How to Hire a Ghostwriter to Boost Thought Leadership

Tracy Ring on Thursday, December 3, 2020

how to hire a ghostwriter

If you want to create more authentic, high-quality content for your brand, you may be wondering how to hire a ghostwriter—with so much else to do, writing blog posts falls to the bottom of your to-do list every time.

Yet, when you think of ghostwriting, you might think of a celebrity or former politician using an anonymous writer to write their memoir or autobiography. In reality, ghostwriting is a powerful tool for more than just penning books and giving speeches. 

Not only does it ensure that you can create more and better content—57 percent of business communicators say they want to write more—but it also takes the work off your plate so you can focus on doing what you do best: running a successful business.

As an executive ghostwriter specializing in female leadership, management, and marketing, I have seen the value of high-quality ghostwriting and how it can help C-suites, executives, and founders grow their personal brand.

If you’re wondering how to hire a ghostwriter (and why you need to), let me take you through the process.

Recognize the Value of a Ghostwriter 

Female leaders need to have a personal brand presence. It’s non-negotiable. From developing a community and connecting with your target audience to establishing yourself as an expert in your space or attracting investors—it all starts with your personal brand as the leader of the company. 

An essential part of your brand presence is the content you create via thought leadership. This type of content includes industry-specific articles guest-posted for relevant websites or self-published on your company site or LinkedIn. 

When done right, this content can have a significant impact on the reputation and authority of your business. Just take a look at these stats from the 2020 Edelman-LinkedIn Thought Leadership Survey

  • Nearly half (48 percent) of decision-makers spend an hour or more engaging in thought leadership per week. 
  • 89 percent agree that thought leadership enhances their perception of an organization.
  • 49 percent agree that thought leadership can be useful in influencing purchasing decisions. 
  • Only 15 percent rate the thought leadership that they read as good or excellent. 

All signs point to the importance and effectiveness of thought leadership but a lack of high-quality content available. 

However, you’re a busy leader, balancing a seemingly endless list of tasks each day. Creating powerful, strategic, and authentic content can take hours. Outsourcing the labor-intensive part of content creation ensures you reap all the benefits of consistently writing and sharing thought leadership content without the time it takes to do it. 

Bottom line: you get to focus on doing what you love and are best at, while still creating thought leadership content that could drive investors, brand impressions, and more. 

Understand the Process 

When wondering how to hire a ghostwriter, your first question may be about the process. How does a ghostwriter integrate into your business? How do they match my voice and tone? These professionals, assuming you’re working with a high-quality ghostwriter, craft your unique knowledge, experiences, and viewpoints into a well-written content that you can be proud of.

The best part of hiring a ghostwriter is that you’re not giving up your authentic voice in the process. A ghostwriter does the heavy lifting:

  • Takes your ideas and translates them into a cohesive narrative. 
  • Targets your content to a specific audience and goal. 
  • Completes the research needed to find authoritative sources to back up your claims.  
  • Ensures that the final product is SEO-optimized and tailored to the specific publication site. 

As the bylined author, you get the final edits and say on the piece. You can ensure that it’s written in your tone and reflects your personality—which is the easy part!

Establish Parameters and Goals 

Before starting to look for a ghostwriter, establish your overall goal for the project and set a clearly defined framework. This will ensure a better ROI. To do so, take time to evaluate the following:

  • Budget: What part of your marketing budget can you allocate towards ghostwriting?
  • Goals: Beyond increasing personal brand awareness, do you have other goals for your thought leadership content? (I.E., recruit new talent, earn speaking opportunities, attract investors, boost website traffic, increase conversions, etc.). 
  • KPIs: How will you measure success—via engagement on posts, feedback, lead generation, increase in website traffic? 
  • Scope: What’s your timeframe? When do you want your first article ready to publish? (This will help you work backward to build out a plan). How many rounds of edits for each article would you expect? 

It’s okay if you don’t know some of these answers. Work with your marketing team or your ghostwriter to better understand how to get the most out of the work you’re doing. Expert ghostwriters can help you refine the framework and explain if your budgets and goals are realistic in your space, suggest further KPIs, further define project scope, and more.

At Jessica Thiefels Consulting, we’re here to guide you through the entire process. When looking for a ghostwriter, consider whether they can do more than just write the content, but also help you create a strong foundation too.

Take Time to Find the Right Writer 

It’s clear that the right ghostwriter likely does more than just write well—and finding that perfect person will also make the difference between a positive and negative experience. This is a person you’ll be working with closely, trusting them to understand your brand, business, and overall mission. 

Our suggestion is to avoid cutting corners when it comes to the recruiting process. Follow these tips if you’re not sure how to hire a ghostwriter that’s the perfect match for you:

  • Ask colleagues for recommendations: Personal referrals are the best way to find vetted and successful writers. 
  • Post on your social networks: Ask for suggestions on LinkedIn or Twitter. There might be someone in your extended network who’s worked with someone in the past.
  • Consider working with a niche agency: A specialized agency will offer less of a cookie-cutter approach than larger alternatives and you’ll receive a more personalized experience. For example, at Jessica Thiefels Consulting, we focus on intentional content and working with purpose-driven female leaders. 
  • Request samples: When engaging with potential candidates, ask for a few samples of published work. Ensure that the end product is high-quality and that they’ve worked for similar experts and leaders. 
  • Go with your gut: While you should base business decisions on data and proof, in the end, this can be a personal experience. It’s important to be comfortable so that you can relinquish control, provide candid feedback, and be excited about the process!

How to Hire a Ghostwriter The Right Way 

I’ve partnered with many executives and leaders worried about working with a ghostwriter. I get it! You might be scared to trust someone to create your content. You might be worried it will come off as inauthentic. Or you just don’t know how to explain your expertise for someone else to mold it into an article.

All of these worries are normal and, good news, they’re also easy to overcome. Just like you’re an expert in your field, writers specialize in learning about you and your mission. We can interview you to tease out your passions, understand your voice, suggest topics to speak to your community, and most importantly include you in the process. 

The new year is the perfect time to get started, use this guide to better understand how to hire a ghostwriter so you can drive greater impact in 2021.