Does the idea of writing as a ghost blogger for a client make you nervous?
I hear from a lot of writers who wonder how that’s done. How do you successfully write as someone else? And how do you keep from becoming a schizophrenic if you’re ghost blogging for multiple clients?
I’ve also heard from quite a few writers who’ve tried ghost blogging but ended up with unhappy clients. The posts just didn’t ‘sound’ right. Something was off.
And they ended up losing the gig. Which really hurts, especially if you’ve lined up a good freelance blogging client who’s paying $100 a post or more.
I hate when that happens! So today, I have a couple of strategies to share that will help solve this and help you become a better freelance writer.
2 Steps to perfect ghost posts
There is an easy way to do this ventriloquist trick, where your writing comes out sounding just like the client would have written it. Your client is ecstatic, the posts are easy to write, and this gig becomes a nice, ongoing deal.
It’s a two-step process that I’ve done many times, and it works like a charm.
I caught on to these tricks fairly early on in my small-business ghost-blogging career, sort of by accident. Once I tried these techniques, I was blown away by the results.
Clients universally raved about my ghostwritten posts. “That sounds just like how I would have said it!” they’d say.
How can you do this? It takes a little time. Really, very little! A half hour ought to do it.
Here’s how to become a terrific ghost blogger — fast:
Make an appointment
Tell the client you need a half-hour chat with them to get the blog rolling. You probably need to talk to them anyway, just to map out the topics you’ll write about and firm up a publication schedule.
Lots of freelance writers have an aversion to client meetings and talking on the phone, and try to get this figured out on email or instant chat. Do *not* do this with ghost blogging clients.
Instead, get them on the phone, and start a conversation. Tell your client you’d like to ask a few questions to learn about their business and get up to speed. Some questions that work great:
- Why did you start your business?
- Who are your customers and how do you solve their problems?
- What are the biggest challenges in the business today?
- The biggest opportunities?
- What are you hoping to accomplish with the blog?
Get a business owner talking about what they do and their marketing goals, and you’ll hardly be able to shut them up. You’ll hear their passion coming through and learn why they love what they do.
Either record this conversation or take lots of notes. Pay particular attention to words and phrases they use repeatedly. Note industry jargon and ask what it means.
Presto: Now you have a written record of exactly how your client ‘sounds.’
Pick up those words and phrases and industry lingo and use them in your ghosted blog posts. If they like to start sentences with, “Anyways…” or say “sooner than later” a lot, use it in your post.
The results will amaze you. Clients will wonder how you got it to sound just like them!
Simple: You listened, and you used their words in their posts. No surprise, they love it.
Do an exercise
One more thing while you’re having that client chat that will help you is to ask them one key question. This will help you to write the posts so they’re in the tone and style the company wants.
Yes, you can study their existing marketing materials for a bit of this, too. But pose this one challenge to your client, and you’ll nail it.
Ask the client to describe what they want customers to feel about their company when they read the blog. What are they trying to convey about their business, at the emotional level? Ask them to use no more than five adjectives for this description.
Is their company friendly? Approachable? Authoritative? Innovative? What are the most important values they want to impress on readers?
Make your client give you a list of descriptors, and it’ll be easy to craft prose that delivers on their vision.
Now when you sit down to write ghosted blog posts, you aren’t facing a blank page. You have ideas, you have their own words in front of you as a swipe file, and you understand the tone they want to set with their blog.
What are your ghost blogging tips? Leave them in the comments.