I often get asked what it means to “ghost-blog” for a client and I think the whole idea may be getting a bad rap. People want to know how they could ethically lay claim to a blog post when they didn’t actually write it, and it wasn’t their words on the proverbial page. That’s where they’re wrong. A good ghostblogger creates content with other people’s words. They write not for their own purposes, but to help achieve someone else’s goal. Aside from the obvious writing skills required, the most important thing a ghostblogger needs is the ability to adopt someone else’s voice.
When it comes to hiring a Virtual Assistant, business owners are often led to believe that anyone providing virtual office support is, by nature, relatively low cost and therefore unskilled. FALSE! Popular advice on “managing” your Virtual Assistant suggests that the hiring process hinges largely on luck, and on the client carefully testing a series of VAs until finding the rare one who can follow directions well enough, and who won’t flake out or disappear halfway through her first or second assignment. Again, FALSE! Contrary to the stereotype, the truth is that there are highly skilled, well-educated, and meaningfully experienced professionals working as VAs today. It’s up to you to find the one with precisely the skillset needed to benefit your business. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, or punching up your marketing materials, then an online Virtual Assistant could be the ghostblogger you didn’t know you needed.
Here’s how it works:
In searching for the right Virtual Assistant, be sure to specify that you need someone with exceptional writing skills. Request writing samples and links to websites to which the candidate has contributed. The more clear you can be about what services you’ll need, the easier it will be to find the right fit. Companies who boast that their VAs can “do anything and everything” aren’t doing you any favors. You don’t need everything; you need specific assignments managed expertly and professionally. And don’t be fooled by websites who bring you impossibly cheap service providers. Quality service is never available at bargain basement prices, and finding that out for yourself will only cost you time and money.
Virtual Assistants who specialize in ghostblogging will usually have writing skills that can serve you in other areas of your business, as well. The audience for your message changes from online to print to internal documents, but whether she’s writing a blog, an employee manual, or your marketing materials, the voice and the brand that represents your business will remain consistent, and it should be exactly the voice you’ve got in mind. Your voice. The right VA will filter all necessary content through the language of your business to create unique, consistent messaging intended to strengthen your brand.
The truth is that majority of smart, successful business owners and executives aren’t so skilled when it comes to writing. And why should they be? A writer wouldn’t be good at doing your job…why would you be an expert in hers?
When you find the right Virtual Assistant with the writing chops you need, the key to getting your blog up and running is ample communication. To write “as you,” your VA will need to understand your style in conversation, writing, business correspondence, social media…all of it! Ghostwriting isn’t impersonation, it’s understanding what the client wants to say and – equally as important – knowing how you would say it, if you were to put your own ideas into writing.
Don’t expect it to happen overnight. If you’ve effectively shared with her your vision and your message, a well-trained VA with strong writing skills will be able to write for you, as you, in a very short time. You should be able to read their work and feel as if it expresses exactly what you wanted to say, but didn’t know how. With the right VA, you should have a prolific source of company messaging helping you to reach new clients, ultimately growing your business…all thanks to the ghost in the machine.
Submission by Jude