Hiring a Ghostwriter — “a person who writes books, articles, (business blogs) etc. for another who professes to be the author”— can be a difficult task. You, as a business person, may not have the slightest notion of where to start. You may not know what questions to ask candidates, or where to find them, or you feel it is a task difficult to outsource, or you feel you need to remain in control, or you may not know how to qualify a good writer. And there many other questions that may run through your mind.
Here are my 8 tips for successfully hiring a Ghostwriter:
1. Define Your Needs
It’s imperative that you define your needs to determine exactly what it is you are hoping to accomplish. Do you need web content, article marketing, blog posts, newsletters, press releases, special reports, email campaigns, eBooks or white papers? Not only will this give you a clear picture, but it will also help in describing it to your potential Ghostwriter. Writers need as much information up front in order to give you a fair and accurate rate for your tasks. So, be ready with some clear objectives, schedules, and deadlines.
2. Interview the Chosen Ghostwriter
Okay, so you’ve done your research and located some potential ghostwriters, now conduct an interview with them. Have a list of interview questions already set up and ready to go. Ask specific questions related to your niche, services, or industry. Ask for references from previous clients, and/or samples of their work. Don’t be afraid to ask tons of detailed questions. You need to be sure you are comfortable with what they can produce, and if they have the experience you seek.
3. Consider Pricing and Rates
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a Ghostwriter based only on their rates. Remember, you get what you pay for, and this is a reflection on you as well. Ghostwriters just write the content; however, that content represents you as if you wrote it, and shines a light on you as the expert in your niche. So be careful when choosing someone with the lowest rates. I would recommend getting rid of the lowest and highest bids you have received. Work within the middle range and you are more apt to find that perfect match to produce your content.
4. Check Writing Samples and Portfolios
Always ask for writing samples, clips, links to published work, and references. You may not need all of those to determine the best Ghostwriter for your needs, but figure out what would represent their writing style the best and go with that. After they have provided all of that and you’re still not sure, ask them to write a short sample of the sort of content you specifically need. You might even consider hiring them for a short trial run to determine if they can consistently provide the right content. Have them possibly create two or three blogs posts or a couple articles for a couple weeks with the understanding this is a trial run with no further commitments. This will show you what sort of “voice” they use and if it will fit into your niche and industry.
5. Verify Ownership of the Written Material Produced
Very important to set clear and detailed objectives as to who will own the work once the writing is completed. Ghostwriters should know that the content they produce will be owned by you with no reference to them at all. There are some variations to this though, and that certainly needs further discussion with your Ghostwriter. Make sure you convey what you are expecting. This is also something you may consider adding to your service agreement contract or your non-disclosure agreement.
6. Consider a Warranty or Guarantee
You might consider having a support clause or warranty to ensure you have continued support once the project is completed. You might need some slight changes, updates or corrections to your completed project. These are terms than can be negotiated by specifying a certain amount of free support, or discounted rates for any modifications you may need within a reasonable time frame. This will save you money, time and stress in the future.
7. Know the Details of the Service Agreement
In most cases, the Ghostwriter will provide a service agreement before work commences. It is critical to be protected and have in writing specific details of the writing project. Things like a cancellation policy, change policy, non-disclosure, warranty clause, payment intervals, work ownership, and rates. If there happens to be changes, make sure to get it in writing and both parties agree. Additionally, keep records of emails, service agreement modifications, and any other correspondence pertaining to your project.
8. And of Course, Don’t forget Etiquette and Housekeeping
Always be considerate and respectful of your Ghostwriter’s time. In most cases they have other clients they service in addition to your project. We know there are going to be things come up that are totally out of our control and cannot be helped, but keep in mind and try to avoid the following: adding more to your project once it has already been determined, changing a deadline (especially moving it up), asking for additional services for free, calling at odd hours of the day (adhere to their office or working hours), emailing every time you think of something (wait and send one email with everything you need).
Above all, be honest, kind, dependable, understanding, ethical, and respectful. With those attributes, you and your Ghostwriter will have an outstanding long-term relationship that will ultimately result in increased sales. That’s what we are all aiming for right?
Take time to incorporate these eight steps into your Ghostwriter search and you’ll end up with the perfect fit for you and your business. Finding, hiring, and assembling the right outsourcing staff is worth the time and investment. It will save you tons of headaches down the line.
What are some of the guidelines you go by when seeking outside help? Do you outsource any writing projects? Leave a comment and share some of your expertise. Thanks for your time!