Let me be really clear – there’s nothing wrong with deciding to hire a ghostwriter. You don’t do everything in your business, right? You are probably already outsourcing the tasks that you are either not good at, don’t like, or don’t have time for. Most people start out with outsourcing their bookkeeping, taxes, or sending out their newsletter.
A ghostwriter is just another person on your team who helps you get it all done!
Here are some great reasons to hire a ghostwriter:
- You don’t like writing or feel you’re not good at it. I’m a firm believer that everybody has a story to tell but I 100% get it that not everybody is in love with the written words.
- Tasks like your blog, book, newsletter, or articles keep getting added to your to do list and then stay there, day after day, week after week.
- There are other activities that only you can do. Instead of being a money-making activity, these writing activities are taking you away from other things that do make you money.
I want to say this clearly: it’s not a failure AT ALL to bring in a writer! You’re an expert at what you do and people pay you for your knowledge, skills, and passion. Writers are the same and we love to write!
Here’s what you need to do before hiring a ghostwriter:
1. Be realistic about your budget
You might be able to get a writer on the cheap but is the writing of any quality? This writing is representing your business – more than video, podcasts or interviews ever can. You don’t need to pay through the nose, but don’t expect a quality writer to be cheap either.
2. Look at their credentials
Your writer should be a native English speaker or have the writing skills of one. Ideally she should have a degree in writing (Creative Writing or Journalism) or English. If not, then years of experience will also do the trick!
3. Be clear about your expectations
Nobody is going to write EXACTLY like you do but a good ghostwriter should come close. However, understand that there will be a process while your writer gets to learn your voice so there might be more edits in the beginning. You’ve got to be okay with letting go and letting the writer do her job. That being said, if she isn’t matching your voice and style, you might need to look elsewhere.
4. Ask for writing samples
Ideally for a variety of topics and styles. Some writers aren’t able to disclose who their clients are so the samples might have been modified to keep the identity of the client private.
5. Get it in writing
The ONE TIME I didn’t get a client to sign a contract it turned out to be a disaster for both of us. Lesson learned! Now I don’t work without a signed agreement that outlines the scope of work, payment, and deadlines. Verbal agreements aren’t enough. To protect both of you, get it in writing! (The writer should provide the contract – be wary of any writer who can’t/doesn’t.)
6. Be very clear about your project
Okay, I’m putting my writer hat on here! Writers HATE scope creep – this is where I’m contracted to write an XYZ and it’ll be 700 words and you’re providing the research and this morphs into an ABC that’s 1,200 words and I have to do the research myself. Ugh! As the client, express what you want clearly. If that changes mid-project (it happens, it’s okay) ask you writer how she wants to handle it and be prepared to pay more.
7. Be clear about your deadlines
Deadlines aren’t just when the writer will get back to you – it’s also when you’re getting back to the writer. It’s unreasonable to expect a Tuesday deadline when you said you’d get the materials in by Thursday but you really sent them Monday afternoon. Deadlines are a two-way street!
8. Keep lines of communication open
Stuff happens, life gets complicated, what seemed easy and straightforward isn’t always. Make sure your writer feels she can come to you with questions, challenges, etc. and get back to her promptly. If you can’t get her what she needs to move forward, explain when it will happen and how you can move the deadline to accommodate. Chances are, you’re not her only client.
9. Ask for recommendations (to find a writer)
Sure you can try an outsourcing website or just Google ‘ghostwriter’ but the best way to find a writer is to ask your business associates for a recommendation. Chances are, they know somebody who’s a writer or use somebody themselves.
10. GIVE recommendations
Did you think your writer did a great job? Share the love! Writers need new clients and you probably have business friends who could use a writer. If you like to tell people about a movie or restaurant, then take that same sharing enthusiasm to the people on your team! (This applies to your bookkeeper, VA, etc!)
And yes, I offer ghostwriting services! I would love to chat about your project and see if we’d be a good fit.