8 Successful Tips on Hiring the Perfect Ghostwriter for Your Online Content

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!

Deb Lamb

Deb Lamb is an enthusiastic Ghostwriter and Article Expert who provides dazzling Ghostwriting and Article Marketing services. Her superb research abilities produce the highest quality of content created just for you and your content desires! Deb has authored hundreds of articles on many topics and subjects. She has worked with many Authors providing ghostwriting, proofreading, and editing to books they have published in print. She has provided content for online and small business owners, entrepreneurs, internet marketers, job seekers, religious professionals, coaches, relationship therapists, virtual assistants, bail agents, sports sites, aviation and engineering companies, career and educational sites. Find out how she can give you that one thing that is priceless…Time! Follow me: http://www.twitter.com/urevrythngsvcs Website: http://www.youreverythingservices.com 

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  5 comments for “8 Successful Tips on Hiring the Perfect Ghostwriter for Your Online Content

  1. May 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Deb,

    Thanks for this post.

    I’d add two other critical items to consider when hiring a ghost writer (and I speak as a provider for over twenty years and also an occasional client – learned a long time ago that it’s better to contract out my brochures to others as the time it takes me noodling it to death is not well spent):
    1.

  2. May 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Not sure why the comment posted before I finished, but here’s what I’d recommend as two additional issues to consider:
    1. Can the ghost writer capture your voice (this is particularly important for media submissions, books and speeches)? This takes a special talent, but there are a good number of writers out there who can spend twenty minutes or so on the phone with you (sometimes with multiple interviews, depending on the scope of the project)and produce a product that ‘sounds just like something you would say.’
    2. Is the ghostwriter an insightful and effective interviewer? With technology today, most writing assignments are done remotely and it’s critical to engage a ghost writer who can draw out your (or your client’s or your employee’s) character by making them comfortable enough to reveal the gems. In many cases, you’ll never meet your ghost writer face-to-face, but he should be able to ‘know’ you by drawing on skills that help reveal what’s hidden in your mind’s eye.

  3. May 26, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Hi Nanette,
    Those are awesome tips to add to the list! I agree that capturing someone’s “voice” is probably one of the hardest things to accomplish. However, as you mentioned, it may take many interviews and consultations but I believe eventually it can be done. It has to be done to be successful as a Ghostwriter…LOL. You are certainly correct; you do have to have that special talent and an insightful instinct.

    As far as being an effective interviewer…that is a great point! I’ve never really had a problem with this one, and it could be due to my experience as a Sr. Technical Recruiter and the huge amount of interviews I’ve conducted. But there are many people out there that have a problem with this one. They may have a hard time speaking with people and may not know what to say. I believe you have to have the sort of personality that is easily adaptable to the many personality’s people posses.

    You have provided some excellent tips and things to consider that many may not ever think of. Thanks for taking the time to add those and for commenting on my post. Thanks for also sharing your knowledge and expertise. Make it a beautiful day!

    Deb :)

  4. May 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    You’re welcome, Deb.

    I come from an interviewing background too (newpaper reporter and public affairs radio host), but it’s not just about interviewing, the key is in having the off-the-cuff skills to draw someone out of their pat answer mode and into an engaging, interesting and passionate discussion. That’s where the beauty of being able to recognize the importance of what’s not being said comes into play. Sometimes it’s just and off-handed comment that provides a gold mine of information from the client that they didn’t realize was significant. It’s a bit of a dance when done right.

    Frankly, I believe clients should expect deliverables that reflect their voice. After all, isn’t that what a ghost writer is supposed to do? Listening carefully and learning to ask the right questions helps a lot. This gives you a sense for passions, ‘author’ go-to words and the style of the individual (or company they represent).

  5. May 28, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Good morning Nanette,
    Wow! Such awesome guidance and advice. I greatly appreciate that.

    You are SO right about the key being able to draw someone out of their “pat answers” and really getting to the core. And I also agree with you that Ghostwriters should be able to deliver the “voice” of their clients.

    Thanks so much Nanette for such great guidance! Happy Memorial Day!

    Deb :)

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