How to Hire a Ghostwriter: See if the Style Fits

How Can I Know Which Ghostblogger Style Suits My Needs?

Hint: it's all in the act

ghostbloggingacting You’re a small business owner, and you’re busy. While you know you should be blogging to reach your audience, show your expertise and establish trust, you just can’t seem to find the time.  At this stage, many small business owners look to hire a ghostwriter or ghostblogger. A ghostblogger is effectively an actor via writing.

Actors play different roles, depending on their scenes, experience, and talent.  In concert, they weave in directors’ instructions with their own style or interpretations. The actors might also be type-cast based on previous experience, or just might not be experienced and/or talented enough to be able to act in a variety of roles. So it is with ghostwriters.

At the very simple end, there are ghostwriters who take dictation and voice it directly onto the paper, “acting” just as the client (the director) instructed. Other ghostwriters will take direction, and then work it in with their own style. Still others will be the most malleable – able to configure their writing style to represent their client, with minimal if any direction.

How do you decide which style of ghostblogger is best to hire for your business?

One factor is the amount of input you want to put in to the finished work. As one option, there’s the “get it off my plate” scenario, whereby you simply wish to outsource the blog writing to a reputable blogger, have a once-over read, and be done with it. Another model is hiring a blogger who, in consultation with you, takes on the initial majority of the writing, and you do finalizing additions and edits.

The second factor is the style of writing of your ghostblogger. The writing itself needs to feel right to you. As an example, let’s take a small technical support firm working with small businesses. They are looking to expand their reach, and in doing so, were advised by their SEO and marketing consultants to start a blog with biweekly posts. As such, they searched for a blogger to represent their voice while being skilled at appealing to their target audience.

As part of their hiring process, they asked each candidate for a three-sentence sample. The candidates were told to write about a new smartphone app called StarMessage that designates incoming SMS (text) messages with a star if they initiate from a phone number in the user’s address book.

Here are three writing samples, each representing a different style:

1. Salesy

Stop Wondering Who Sent You That SMS

Frustrated with receiving a text message from people with whom you’ve never been in contact? Introducing StarMessage – the new app that allows you to filter for text messages that come from numbers in your address book, allowing you to prioritize the texts from numbers your phone recognizes.

2. Informative

Today’s world is crowded with communication via messaging, be it email, instant messages, or text messages. Often times, cell phone users receive messages from sources they don’t even recognize. A new app called StarMessage serves to deal with this frustration specifically for SMS (text) messages by marking them with a star if they were sent from a phone number in the user’s address book.

3. Hip

Uh, do I know you? Want to mark text messages that come from people you know, versus people you don’t know? Download the StarMessage app so that you can “star” the texts that come in from people in your address book.

As you can see from the above writing samples, a variety of voices can be used, depending on the target market. Even just three sentences about a one-feature app can be worded from different angles, using variant word choices. It’s all in the composition and execution.

When looking to hire a ghostwriter, ask to see 5 writing samples. You’ll be able to assess whether she has focused on one particular field, using a similar “acting” voice, or whether she’s written about a variety of topics, even using different styles. If you think she has potential, ask her to write a sample text for your niche (like the above example), and see if you connect with what you receive.

Ghostbloggers, like most anyone, run the spectrum, and hopefully you will find a good match for your small business blog needs. Encore!


Chaya Leah croppedSubmitted by Chaya Leah