as an attachment to this document. For instance, do you have a font you prefer? Or logo graphics you want to include in the document? Include your contact information to make scheduling interviews easier. Basically, include any information that will clarify your expectations and provide the ghostwriter with all they need to deliver a successful project.

Set Budget Constraints

By this time, you have a pretty good idea of the scope of your project and the ghostwriter’s fees, so you should be able to set a budget. Talk to the freelancer about your budget cap and make it clear that unless you give explicit permission, the project should not exceed it. Make sure you’re on the same page.

Communication is Key

If you establish a communication method from the start, it will make the project go smoother. Ask the ghostwriter if they prefer to use Skype, email, text, phone, Slack, or other forms of communication. We also suggest planning calls and/or meetings in advance, so that everyone can plan ahead and make sure to leave space in their schedules.

Set Milestones

If you’re hiring the ghostwriter for a long project such as a book, set some milestones, so they don’t go months without payment. While many ghostwriters will require a deposit up front (usually 50%), some will allow for payments to be made along the way.

Or if the ghostwriter is writing your corporate blog, set up a biweekly or monthly payment schedule.

Talk about Your Clients

If the ghostwriter is going to be the face of your company for all written communications—or even if they are only completing one project such as a book—they need to understand your clients. Spend some time telling them about your typical customer, their needs, and how your business fills it.

Then, to make sure the writer understands your unique selling proposition, ask them to sum it up in a sentence or two.

Finalize it

Once you’re satisfied that you’ve found the right ghostwriter, your last step is to put everything in writing, and both parties should sign the contract. It should include start and finish dates, payment amounts and timing of payments, the number of allowable revisions, communication expectations, and contingency items. For example, what happens if halfway through the project, the ghostwriter misses the deadline because they broke their arm in a car accident?

Are You Ready to Hire a Ghostwriter?

The process of hiring a ghostwriter can be intimidating. After all, you’re entrusting someone else to put written content in front of the public with your name on it. But if you follow the above steps and take your time to find the ideal candidate, the process will enhance your business.

Author
Suzanne Kearns 
Suzanne knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of ten when she wrote her first story, and has spent the past 2 decades writing blog posts, magazine articles, nonfiction and fiction books, sales letters, white papers, press releases, website copy, and anything else that can be put in written form. She has written for Intuit, Avalara, NerdWallet, GoPayment, and as a ghostwriter for a few well-known CEO’s. Her work has appeared all around the internet, including on sites like World News and Reports, Entrepreneur.com, and Forbes. She loves nothing more than being presented with a bunch of data and asked to break it down into digestible content for readers. Most days you’ll find her sitting on her porch with her laptop, writing to the sound of the ocean, and marveling that life can be this stinking good.

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