Occasionally, I’ll be out with friends or colleagues and the topic of ghostwriting will come up. In particular, someone will ask what, exactly, it is that I ghostwrite. Invariably, they want to know the titles of books that I’ve covertly written. They’re, of course, looking for something juicy… and I almost hate to tell them that the things I ghostwrite aren’t at all juicy – at least not in the way that my colleagues wish they were.
As a ghostwriter, I work primarily for the web, so it’s not celebrity memoirs or political tell-alls. The question, then, is, “What do you ghostwrite for the web?”
For starters, I write blog posts. Here at StyleMatters, we partner with businesses to develop an editorial calendar, as well as posts, for their sites. I work hand-in-hand with key players in the business to develop content that is in line with their mission. Maybe more importantly, we develop a comprehensive SEO strategy and write to it without sounding technical or overbearing (a skill that is difficult to master).
This is one of my favorite types of ghostwriting because it lets me research and develop new ideas, working closely with a client to make their business stand out. As we develop our relationship, I can start working more independently, freeing up the client’s time to work on their business, rather than thinking about blog posts and SEO (which, in turn, help bring in more clients for them to focus on!). Putting in the effort to become an authority on their subject matter is rewarding to me personally and guarantees that their website attracts new viewers and customers.
Similarly, web ghostwriters create email newsletters. This takes the same partnership with the client, but requires an even greater focus on subject line. You’ve got one chance to get people to open the newsletter, read it, and actually click through to your website. When you’re writing blogs, you’ve got time for a post to gain popularity and see results! Not so with newsletters!
Finally, we create static content and website copy for business sites that hones the business’ mission and articulates it convincingly to prospective clients. We’re experts, not only as writers, but as crafters of content for websites. We know how to balance text with white space and calls to action with useful information to develop the best possible content for your business and your website.
So, fellow writers, how many of you ghostwrite for the web? Have you ever had to explain yourself to disappointed friends at happy hour?