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Advanced ghostwriting: Make it personal

Many marketers, copywriters, or content creators might be asked to write for someone else, to support brand positioning efforts at their company. Ghostwriting feels like a lot of responsibility, but it needn't be scary! It can be exciting: an opportunity to position well-founded opinions to an executive’s following. It also offers exposure to other areas of the company which can broaden the writer’s sphere of knowledge. Understandably, you want to get this right.

Whether this is your first time building a ghostwriting plan, or you’re looking to advance your proposals, here are 4 tricks of the trade from seasoned professionals:

A writer is captured in a blurry, spooky image, with the text: Advanced ghostwriting: Make it personal

1. Create chaos before order.

This first tip is not as incendiary as it seems... As a trusted ghost writer, it is not advised to build talking points for one single event at a time, or write one quick microblog for the author before creating a long-term plan.

Rather, the ghost writer should gather as many opinions and viewpoints as possible from the author in one session and allow that to influence several pieces. You can do this via a phone call (keep reading to find out how to get the most out of an interview) or with a Google Form. Ask several short questions that require one line answers, such as:

  • What professional activities do you do every day?

  • What is your favourite tasks at work?

  • What aspect of work do you spend most time talking to your teams about?

  • What aspect of work do you spend most time talking to your friends and family about?

A writer sits on a videoconference call with their marketing client. Both parties are smiling.

2. Choose central themes that match the author’s brand.

It can be tempting to write about anything and everything, given an important person’s platform, but before you put pen to paper, narrow your options. The purpose of ghostwriting is ultimately to build the author’s brand, and thus the company that employs them. And noone can be an expert in everything, so you need to point the author toward realistic goal.

Propose a focused topic that interests the author, in an area where they have:

  1. Expertise. This needs to be coupled with patience to instruct on that subject, as the ghost writer can only build on what the author shares.

  2. A new viewpoint. In other words, they need to add something to the conversation with other experts that few other people can.

To exemplify how narrow the themes should be, aim for specificities of age, location, or experience, such as “burnout of recent graduates in nursing” or “stay-at-home hobbies in 2022”.

3. Know the voice of the person you're writing for.

The first port of call for research should be anything the official author has already written. Many experienced executives will have dabbled in writing articles. Alternatively, check everything from personal emails to company-wide communications they’ve sent out, and detect phrases and vocabulary they gravitate towards.

If you lack access to written material by your client, interview them. It’s a great idea to meet the person you're ghostwriting for and spend a little [ideally recorded] time with them to understand expressions they might use and to garner some personal anecdotes.

To do this, ask:

  • What was your first job like?

  • Can you tell me a time when a colleague surprised you, good or bad?

  • How do you apply learnings from your personal life at the proverbial office?

Write down the author’s signature words and phrases, and make sure you use them in your writing. Keep adding to this list as you spend more time with them!

3. Two men in business attire talk while sitting at a table, the text on the photo reads: Know the voice of the person you're writing for.

4. Plan an editorial calendar for your author.

Treat ghost writing like populating any blog, white paper, or social media project: build an editorial calendar. Use this to get content briefs approved by the author before writing the detailed pieces.

Not only does this save you from spending time working on something the author won’t publish, it allows you to gauge topics that they are truly passionate about, as they ask you to prioritise those pieces.

Looking for a ghost writing plan? We can help, just share your motivation and goals!


4 komentáře

Neznámý člen
07. 4. 2022

Interestin ! Didn't know many people used ghostwriters actually...

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Nadine Heir
Nadine Heir
07. 4. 2022
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That means we're doing a good job of imitating the people we write for 😉

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Stephen Heir
Stephen Heir
07. 2. 2022

Lots of good insights! 👍

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Nadine Heir
Nadine Heir
07. 2. 2022
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Glad they were useful!

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