Businesses need content to sell their products or services: They need marketing material, web content, sales scripts, instruction manuals… and sometimes they need content written which will actually be the product sold (as in the case of ebooks).
Not everyone can write or wants to write, and that’s where a ghostwriter comes in. Ghostwriters are hired by the business to create content that is attributed to the business rather than the writer. It’s a very common practice in writing.
HERE’S THE PROBLEM
When businesses look for ghostwriters, they don’t always know what to look for. Sure, they look for someone with experience as a writer — preferably with experience in a specific industry or with a specific content type — but beyond that, there are just question marks.
Over the years I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for hundreds of clients and I can tell you that each client comes to the table with a different set of ideas and expectations.
If you need to hire a ghostwriter, here’s what you need to know:
THE FIVE ROLES OF CONTENT CREATION
All written work (regardless of what kind of content you want) is put together by five different roles. These roles can be performed by one person or by more than one person. The roles (in order) are:
- The thinker — The thinker comes up with the clever ideas and catchy elements; they perform content strategy; they consider the audience and the value the audience is seeking; and they solidify the concepts into a workable shape.
- The researcher — The researcher looks at what the market is looking for and how it’s communicating its needs; they look at the competition and what is already on offer; and they look for opportunities (including SEO, marketing messages, etc.).
- The scribe — The scribe takes the ideas from the thinker and the research from the researcher and they write it out; they massage the ideas, if necessary, to create a powerful and focused piece of content.
- The editor — The editor reviews what the scribe has created and makes sure it is aligned with the thinker’s vision and the researcher’s findings; they ensure coherence within the document and between the working document and other content produced by the business.
- The publisher — The publisher makes the content available to the target audience. It could be as simple as copying the text and pasting it into a blog publishing platform, or it could be more complex like printing and binding a book and setting up distribution.
Businesses who hire ghostwriters often bring need one or more of the roles mentioned above, but they don’t always effectively communicate that need.
If you’re a business looking to hire a ghostwriter, look at the five roles above and figure out what you already have and what you need. Then look for a ghostwriter who can perform the roles that you need. You might look for them in a single person or you might assemble a team, depending on the size of your budget and the scope of your project and the skills of your team.
EXAMPLES FROM MY EXPERIENCE
I’ve worked with several clients who have simply said, “I’m starting a business and I want to position myself as an expert. Can you create for me an ebook, sales letter, marketing material, and other sales funnel supporting content?”. These clients hired me to think, research, write, edit, and sometimes even publish their work.
I’ve worked with several clients who have said, “I’ve made a name for myself as an expert in my niche. Here is my content, research, and experience. I’ve got the system in place to take the content you write and sell it.” These clients hired me to be the scribe and editor, and they’ve taken care of the thinking, research, and publishing.
WHY THIS MATTERS
For business owners, knowing exactly what kind of roles you’re looking for in a ghostwriter will help you in the following ways:
- You’ll be able to better manage the project and your budget
- You’ll be able to find a ghostwriter faster and more easily
- You’ll be able to find a ghostwriter who fits your needs
- You’ll be able to communicate more effectively with your ghostwriter
- You’ll end up with a project that is closest to your vision and will help you to achieve your business goals
So the next time you’re looking for a ghostwriter, remember: You’re not JUST looking for a ghostwriter. Be specific about the roles you want your ghostwriter to take on.