What a Ghostwriter Can Do for You
What a Ghostwriter Can Do for You. Trust and credibility are vital in creating consumer confidence. Promotional books and articles with your byline are the best kind of confidence-building free publicity, producing results rivaling those of standard advertising. If you?re a business owner whose marketing plans include publication or a Web presence, an experienced professional ghostwriter can help you focus on your subject, organize your ideas, and then write persuasively to your target audience.
Do you ever have red-hot ideas for articles, books or a website, but never get around to doing anything about them? Don?t feel like the Lone Ranger. Even if they could grind out passable copy themselves businesspeople should be doing what they do best?minding the store, not staring at blank sheets of paper!
If that?s you, but you still believe in using the media or your own website to build your business, consider hiring a professional ghostwriter.
Or, if you've already written a book, article or webpage and think it?s ready for the publisher or webmaster, think again! A professional copywriter?s objective critique--complete with line edits and grammar, style and consistency checks--can spell the difference between acceptance and rejection.
What Does it Cost?
Ghostwriters? fees vary. Many charge by the hour, some by the word; still others are paid by the job. Rates may be negotiable, and dividing the charges into multiple payments is usually an option. Most ghostwriters ask clients to sign a contract, make a down payment (typically 50%) and charge a kill fee if the job is cancelled. Clients requesting in-depth consultations may be asked for a retainer. Though not refundable, retainers usually are applied to any project charges.
Whatever the cost, it?s worth it if you get good results. People like doing business with trusted experts. Being published in local or national media--or your own industry?s press--is the best kind of free publicity, and automatically separates you from the competition. As a marketing technique, promotional articles with your byline can produce results rivaling those of standard advertising. The exposure can persuade new customers to try your products and services, and reinforce your reputation with existing buyers. It can also generate traffic to your website and convince local journalists to call you when they need an expert news source or high-profile interview subject.
Talk about building your reputation and boosting your credibility! Being published is a great way of telling people what you can do for them. The more often potential customers see your name and read about your business, the more confident they?ll be in buying your products or services.
How Does it Work?
It all begins with a phone call or email inquiry to the ghostwriter or ghostwriters you?ve selected. From there, ghostwriters will typically interview you over the phone and by email (often for free). Let?s say you want an article on ?Designing Widgets??the ghostwriter will need a detailed summary of your ideas to create a series of review drafts, which will go back and forth for your edits and, eventually, your approval. Ghostwriters will work closely with you until the job is done to your satisfaction. Once you?ve signed off on it, they can call their media contacts (or yours) to shop your article.
A book-length project follows the same pattern, but takes longer and costs more?sometimes a lot more. You might want to test the waters with a self-published e-book before plunging into print publishing. E-books can be made available on a website (your own or someone else?s), and have become popular and highly effective marketing tools.
Whatever the job, however, talented, experienced ghostwriters know how to provide value to their clients. At the end of the day, the ideas are all yours and the finished product carries your byline. Articles with free-reprint rights are routinely published in ezines and by websites, both of which can generate results, though you may prefer writing to a local readership.
For example, a financial advisor I work with approached his town's newspaper about writing for them on money matters. His name and reputation earned him a monthly 500-word column. Although he has plenty of ideas, he has a lot more profitable things to do than write. Spending a few minutes a month on the phone with me laying the groundwork for each column is a smart, efficient use of his time. It lets me do my job, while the advisor spends more time where he needs to be: in front of prospects and clients.
Selecting a Ghostwriter ? Talent, Versatility & Experience
Basically, you can choose from among three types of ghostwriters: Full-time professionals who know your industry; generalists with experience in different subjects, or amateurs.
? Full-time professionals who know your industry may charge more, but can probably get off the ground more quickly, with less time spent getting up to speed on your subjects.
? Generalists with experience in different subjects may require more of your time upfront, depending on their learning curves, but they can usually produce the results you seek.
? Amateurs are often a popular choice, since using volunteers or college students who may have decent writing skills but lower compensation expectations are thought to be a money saver?but you usually get what you pay for.
A talented professional can help you focus on your subject, organize your ideas, and write persuasively to your target audience. In selecting a ghostwriter, then, it?s usually best to interview several candidates looking for someone versatile enough to use different styles and work with different topics and media. Ghostwriters can be found online (try a Google search, a job board like guru or elance), or through word-of-mouth. Ask someone who has used a ghostwriter for a recommendation, or contact local news outlets or professional journals for referrals.
But no matter whom you chose, always get resumes and writing samples, and look for someone you?re confident will do the best job for you.
Because third-party influence can be more potent than self-promotion, consider using a ghostwriter to write about your business under his or her name or using a fictional pen name. But understand that this technique may dilute your appeal as a subject-expert among media outlets. Some business owners get around that by using two-name bylines: their own and the ghostwriter?s.
No one can guarantee publication, but you can and should expect ghostwriters to produce words you?ll proudly call your own. Bottom line: working with a pro gives you the best value for your marketing dollar.
It?s a good investment in your business.
About the Author: Bill Willard, President of Willard Associates, has over 30-years experience providing high-impact written communications to small-business owners and independent professionals. A Phi Beta Kappa and former managing editor, he lives in Clearwater, FL. firstname.lastname@example.org