What is ghostwriting and why should anyone hire it?
When people think of the word ghostwriter, they usually think of biography writers who assist celebrities pen down their life stories. Ghostwriting however is a common industry term that refers to writing provided by content writers without credit. Think of the About page of a website, the blogs that are updated daily, the press releases advertising new products that the company sells. All these are essentially the work of ghostwriters.
Content writing is everywhere and new trends crop up daily. Businessmen and companies in need of content are ill equipped to handle content needs on their own. Some companies hire dedicated in-house content teams to lead content marketing and writing efforts for their business. But increasingly, companies have found that hiring freelancers with ghostwriting experience or ghostwriting agencies to be a far more affordable option. This kind of approach is also best suited to start-ups and standalone businesses that don’t have the capacity or the time commitment to develop and maintain a content writing team.
Imagine this scenario-you are a bootstrapped business with limited resources. Your main expenses are related to selling your services. And your main hires are people who are able to provide those services-for example for a graphic design agency-their main team will be made up of designers. But they also need to hire people to manage their content, update their social media because without said marketing, their business will not reach consumers. Think of the expenses involved in hiring and training a team. You have to place ads to hire writers for your content team, vet CVs, find space to house them in case of non-remote workers, invest in plagiarism and writing softwares like SEO and keyword search tools etc. It’s so much easier to hire ghostwriters or a content marketing agency with an existing vetted team of writers who are specialists in specific domains to do the job for you. This is the biggest benefit of hiring ghostwriters-cost and time efficiency. Let’s discuss ghostwriting in more detail.
What should you know before hiring a ghostwriter?
Before hiring ghostwriters, there are certain aspects of the job or ghostwriting contract that you should be aware of. Below, we have listed some common pointers about a ghostwriting relationship that you should keep in mind.
- When hiring ghostwriters, there is an unwritten training period that businesses must be prepared for. While you are obviously not obligated to train the ghostwriters you hire- after all, they are the experts and hired to help you, not the other way around, it will still, take a few projects for the ghostwriters, however experienced to get comfortable with the style and tone of content you desire for your website/blog/social media etc. The more detailed the project guidelines you provide to your ghostwriter or agency, the higher will be the quality of their content. Keep in mind that while the biggest advantage of hiring ghostwriters is that you are saved the time and hassle of churning out necessary content to market your business, you will still benefit from having a dedicated person on the team to create an editorial calendar, liaison with the ghostwriters, maintain and follow up regarding deadlines and payments, create a project map etc. With time, however you can hand over the entire project to the agency or individual ghostwriter too. When creating a project guide there are some things you should clarify upfront. These are deadlines, number of words, voice-active or passive, tone-formal or informal, research heavy or light hearted etc. You should ideally also provide links of samples and references of content that you have already published or other content on the web that you want your ghostwritten content to get a style reference from.
- A contract. You should always have a detailed written contract with mutually acceptable conditions in place when you enter into a ghostwriting relationship with an individual or agency. Depending on the scale of your business and project for which you require work, the contract may be more detailed or a simple two-pager. The duration of relationship will also affect the comprehensiveness of the contract-say a 3 month project for writing content across channels will be more detailed and a shorter 2 week relationship might just require a one-pager detailing duties and responsibilities of each side. Make sure the contract makes it clear that the copyright associated in the work will lie with the company hiring services and not the ghostwriter. While some companies allow their best writers to get credit for their work, you can always negotiate for sole ownership.
- Writers irrespective of whether they are original writers or ghostwriters can sometimes demand estoppels on edits. This is not ideal, especially when you are working with a writer for the first time. Make sure that your ghostwriter or agency that you are working with is clear on the point that your suggestions about edits and revisions are final and must be complied with without deabte. After all, ghostwritten work is owned by the company or business and needs to appeal to them first and foremost. Make sure to provide guidance on style and tone and clarify upfront that you demand that the writer’s style delivers on all accounts with no scope for independent views.
- Some ghostwriters may use text written for you as their reference. It’s normal that they would need some proof of their previous work, but they should discuss it with you before making it public. If you are not comfortable with them sharing the information that you are using ghostwriters, make it clear at the very beginning and put it in the contract. Another option ghostwriters have is sending some paragraphs to potential new clients. This might be acceptable for you if the writer signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with those potential clients.
Where can I hire a ghostwriter for my business?
Are you coming around to the benefits of hiring a ghostwriter? If yes, your next question will likely be how and from where do I find a ghostwriting service to hire. Many articles on Google will recommend cheap freelancers off Upwork or Fiver or even LinkedIn and while these are commonly exercised options, especially for new businesses with limited resources, it is best to start off on your content marketing journey with an established ghostwriting agency. You see, many new companies, businesses and startups that require the services of a ghostwriter are unversed in the complexities of the content writing universe. They are unaware about all that is entailed in the process of content writing. They are unfamiliar with common industry terms like SEO, keywords, search engine ranking and so on. And as a result need the handholding that only an established agency of ghostwriters can provide and which a freelancer off a mass platform like Upwork won’t have the time or inclination to devote their energies to.
A Google search and rankings on industry respected B2B research, reviews and ratings sites like Clutch or Goodfirms will give you an idea of the highest ranked ghostwriting services in your country. And you can then select one from the list depending on your specific needs and budget.
Currently, Write Right, Taletel and Estorytellers are the top content marketing agencies in India offering ghostwriting services along with complete digital marketing packages. These content writing agencies provide a verified quality and plagiarism free guarantee along with revisions and personalized service.
Is hiring a ghostwriter expensive?
Well yes and no. It’s the chicken and egg theory. You need to pay more to get more. But the focus of all investment in life, business or professional should be on the returns. Even if the investment is high, as long as the returns are high too or higher, it all gets balanced out in the long run. With that in mind, you do have the flexibility of negotiating a variety of contracts with a ghostwriter depending on the scale of services needed. You might decide to sign an hourly or monthly project based price for high level projects requiring detailed research.
Say you are a boutique hospital providing cosmetic surgeries. You need your writers to write a few long form, research based articles per month. A per word charging contract would not work in this case as the project is technical and research heavy.
The price of a contract is also dependant sometimes solely on the length and number of words. For short form website content or social media content, you may hire ghostwriters or an agency and offer to pay them per word. Another impact on pricing can be explained with the basic supply and demand rule. The more work a ghostwriter is doing and the busier he/she is, the higher the price they can and will quote. Certain agencies like Write Right and Estorytellers which have specific experience working with startups and new businesses offer extremely cost effective and competitively priced packages. You can choose to work with such agencies for their understanding of startup culture and ability to deliver high quality with relatively lower costs.
Is It a Form of Cheating?
Is it your book if you enlist the help of a ghostwriter? Absolutely. In the book, it’s your tale and your voice. You are still the author, and the ghostwriter is just the pen. They convert your thoughts and words into textual form.
Suppose you have an option if a pipe under your sink bursts. I could either try to fake your way through a video on the Internet and hope that it doesn’t flood your house or you could get a professional to do it for me. Similarly ghostwriting works—they’re expert writers who can assist you with your project. Many celebrities, athletes, and politicians hire ghostwriters to write their books for them. They don’t have the time or the experience to write on their own, so they hire a ghostwriter to help them spread their message. For their books, even fiction writers use ghostwriters. It’s simple to hire a ghostwriter to assist you to write new novels after you’ve established a series and the characters are well-developed. Have you ever wondered how some of your favorite authors manage to publish multiple books each year?
Working with a ghostwriter typically follows one of two pathways, depending on how much the author wishes to write.
The first possibility is that the author writes down whatever comes to mind. The ghostwriter then takes the information and incorporates it into the writing, as well as adds new information and shapes it. The more typical form of ghostwriting is the other option. After interviewing the author, the ghostwriter uses the information to write the book’s content. After that, the author reads it and makes any necessary modifications. It’s a highly collaborative approach regardless of the scenario.
What are the top benefits of hiring a ghostwriter?
There is so much time spent by businesses on coming up with a content marketing strategy, finding keywords, topic ideas, headings, long tail keywords, primary and secondary keywords, content schedules, researching the Google algorthim for search engine ranking changes etc. This leaves them with little time for actually writing the content itself. While these initial activities of keyword search and content scheduling are absolutely essential and unavoidable, companies can reduce their workload by outsourcing the actual writing work to ghostwriters or ghostwriting agencies.
Keep in mind that businesses are running many campaigns simultaneously. Aside from content marketing, businesses may be hiring and managing PPC advertising and offline marketing projects which also requires substantial investment of time and money. And this often makes them put content marketing on the backburner. The fact is that in much the same way that consistency of posting on social media helps with your visibility, consistency is extremely essential for your content ranking on search engines. New businesses especially cannot afford to lose traction. Coming up with keywords, topic ideas, and a content schedules takes enough of a content marketer or business owner’s time, which leaves very little for the actual writing of the content. By hiring a professional ghostwriter or agency, you can offload some responsibility and focus your energy on high level strategizing. This will also ensure that you are creating consistent content and never losing momentum.
When you start thinking about the costs of maintaining an in house team what with salaries and benefits, office space, writing softwares, management costs, taxes etc. it all adds up. By outsourcing content to a ghostwriting service, you can avoid all of those extra costs by only paying for the content when you need it. You see content needs change with seasons and times. A company may need content during specific months when they are launching new products or to promote their new deals. But by keeping an in-house team, you will be obligated to pay them year-around. Increased content production affects your bottom line. Generally, businesses that publish more earn more. This study by Hubspot found the same thing- that companies that put out 16 or more blog posts per month saw three times the amount of traffic compared to those that published only one or two. Ultimately, the amount of content you distribute depends on your profile and strategy, but it’s clear that successful companies need to find ways to create and distribute more content in order to bring in more traffic/leads. This might be an uphill task for an in house team to handle and the cost disadvantage will offset any benefits anyway.
Economies of Scale
By outsourcing your content needs to an agency or individual writer, you will benefit from the economies of scale. To create consistent volume, you need an army of writers who can deliver work within deadlines. With the advantage of their industry expertise, familiarity with the process of content creation and styles needed, you will be able to maximize returns. During leaner months when there is less need for content, you can hire agencies for one time projects. And increase the load when need is higher without being tied down to a restrictive employer, employee contract like in the case of an in-house team.
A qualified expert ghostwriter or agency is well versed with industry trends related to content writing, marketing and SEO. They are aware of best practices, importance of headlines, grammar rules, copywriting no-nos etc. They make your job easier by doing the intellectual heavy lifting of content writing for you. While content writing might seem like creative writing-it is in fact very technical. And hiring a content writer is the best way for your business to get results-believe it or not even single piece of content can bring in tons of traffic and revenue over the course of multiple years. These are called evergreen posts and a good writer can help you craft these unicorns time and again. Talk about a great ROI!
Rights to Content
A ghostwriter gives you all rights to the content created by them which means you can easily and resourcefully use said content for branding or business purposes. This allows you to become an authority in the industry without having to put in the hard labour of research yourself. Many dedicated business owners, experts and leaders in the field often utilize the services of a ghostwriter to elaborate their business acumen, their thought processes and successes. You would be surprised to learn that many trailblazers and titans of industry actually do not possess the writing skills necessary to talk about their own work. They might be great at number crunching, research and development, coding and so on and so forth, but they can’t write about their work in a way that is appealing and saleable. This is where content writers or ghostwriters can really give you a bang for your buck. Collaboration between such people and ghostwriters can help with creating content that promotes their work in an effective way.
Ghostwriters will help you give a fresh perspective on your own industry. And ghostwriters come with myriad expertise that you can use to create all different types of content across domains. A seemingly old and discussed to death subject can get a hard refresh through the skills of an experienced writer with years of success creating viral content, stories and promotions.
Get on the ghostwriting train today. Contact us to learn more about our services.