Spooked About Using a Ghostwriter? Don’t Be.
The “ghost” part may make it sound a bit spooky, but there’s nothing mysterious or shady about them. Ghostwriters have been around the literary world for at least a century, though the term itself wasn’t coined until 1921. And not by any literary great, but by the first baseball agent, Christy Walsh, who put out a series of sports autobiographies supposedly written by stars like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Today the political world is awash in ghostwriters, though in that particular arena they are usually called speechwriters. You didn’t think the President actually writes his own State of the Union address, did you? It’s well known that late-night talk show hosts employ an army of joke writers. But politicians and comedians aren’t the only ones playing in the haunted house.
Why Corporate Ghostwriting Makes Sense
Ghostwriting in business is nothing new. Having someone else write the CEO’s speech, for example, is standard business practice. The obvious reasons are time and quality. CEOs are busy running businesses. Wrestling with verb tenses or coming up with the perfect quip is not the most efficient use of their time. Then there’s the question of quality control. No business leader wants to give a speech that’s just “good enough.” The difference between so-so writing and great writing is the difference between being able to carry a tune and being a trained singer. Professional quality writing requires a professional writer.
Use of ghostwriters across all business sectors has skyrocketed in recent years, as quality content has increased in importance. In today’s world, content is how you find new clients, deepen links with existing ones, and engage in conversations to discover what customers want next. It’s how you display an understanding of customers’ challenges and goals, show your solutions to their problems, and demonstrate that they can trust you. Do you think content that’s dashed off in your spare time, or that’s just “good enough,” is going to do all that?
Ghostwriters Do It All
Another reason for the increase in ghostwriting is the explosion of different content types now populating the digital marketing landscape. With so many platforms, it’s not surprising to hear that companies turn to a skilled ghostwriter to produce all these various types of content.
Blogs are one of the most obvious and popular uses of ghostwriters in the business world, because a successful blog is one that that engages the reader and builds a loyal following. That sort of ongoing connection requires an ongoing supply of quality content, which brings us straight back to the time and quality benefits of ghostwriting.
Success in business is about building brand awareness and demonstrating expertise in that area. Bylined articles, case studies, e-books, and white papers are all formats that bringing existing or potential customers up to speed on new developments in your field while also showing that you’ve got the inside track on what matters in your industry. This all establishes you as a trusted authority. Provide a professional writer with the facts, figures, and relevant insights, and let them craft the argument or make the case that gets noticed and leads customers to get in touch. Then you can follow it up with ghostwritten social media posts to spread the world.
Lay a Strong Foundation
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the best ghostwriting doesn’t start with the writer. It starts with the client. If you want content that delivers your message in your voice, it’s important to lay a firm foundation for that ghostwriter to build on:
- Before a word is written, assemble your thoughts and discuss with your team the purpose of the piece, as well as the audience that you want to reach.
- Are there previous pieces of content your company has produced that you feel capture the tone and voice you want? Make sure to provide those examples.
- If the marketing department has an in-house style guide or SEO plan, make that information available as well. Your content must not only have your voice but must also be consistent with other company content assets.
If you lay the groundwork for success, you’ll get the most from your ghostwriter and from the content they produce.
Ghostwriting as Collaboration
So what’s the key to generating content that is authentic, effective, and trustworthy? In a word: collaboration. Meaningful and effective collaboration with a ghostwriter can take several forms:
- The client provides not just a topic but also an outline or list of bullet points. Using this outline, the ghostwriter completes a draft, then refines it based on feedback from the client.
- The client creates a rough first draft, which the ghostwriter edits and revises, turning it into a polished piece.
- The ghostwriter interviews the client about the proposed topic, writes the piece, then refines it with the client’s feedback.
Treating your ghostwriter as a collaborator, and not just a hired-gun wordsmith, takes more time and effort, but it’s worth it. The resulting content will be authentic and aligned with your company’s unique voice and vision. At Prose Media, we like to think of ourselves as creative partners for our clients. Talk to us about we can help shape and polish your company’s voice. Sign up for free, no-obligation access to our platform today. We'd love to see what projects you have in mind.