There’s an incredibly narcissistic part of me which wants to see my name next to as many articles and posts as possible. For my name to be internationally recognised in the world of online writers and bloggers, but not for the reasons you might think. I don’t want to show off down the pub to my mates or leverage my questionable fame for favours and freebies, but rather want name recognition for the successful marketing of my business.
The better known and more widely published you are, the easier it will be to find repeat work and new clients. There’s nothing better to a client than a glowing portfolio and gushing testimonials, and there’s nothing better for business than excited and enthusiastic potential clients.
Whilst my professional endeavours want to see my name plastered all over the internet with thousands of links back to HaW, on a personal level I’d honestly be much happier to write in obscurity. Maybe I’m being far too British but I the only recognition I need is for my work to be well received by the intended audience.
Having your name next to a piece online is undeniably exciting and a great way to enter into future client proposals with a little more negotiating power, but there are plenty of folks out there who are earning more than a comfortable wage by focusing only on ghostwriting.
The truth of the matter is both approaches have their benefits. I myself have mainly completed ghostwriting assignments and would like to take this opportunity to outline the pros and cons for anyone out there who’s a little confused as to whether ghostwriting is worth their time.
It may seem like an odd thing to list but In my experience ghostwriting offers you the freedom to explore writing outside of your chosen niche with minimal or no risk to your brand. If you produce a poor article your name isn’t there in the byline for thew world to see.
You can happily try your hand at numerous areas without having to worry about the general public associating your name with poor quality work.
I’ve ghostwritten on plenty of topics including everything from ventilation to adult website SEO text (FYI, neither of these two were fun).
Availability of Work
I honestly think that, especially as a newbie writer, there’s a higher availability of ghostwriting work. There are plenty of influential people who have great opinions and experience but either don’t have the ability to accurately communicate their views with the written word, or simply don’t have the time to put pen to paper.
You don’t need to have built a name for yourself as a prolific expert in a particular field, all you need to do is write down what your client wants to say and in a manner they would say it.
Ghostwriting can pay well. Like all kinds of writing you’re going to have to look out for those trying to take advantage of you but the rates for good ghostwriters can be higher than for projects with a byline.
Negotiate well and you should be able to make up in cash what you’re sacrificing in recognition.
If you’ve signed a NDA with a client it can make it very difficult for you to use those pieces as samples with future clients. I myself have a few pieces of which I’m really proud , and whilst I didn’t sign a non disclosure it can still be a little difficult to convince a new client that I was the actual author of the pieces.
Tone of Voice
Learning to mimic the tone of voice for a client can be a difficult task, especially if you have a very distinct writing style you’re proud of. If you’re not able to fully mimic the client’s tone or write in the exact style they want, there’s a high chance that you’ll lose the client.
This is honestly a skill in itself. If you’re quite adept at mimicking a clients branding and tone, exploit this skill to its utmost when marketing your services.
When ghostwriting, the chances are you’re not writing in your specialty niche, if you are ghostwriting in your specialty get yourself a bloody byline so you can establish yourself as an expert.
When writing on an area in which you’re not completely familiar, the time you spend researching is going to be considerably longer and eat into your profitability. Make sure that you’ve taken research time into consideration when quoting your services to the client.
We’ve all been there. A client who’s never happy. They know what they want, they know how to achieve what they want but they don’t know how to communicate it to you. The result is you trying as best as you can to fulfil the vague requests of the client only to be told, repeatedly, that it’s not quite there yet.
More than a few times I’ve wanted to email a client back saying, ‘why don’t you do it then?!’ but manage to refrain when I realise it’ll lose me the gig!
All you can do is keep following the amendments and instructions. You need to remember that it’s most likely the client who will suffer if the piece is poor, they’re being picky because they don’t want others to believe they’re churning out poor content.
Ghostwriting can be fun. It can help you explore various other areas with little to no risk to yourself but I honestly believe that it should be supplementary to your efforts in your chosen expertise, the building of yourself as an expert or a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Many also don’t realise how demoralising ghostwriting can be. When you’ve spent a long time creating a piece you’re proud of it’s only natural that you want the recognition for the effort you’ve put in. Without it, it’s easy to start wondering why you should bother continuing your hard work for someone else to lap up all the accolades.
If you are doing a lot of ghostwriting the best method of approach I’ve discovered is to view it as a business transaction. They’re buying a product from you. Put your ego aside, produce the product and move on to the next deal.
Be sure that you’re happy with what you’re doing, you’re getting adequate compensation for giving up the recognition and are not being taken advantage of as I once was.
So what’s your opinion? Do you prefer the anonymity of being a ghostwriter or would you rather gain the pat on the back you rightfully deserve for your writing? What kind of clients make up the majority of your client base and what tips would you have for others? Let us know and have a word in the comments below.
Image – SlimVirgin