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Tips For Finding a Perfect Match
“I don’t have time to blog” is a common complaint we hear from clients and prospects alike. In the SEO world, fresh content is king. Without it rankings suffer. But what if writing is just not your thing? The good news is that you can hire a ghostwriter to keep you on track with new blog posts, white papers, and web pages. If you’re like me, you’re picky. If you talk to my business partner, he’d say my standards are unrealistically high. Even so, I’m sticking to my guns. Why? Because blogging and content is a reflection of our brand. As an online marketer, this belief is at my core. Yet, I know that sometimes it takes a village (or maybe a village idiot), to ramp up and sustain the new content beast.
So how do you make sure you hire the right ghostwriter? Other than hiring us, here are some of our best tips:
Clarity About Your Need
What are you looking to accomplish? Believe it or not, most writers have a specialty. Some are great at writing marketing content like email campaigns and newsletters while others are more suited to press releases. Writing for a consumer audience is very different that B2B. Do you want two posts a week or the occasional white paper. Spend time defining your specific writing needs as it will save you time and heartache in the long run.
Interviewing Ghostwriter & Reviewing Portfolios
When you find potential ghostwriter candidates, most likely you’ll want to ask specific and detailed questions. Here are some interview areas to cover::
- writing background (marketing, journalistic)
- experience with a B2B or B2C audience
- any special industry expertise
- writing style
- rates (per hour, per word, per piece)
- typical turnaround times
- number revisions included
- writing samples
You’re looking for a match in terms of their writing ability as well as working chemistry. Trust your gut. You know what you need and what’s most important for your business. A poor personality fit doesn’t bode well for the quality of the content or for your ability to easily publish it.
Rates, Quality & Guarantees
The saying “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to finding the right ghostwriter for your business content marketing needs. I’ve tried several low-cost services and received content so dreadful that no amount of editing could save it. Many services have an online ordering system. They usually provide a way to sift through a directory based upon industry categories, quality levels, rejection rates, and price per word. Depending upon your business, you may get lucky and find a real diamond. If you use this kind of service, scour through author profiles and writing samples.
Your cost per piece ultimately depends upon numerous factors. You’ll need to balance your budget constraints (per post or recurring monthly expense) and quality. In order to keep costs low, writers or writing services may limit the number of revisions. Look closely at service agreements and satisfaction guarantees.
Duplicate content is a no-no for SEO. If you’re going to pay for content, make sure you own the rights for the written material. All blog posts, web pages, articles, e-books, etc. need to be original. If not, you’re opening your business up for copyright infringement and Google penalty filters. If you pay for content, then you own it. If someone asks to be a guest blogger, then you need to provide them attribution. When negotiating with a ghostwriter, be very clear about who owns it and for how long.
Process & Turnaround Times
There are services (like Texbroker) that will turn around your content assignment within days or even hours. For more artisan work, time frames are of course longer. Have a deadline in mind, and then leave room for editing. I’ve found that a ghostwriter is more likely to succeed with an assignment when you communicate the following elements:
- Author information – provide samples or a link to who they need to mimic. Each of us have our own writing voice, and a good ghostwriter will pay attention to those nuances.
- Website and background material – knowing where a post or article will appear or a bit about the company helps with context.
- Reference links – other blog posts or articles that should be referenced in the writing assignment. Asking a ghostwriter to do research affects price, content quality and timing.
- Content outline – creating a sketch beforehand is more cost effective and time efficient. When a writer doesn’t have to guess (or mind read) what you’re looking for, the faster they can deliver the finished product.
If you’re committed to publishing content regularly, then I have one last piece of advice: have more than one ghostwriter. Once you’ve trained them on your writing voice, it gets easier and faster. Then it’s a matter of juggling assignments.
What other hiring tips can you add to my list?
How can we help?
Got writer’s block and need help keeping your content marketing on schedule? Or, do you need help reading Google Analytics reports to better understand keywords and visitor behavior?
We are the spectrum group, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.