How to become a ghost writer? As a content writer, one is always looking for different content writing assignments.
On job boards, you find many requests for ghostwriters and content writers can freelance as ghostwriters.
For a beginner or someone new to content writing, this may sound weird and something like a scam.
However, ghostwriting is legitimate, and many content writers freelance as ghostwriters for brands.
So, without taking too much time, let us delve into understanding how to become a ghostwriter and what skills do you need
What is Ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is the process of writing for another person. Usually, a celebrity, management executive, leader, or media personality, produces the work and then retains all rights to it.
The ghostwriter may or may not be credited. The ghostwriter is paid for their work but does not receive any credit.
- A ghostwriter is a hired writer and paid to create content for an author.
- They typically work to merge their writing voice with the authors’ voice to create content for the audience.
- E.g., used in the entertainment industry when a celebrity wants to publish a memoir or autobiography but does not have time to write.
- CEOs and top management executives hire ghostwriters to write articles and insight blogs in reputed magazines and publications.
- Ghostwriters create content in other areas such as business, technical writing, and academic research.
What skills are required to become a ghostwriter?
All the skills that a content writer should possess.
There is nothing specific, but a few general skills that help in ghostwriting are-
- It is necessary to be a good writer and understand the brief of the person hiring.
- It is required that you can take directions. The person who is hiring you will usually have a good idea of what they want, and it is your job to be able to take that idea and turn it into a reality.
- Based on the person for whom one is writing the article, you understand the tone, style, personality, and writing proficiency level required to create the content.
Why hire a ghostwriter?
There are many reasons why brands and individuals hire ghostwriters.
For example, if you are a business owner and do not have time to create the content yourself.
Or if you do not think that you have a talent for creating high-quality copy, then hiring a ghostwriter can be the solution to your problem.
Some of the other reasons to hire a ghostwriter are:
- content marketers wanting to publish more content
- You do not have time to write content.
- Skills to write content.
- The knowledge to write content.
- You do not have the confidence to write content.
- You lack the motivation to write content.
Types of content a ghostwriter can create
Ghostwriting is a broad field because of so many types of content you can create with a ghostwriter. These include:
- Blog posts
- Website content (including landing pages, email opt-ins, sales pages, etc.)
- Social media content (including Facebook ads)
- Copywriting for advertising and marketing campaigns
Someone wants to hire a writer for writing press releases, email marketing, or customer service- it is also possible!
There is no limit to what kind of content a ghostwriter can write.
How do you start Ghostwriting- 5 tips to help you start the process
1. Start as a freelance writer looking for gigs
The first step to ghostwriting is to take up freelancing writing assignments. It will help you find clients.
You can build your credibility as a writer and approach your clients who are influencers, brand owners/ authors/leaders for ghostwriting assignments
You can do this after completing a few writing assignments for them
It cuts down on the ghostwriting services pitching part as clients are aware of your writing skills and what you can bring to the table.
As an established writer you are in touch with a vast number of clients who can either avail your writing services or refer you to prospects looking for ghostwriters.
Also, a website can add value to your portfolio.
Clients can refer to your website to understand your writing style and your writing niche.
You could also mention on your website the niche topics you write on and how you would approach it and expect to be paid.
It brings clarity to the clients who want to hire you.
2.Prepare to Write Large Projects
Most ghostwriting projects are for writing books, memoirs, and articles for founders and business leaders in leading magazines and publications.
Book writing and memoir writing requests are most often if not all from lawyers, celebrities, finance gurus, and nutrition and well-being professionals.
Some thought leadership website owners also look for ghostwriters to regularly update their blogs.
However, you should remember writing a book needs a skill set different from blogs and articles.
The word counts are big running into 10k+. It requires commitment in terms of time that you can dedicate to this writing.
Hence if you are a writer not too busy with freelancing gigs, have book writing skills, and have time at hand go for it.
The best part about ghostwriting is you only have to write and not take care of promoting it.
Your job is done once you submit the article or the book.
3. First, work as a freelance editor.
Offer editing services if that is your strength instead of writing.
Many authors are looking for editors either to edit books or articles- technical or otherwise.
If you have the necessary skill, pitch in as an editor, and most of the time authors are happy to include a notation to credit you either as an editor or co-author.
Along with the editing if you are comfortable you can pitch in your writing services for future projects on book/article writing.
4. Learn the art of writing for Others
Remember when you ghostwrite you are writing as someone else.
In other words, you become the person you write for. As a freelancer having your style and tone works but as a ghostwriter, you have to be adaptable.
Understand your client’s persona and write as if the client is writing it. It is an important skill to become successful as a ghostwriter.
One way to understand the client’s persona is to look for their social media handles.
Read what they post on Twitter and LinkedIn. Check if they have written blogs, books, or articles.
If you don’t find any online resources, ask them to send samples of their writing.
It is always best practice to ask for writing guidelines so that there is clarity on the expectations.
That way you can get familiar with their style and write a sample piece for them to see if the client feels it resonates with him.
You can avoid wasted effort if the client is unhappy with the style or feels your writing doesn’t represent him.
Another point that you need to keep in mind as a ghostwriter- if you are writing an autobiography, try and be realistic in your writing.
Do not undersell or oversell their achievements, traits, or personality. It then appears phony.
The audience is already aware of the personality, has read his social media posts at some time, and has a picture of that person.
In case your writing doesn’t match the general picture that people carry about him, your writing fails.
5. Write a book-
it makes sense to write a book or two of your own.
You understand what goes into book writing, the structure and layout of a book, and the time it takes to write one.
The proofreading and editing that requires to be done. Experimenting with your book is a good way to learn how to approach a client’s book with confidence
A point to ponder!!
How To Find The Best Ghostwriters if you are a brand/business
Finding a good ghostwriter for your business is all about knowing what you want out of the project and finding someone who can give it to you.
- What do I want?
First, consider what you would like the ghostwriter to accomplish.
If it is just some general content creation that does not have any specific goals in mind, all you need is someone who can write well and fast.
Make sure they have experience with your industry or niche—you do not want them stumbling over terminology or getting confused with something unexpected from their research.
- You want to build your brand by creating quality content that speaks to your audience’s needs and interests.
- You don’t have time to write original content because of other responsibilities, but you’re willing to invest in finding a writer who can help you meet your goals.
- You want a third party (a writer) to manage the process from start to finish so that it doesn’t take away from an employee’s workload or drain their energy when they need it most.
- They can handle all of your needs from writing blog posts, social media posts, articles, emails & more.
Should I become a ghostwriter, and is it worth it?
As a content writer, you may wonder- is it worth writing and not getting credit for it?
Should you pursue it as a content writer?
It depends on what you want as a content writer.
If you are new to content writing, it is a way to get free writing practice.
You can request permission to cite it in your portfolio. It is a great way to boost your writing experience and make extra money.
There is a lot of potential for ghostwriting to become more popular shortly as many authors have started to credit ghostwriters in a byline.
As a fresh content writer, ghostwriting can become a channel to gain writing experience with monetary benefits.
For experienced writers, it provides a platform to write for industry leaders and top executives.
It gives an insight into their thought process and the kind of articles accepted by top-rated publications like Forbes, Inc., HubSpot, and more.
You also learn the process of book writing. A skill you can use to write your books.H