When you first begin working with a content writer, it can feel awkward. You have been doing your own writing for a long time. You might even enjoy it, but find that it always gets pushed to the back burner in your business. Above all, you feel protective over your brand voice, your company mission, as well as the trust you have built with your audience.
Let me tell you, all of these feelings are totally normal.
I’ve worked with dozens of clients who had never hired a copywriter, content writer, or ghostwriter before they worked with me. A handful have even had bad experiences with prior writers, especially when it came to those writers not being able to capture the business owner’s authentic personality.
I’m not going to give you a hard sell on why you should work with Emily Writes for your website writing, blog writing, or social media writing needs. (Although you totally can!)
Instead, today I want to share with you five practical ways that you can effectively work with your ghostwriter – specifically, when it comes to your blog content. These same concepts could be applied to video scripts, social media posts, and more! The objective is to clearly and cleanly hand off your thoughts and ideas so that your ghostwriter can craft on-brand content that will delight your audience.
These tactics are listed with the most time-intensive on YOUR end first, and become less hands-on as the list progresses. I have used all of these tactics with great success in my own client work.
Tactic #1: You Draft, They Clean Up
You may already have a good idea of what you want to say, but you struggle with the “polish” and just need a second pair of eyes on your copy before you publish your blog.
In this case, go ahead and create a draft. Concentrate on the “meat” of the blog and consider letting your writer put together the introduction and conclusion. They can also check your blog for grammar and flow, and offer suggestions on how to improve readability.
Tactic #2: Live Interview
A good writer is also a good interviewer. Hop on a video or phone call with your writer and let them ask you questions around a topic or theme. After they take notes or record the conversation, they will be able to pull together cohesive blogs.
Make sure you take time during this live interview to add any “color” that you can think of for your writer. This could include personal anecdotes and real-life case studies – things they wouldn’t know unless they could read your mind!
Tactic #3: Voice Memo or Video
If you enjoy talking things out but don’t have the capacity or interest for a live interview call, consider leaving all your thoughts and ideas in a voice memo or self-recorded video. You can even do this on your phone, while you’re driving or doing other tasks, and send it straight to your writer.
Again, keep in mind that you want to convey key points and any “color” in terms of stories/anecdotes to help bring the blog to life. From there, your writer will take your thoughts and write your blog.
Tactic #4: Bullet Points
You could put together an entire creative brief for your blog, or simply type up a series of bullet points with your ideas and drop them in an email or shared doc. These bullet points should include: a topic or theme, your key points, and any personal stories or case studies. Send this to your writer to turn into a written narrative.
Another option is to send your writer an article, podcast, or video that you like, along with your thoughts on how you would agree, disagree, or expand upon the original creator’s content. Your writer can then take that article as a jumping-off point to write your blog – while giving full credit to the original content, of course.
Tactic #5: They Draft, You React
Your writer can also pitch topics to you based on your business goals, your audience’s frequently asked questions, and/or your keyword strategy, and then write blogs from scratch, for your approval. Eventually, you will probably get to the point where all your blogs are ghostwritten this way!
IMPORTANT: Follow this Before/After Guide
Before You Start Working with Your Ghostwriter
Set yourself up for success with your new writer by:
- Giving them your brand/voice guidelines or describe how you want to “sound” online
- Sharing any prior content that you’ve created (blogs, podcast interviews, videos, etc.) especially examples where they can hear your authentic “voice”
- Discussing your business goals, products, services, and offers
- Describing your target audience and their pain points
- Sharing your website keywording strategy/SEO goals (if applicable)
You can share these items via Google Drive or hop on a live video/phone call with your writer to walk through everything.
After You Start Working with Your Ghostwriter
Offer honest feedback.
Feedback is critical, especially when you first start working with a new writer. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you think! Let them know if they missed any of your key points and share specific words/phrases that you didn’t like. Content writers should not be married to anything they write. They should welcome feedback and always want to improve so they can hit the mark for you and your business.
Use Google Docs for the review process so you and the writer can leave notes, ask questions, and refine the written copy in a collaborative way. Conversely, I’ve found that live editing (while on a video/phone call) is typically NOT a good use of time.
The longer you work with a writer, the better it gets. You’ll be surprised what a good content writer can do – and how quickly they can catch on!