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13 things I’d ask if I was going to hire a company ghostwriter

Ghostwriting services don’t often sit high-up in people’s minds as a thing that can make them money. I’ve worked with real estate agents, universities, security professionals, home builders, and a medley of nonprofits. In each conversation about a new or improved website, the notion “You should have a blog” makes sense to them only after they’ve thought about it for a second.

And then they begin to question it again.

“How can blog writing improve our website?” 

“By giving people one of the only two things they can do on the Internet, something to do,” I say.

When you’re on the Internet there are only two things to do in pursuit of two other things: you can read or watch something, usually in pursuit of knowledge of entertainment.

That’s it! That’s all you can do on the Internet. The only exception if you squint is listening to a book or a podcast.

Professional writers know the only way to maintain an audience is to write more and better material. Producers know the only way to maintain an audience is to produce more shows. Same goes for your website. The only to way to grow and maintain an audience is to produce material for that site.

This doesn’t have to be onerous. Yes, it’s a big Internet, but you can niche down to cover material applicable to your region or state, or hyper-focus on a certain characteristic or subset of users of a broader product or service.

And, you can hire a ghostwriter so you don’t have to do any of the writing.

A freelance writer or professional writer isn’t necessarily an experienced ghostwriter

Ghostwriting services provided by many — maybe most — agencies targeting small business outsource their writing. You might be talking to a professional ghostwriter during your intake, but they may send drafts and briefs out to third parties, in the U.S. or elsewhere, for curation.

You may also end up talking with a freelance writer who has spent more than a decade working in one subject — like technical writing for engineers — and may struggle to match writing styles with your business. 

An experienced company ghostwriter can shift their writing style to match whoever they’re working with (which is very hard to do). And they can pick up just about any topic in a reasonable amount of time.

If I was hiring ghostwriting services for myself, here’s everything I’d ask that person:

  1. What is your preferred work style?
  2. What is your preferred writing style?
  3. Do you outsource to editing services, or do you edit yourself? How do you edit?
  4. Do you have clients similar to me/us that you also do ghostwriting services for?
  5. What’s the publishing process look like? Do we publish to the site, or do you?
  6. Have you ever written books? Do you offer book writing services? (This may be useful if you intend to publish a business book, and a dedicated business book ghostwriter is more appropriate for your needs.)
  7. What kinds of ghostwriting services do you offer? Is it just blogs? What about white papers? Reports? Ads?
  8. How can you possibly know everything about our work? What’s your research work like? 
  9. Do you have the writing ability and time to educate or talk to our audience? 
  10. If we wanted to compile posts or work later into a business book, do we have that ability?
  11. Is there a particular subject you just don’t like writing about?
  12. Do you take multiple clients from the same industries? 
  13. Are there any past clients or past projects we talk to or see?
  14. What kind of non disclosure agreements are in place, if any?

Important things to keep in mind with ghostwriting services

In my tenure as a web designer+developer-turned-professional-writer, I’ve discovered that most of the material written on the Internet isn’t that complicated. This is a blessing and a curse because most people Googling for things — which is what blog writing ghostwriter services seek to tap into — are asking questions. And if you don’t answer people’s questions, you won’t get a lot of traction.

In the online world, this leads to a lot of low-value junk designed to get clicks. A professional ghostwriter is going to care a lot about “high-quality content”. Professional ghostwriters don’t want to shovel more crap on to the Internet. There’s already plenty of that.

I sometimes like to describe myself as a “brand journalist”, quietly reporting on the inner workings of a company or organization. I often tell people when I talk to them, “I’m here to make everyone look good in an open and honest way.”

An experienced writer can pick up just about writing style or project brief. I also often tell people, “We’re going to write a business book, one chapter at a time by way of blog writing. It’ll be your own book written over months or years. The result will be competitors who can’t catch you online.”

Me? I like to figure out ways to turn blog writing into a short story. Not everyone needs that for every post (this post isn’t a story, after all). But where possible, a short story of 2,000 words broken up with headings, lists, images, and other media can make the entire writing process a breeze, and generates significant interest from people who care.

There’s an axiom on the web that everyone only needs 1,000 true fans to be successful and profitable. A professional ghostwriter can:

  • Help your clients properly understand what you do
  • Give you material for your social media channels and email campaigns
  • The best ghostwriters can review data and generate ideas designed to compete online
  • Provide timely delivery of consistently interesting and helpful pieces
  • Move between different genres of writing — from technical, to short story, to white papers, to press releases and more.

Get started with a skilled ghostwriter

If you’re ready to get started, either on a new business book, blog writing, or some other bit of consulting, I possess a unique set of skills:

Contact me to get started.


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Photo of Justin Harter

About JUSTIN HARTER

Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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