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What is a Ghostwriter and Does Your Company Need One?

It takes an average of 3 hours and 21 minutes to write a 1,151 word blog post. More complicated or technical blog posts take even longer, up to 6 hours for a 2,000 word tutorial, article, or research piece. This time frame doesn’t necessarily depend on experience, either. Some of the world’s most prolific expert bloggers struggle to create content on a timely basis. Writer Neil Patel takes between 4 and 5 hours to create quality content, while Buffer’s Kevin Lee labors up to 12 hours per post.

Writing quality content takes time. If you don’t have the space in your schedule to create, research, and publish content on your own, finding a professional ghostwriter could pay dividends in the future.

Ghostwriters are experienced writers that create content without a byline. These professionals create highly personalized, carefully researched, valuable content that provides practical thought leadership for companies and the customers they care for.

Ghostwriters are an incredible asset for nearly any modern business, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily fit your commercial needs. Depending on the size, age, or niche of your business, a ghostwriter may be less efficient than in-house work. Before sinking money into a long-term writing relationship, understand your needs, your industry position, and the results you want from a regular stream of content.

Let’s explore the meat and potatoes of modern ghostwriting, and the criteria for determining their use in your company niche. This includes:

  • What do ghostwriters write?
  • The pros and cons of ghostwriters
  • Tips for finding a great ghostwriter
  • Do you really need a ghostwriter?

What Do Ghostwriters Write?

Ghostwriters can tackle almost any kind of written content, depending on your needs and their specific niche. Assuming your business doesn’t already have an in-house content creator, ghostwriters are a wonderful way to streamline content production through an increase of thought leadership.

There are four primary categories of ghostwriters:

  • General ghostwriters work on widely distributed content that doesn’t need specific experience. Blogs, SEO articles, and e-books are usually within their wheelhouse.
  • Technical ghostwriters cover a plethora of topics depending on their industry experience. From Kubernetes and web development to specific software, ghostwriters can develop blogs and tutorials that cover the entire industry playing field.
  • SM ghostwriters specialize in developing social media and newsletter content for yourself and your business. They have the ability to write in your voice, leverage your brand’s tone, and otherwise create authentic copy that reflects your business personality.
  • Research ghostwriters combine hard numbers with flowing, professional-sounding copy. White papers, case studies, and business reports are typically their forte.

The types of content produced by your ghostwriter depend on their experience, your growth strategy, and the marketing campaign in question. In some cases, you may not need a ghostwriter at all. This largely depends on how equipped you are to navigate the potential downsides of ghostwriter content production.

The Pros And Cons Of Ghostwriters

Although ghostwriters can be a powerful force for good within your organization, they aren’t always a great fit for everyone. It’s a good idea to understand the pros and cons of having a writer on standby, and how it might affect your business in the future.

Pro: Less Work For You

Ghostwriters have the potential to save clients more than 300 hours of writing work per large project. What business leader could resist that? Ghostwriters all but eliminate the time you spend drafting, researching, and interlinking written documents. Depending on the type of work or business in question, ghostwriters could even create a backlog of content that is drip released over time.

Pro: Experienced Writing Help

You could have decades of experience in your niche and industry, but absolutely no familiarity with the writing process. Having a professional ghostwriter on your team can help you focus and refine your efforts using industry best practices. The benefits of high-quality content have been noted for decades, particularly in driving traffic. The folks at Earthly ramped up their technical ghostwriting production with Draft.dev, and enjoyed a whopping 346% increase in blog traffic.

Con: Good Ghostwriters Are Expensive

The market rate of a ghostwriter varies according to their experience levels, industry, and project type. Some writers prefer to charge by word, while others use hourly or per-project pricing. According to Scribe, the lowest you might expect to pay for a ghostwriter is $24,000, with the highest end being $100,000 or more. The point being: if you can’t afford to spend a minimum of five figures per year on a good ghostwriter, you’re better off looking for a different solution.

Con: The Interviewing, Hiring, And Coaching Process Takes Time

Ghostwriters have the potential to save you hours of precious time. However, they also require a little in return. Objective sheets, keyword mapping, and brief documents are vital elements of the writing process, and often require some input on your end. If you aren’t prepared to give a little time to your ghostwriters, don’t expect to receive the best possible copy in the end.

Tips For Finding A Great Ghostwriter

If you can confidently address the downsides of ghostwriting while still reaping the benefits, hiring a professional could be the next best step for your business.

Ghostwriters generally come in one of three capacities: freelance, in-house, or agency. Once you identify your needs, topics, and writing style, you can start hunting for the perfect addition to your business.

First, consider your options. Could you afford to pay for an in-house ghostwriter (and find enough work to keep them busy)? Are you willing to manage the hiring process for a contractor or freelancer? Or would an industry-specific agency be the right fit?

In any case, finding and working effectively with a great ghostwriter takes time. You’ll need a lot more than a few job listings to find the right candidate, especially if you’re posting them on highly trafficked sites. As always, the perfect intersection of price, availability, and experience starts with identifying your needs.

  • What’s the size and scope of your writing projects? Will there be work on a monthly basis, or just occasionally? These questions narrow your selections down to ghostwriters with set availabilities.
  • Does your industry require a lot of experience? Be sure to tailor your job description accordingly.
  • How much are you willing to compensate your writers? Beware: you get what you pay for in this industry.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, you can begin the hiring process in earnest.

  • Look for writing candidates in more than one place: ghostwriting platforms, personal networks, or aggregate sites like LinkedIn. You might be surprised how easily you can find a ghostwriter within your local community.
  • Have all candidates complete a test project that mimics future work, complete with deadlines. Note: writers that are not deadline-oriented are more hobbyists than professionals.
  • Degrees, titles, and certifications don’t always mean much in the world of writing. Instead, ask writers about their references, previous clients, or general workflows. This will provide you with great insights about what to expect from a long-term relationship.
  • Ask potential writers serious questions about your industry or niche. If they don’t answer them to your satisfaction, or if they don’t seem to have a full grasp of the topic, they might not have the experience you’re looking for.

If you want some other tips and tricks to find ghostwriters for hire, start by giving our recent blog a read. It’s jam-packed with all the specifics you need to move forward in confidence.

Do You Really Need A Ghostwriter?

Let’s get down to the heart of the issue. If you’re running a startup, a young business, or a smaller enterprise with limited funds, chances are that a full-time ghostwriter isn’t in your best interests. Not only are they a little pricey for beginning companies, but you can likely handle the majority of projects in-house.

Larger SMEs, though, are a completely different story. If your business is starting to get some real traction, or if you’re growing faster than you can scale, ghostwriting services could be an excellent fit. Freelancers and agencies are all potential options, depending on how you want to scale in the future. For flexibility and onboarding within less than two months, agencies are a splendid alternative.

If you’re looking for technical writing work without worrying about quality, Draft.dev could be a great option. We specialize in helping technology companies find new ways of reaching software decision makers, generating blog posts, tutorials, and even social media content. It’s all in your court: your ideas, your UVPs, our hand-picked team of ghostwriters.

Book some time here to chat about your current writing strategy, and learn how Draft.dev can help it grow.

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Meagan Shelley

By Meagan Shelley

Meagan is a professional writer in VA that specializes in content marketing, research, and SEO. If she's not helping people craft their own stories, she's working on some of her own. When she takes time to step away from the laptop, she enjoys hiking, farmer's markets, and occasional thru-hikes.