There are ghosts out there. They mostly go unnoticed, and are often misunderstood, but there are plenty of them – and they can be really useful.
Reputation is a key to success in whatever it is that you do, whether that’s running a business, a charity or a public sector organisation. And a ghostwriter can help you to get your message out there (as a blog post, opinion article or maybe a speech) in a way that establishes your expertise, without taking up too much of your valuable time.
You’d be surprised by how many ghosts there are doing business by helping people find ‘their’ voice. The best of them work with celebs and politicians, but ghostwriting is also one of the most useful content marketing tools.
Here’s an example of how it can work. This week I’ve been working with a long-term client, a UK-wide conservation charity, on its membership magazine. It is a classic exercise in brand journalism and the emphasis is on filling the pages with bright, readable stories that connect with current and future supporters.
Each edition includes an opinion column. In the early days, this 300-word article was the work of a guest writer, often one of the organisation’s senior executives or a celebrity patron.
They would get a brief, but being non-writers they would struggle to stick to it. Their draft would then cause a headache for the editor, who would (diplomatically) ask for a re-write. And sometimes, a second re-write.
To save time I now ghost the piece.
Here’s how it goes. First off, I have a chat with me interviewee to get to know them and their story. Then we go into a more structured interview, which I record.
The interviewee has to sign up to less than an hour of effort. The sound files can then be transcribed to produce raw text. There’s always much more material than the required 300 words, but the best bits can be cut out and worked into a flowing narrative. It’s rather like movie editing.
Last comes the nail-biting bit – copy approval. Which can go badly, but for the most part doesn’t. Most people are delighted and find it a little spooky (excuse the pun) to ‘hear’ themselves as text.This week’s ghosted column was emailed off to the interviewee a week ago, and then there was an uncomfortable silence.
This week’s ghosted column was emailed off to the interviewee 10 days ago, and then there was an uncomfortable silence. As time went on, we began to worry.No need. It turned out that my subject had been away on an off-grid camping trip and her reply email began: “Wow, what a brilliant piece – captured it all superbly.”
But it turned out that my subject had been away on an off-grid camping trip. When her reply email arrived it began: “Wow, what a brilliant piece – captured it all superbly.”