So I was sat with a new prospect last week discussing the wonderful world of blogging. And while they had big ambitions to get their name out, and plenty of things to say, they were worried that their people just didn’t have the time to commit to writing all this content.
“But they don’t need to write it because I’ll ghost write it.”
What followed was a look of sheer confusion that was enough to make me question my own suggestion.
If you’ve not come across the concept of ghostwriting before, it’s really simple. Essentially someone writes a piece of content on your behalf, but it’s published under your name. That’s all. And it’s really effective because you have a lot of amazing things to say, but you don’t have the time. Using a copywriter to ghostwrite, you can share all of that wonderful insight with the world without needing to find time.
To give you an idea of how it works, I’ve listed out my process below:
Step 1: Idea generation
This could come from you, or it could be an idea sparked by something I’ve seen or read in the media, from your competitors or an analyst report. Or it could be really tactical, where your marketing team is looking to optimise the website around a particular keyword or phrase to increase your chances of being found online.
Step 2: Briefing
This will either take place over the phone or face-to-face, where I’ll ask you a series of questions about the topic to get all the essential information I need to write the blog. I’ll send these questions across in advance so you have an opportunity to think about what you’d like to say ahead of the call/meeting.
Typically the briefing will take about 20 – 30 minutes. Although if we’re looking to write a series of blogs around a particular theme, it could take about an hour so I can get all the information I need in one go.
While you’re talking, I’ll make a lot of notes. While the majority of these will be on the subject matter, you’ll also see me note specific words and phrases down that you say. By capturing these little details the final piece will sound as if you’ve written it – no-one will ever know you had a little help.
Step 3: First draft
After the briefing, there may be some additional research to perform. For example, if you’re sharing an opinion, I always try to back up what you’re saying with data and research from credible sources to help strengthen your argument.
I will then write everything up and send it across for you to review. As you’re reading through the piece, it’s important to check it’s factually correct, but also to think ‘does this sound like me?’ We all have distinct ways of talking and word preferences. Hopefully I’ve captured your voice from our briefing, but if I’ve missed something, now is the time to flag it up.
Step 4: Second draft
When I’ve received your feedback I will incorporate it into the blog, ready for you to then publish.
Ghostwriting: it’s more common than you think
Once upon a time I worked in a PR and marketing communications agency. Every week I was placing editorial in the trade press that was bylined to the managing directors or IT Managers of tech companies – but they’d never written a single word of the actual article. And some of those articles secured speaking engagements where my clients were invited onto the main stage at some major industry conferences to present their ideas.
Now, ghostwriting probably accounts for about 50% of what I do, but you’d never know it because I’m not allowed to talk about it. And it’s the same for a lot of copywriters I know – they’re all busy writing incredible content, but they’ll never speak a word about it or share it.
As a ghostwriter, the biggest praise you can ever receive is when you see other people who know the ‘author’, engaging with the piece, praising it and asking questions to find out more about the topic. When that happens I know I managed to capture my client perfectly.
I’m very fortunate that one of my clients agreed to let me to produce a case study, which includes reference to the ghostwriting I did on behalf of some of their senior consultants…
“WHEN WRITING ON BEHALF OF MEMBERS OF OUR TEAM, ALICE HAS BEEN ABLE TO PERFECTLY CAPTURE THEIR INDIVIDUAL TONE OF VOICE, WHILE REFLECTING GATE ONE’S OVERALL BRAND MESSAGING AND POSITIONING.”KIRSTEN HACKETT, MARKETING CAMPAIGN MANAGER, Gate One