Become the Best Ghost Blogger Ever in 30 Minutes Flat

Carol Tice

A half hour is all freelance writers need to become a great ghost blogger.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.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

 

 

25 Comments

  1. jogos

    This is awesome Carol! Nice and easy – just make notes/record them, and then say what you need to in your own words! Couldn’t be simpler!

  2. Trish

    All excellent advice – you have to do your homework before beginning. I also find that as long as there is info about the company online, bios, mission statement prior to “meeting” with them is helpful.

    Everyone has their own way of information gathering, but phone calls definitely help.

    Clients are very appreciative when they know you are available and want to capture their tone.

    Thanks Carol!

  3. Dr Rie Natalenko

    Great post, Carol! I find that when ghostblogging, like when copywriting for someone else, you have to write in that person’s voice. It’s not just picking up on their idiosyncrasies of speech, it’s also their level of style, the overall organisation of the piece, the continuity patterns, the word choice, the sentence structure and the types of subjects they use as referents. It’s a very complex skill to master, as I am sure you will agree.

    • Carol Tice

      Yes…but you can pick up on all of that by spending a little time listening to the client talk. 😉

    • Dr Rie Natalenko

      I agree that you can hear the unique voice when you listen to people, but that isn’t the same as being able to write it, as I’m sure you will agree. You can hear elements of music without having the skill to reproduce them. I totally agree with you that you need the listening skills, and that they inform your writing in a chosen voice. Those skills are not, however, the same skills you need to write in that voice. It might be a little courageous to claim that by acquiring the listening skills, you can immediately apply them (in 30 minutes? 😉 )

    • Carol Tice

      I think if you listen *and take notes* on what you hear, you have a road map to writing in their voice, Rie. It’s quite a bit simpler than learning to master a musical instrument.

    • Dr Rie Natalenko

      You and I might find writing simple. I have been a writing teacher for over 35 years, and I can’t say that we are in the majority. Most writing students find that the skills involved in reproducing voice are very advanced, high-level skills. Even the best ear and the most copious notes won’t give people the *writing* skills involved. They are a good start, an essential start, but that’s all they are. Listening, note taking and writing are three different skill-sets, don’t you think?

    • Carol Tice

      Sure they are — but my point here is too many writers skip the critical half-hour of *listening* to the client. It’s all done on email or a 2-minute Skype call…and then they wonder why the copy doesn’t please the client.

      Writing in your client’s voice begins with listening to them.

      I’m not here to make writers think a skill like ghosting is super-tough to master. I think if you listen to your client, their posts almost write themselves. They give you all the essentials you need to ‘sound’ like the client.

    • Dr Rie Natalenko

      You say, “Writing in your client’s voice begins with listening to them.” and I *totally* agree. I understand that you are trying to make it all sound super-easy. I think that’s where we don’t quite agree. Some writers will, indeed, pick the skills up immediately, but most will have to work at it, in my experience – and should be prepared to do that. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth the work involved in achieving mastery.

  4. Nadia McDonald

    This is new and refreshing Carol. I never heard of Ghost blogging. It seems like a trend of writing that is fun to execute on paper. I love to ask questions, and it will spontaneously set the pace for an interview. I have an interview lined up now for a story I am working on. What I love most about this concept is that it is simple, interactive and to the point!

  5. Nikunj

    These are some great tips for freelance writers. I myself love to write articles.

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