SME’s, don’t be spooked by ghost writing! Here’s why you need a ghost writer...

Ghost writing is something that you may only associate with celebrity autobiographies. The ghost writer’s name doesn’t appear on the cover and often, they don’t receive much credit; they’re floating around in the background, working hard to create a compelling narrative of said celebrity’s life.

But ghost writers aren’t just for the rich and famous and they don’t just write books. Small businesses can employ a ghost writer and they should for three main reasons — time, quality of content and an objective view point.

Ghost writers (like me) are behind most of the content on the web, working in marketing departments or freelance, writing customer-engaging (hopefully)material for businesses large and small. Think about all the email marketing that you receive from some of your favourite brands, purporting to be sent from the owner of the business directly to you. It isn’t — how would they have the time? — but it might make you feel as though it is and that can be a winner when it comes to sales.

 
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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often don’t have the budget for a full-on marketing strategy: their business might be in its ‘first website’ phase; it may be a one man band; it may not have generated the revenue yet to spend on marketing. Web content, blogs, print material will have been written by the business owner and their team to save money.

So, why should an SME spend money on a ghost writer?

  • Time. Small business owners often don’t have the time to craft engaging content. They know they should so they hammer out something late at night, but it might not be quite what they’re after and it’s unlikely to achieve the results they need. Employing a ghost writer allows the SME to focus on what they do best and why they started the business in the first place — producing their product and producing it well.

  • Quality of content. Quality of content is critical to achieving success. Writers love writing and are willing to spend time choosing the right word or turn of phrase that will strike a chord with the target market. They know how to ensure that the all important key words don’t look forced; they know how to communicate a sales pitch with a personal touch; they can be creative with even quite dull subject matter. Quality content will engage with your audience, attract website hits and generate sales.

  • Objectivity. This is perhaps the least obvious. It can sometimes be difficult for business owners to take a step back to see their product or service, their business ‘personality’ or even their faults. A ghost writer can write objectively and be less modest, shouting about a business’s success from the roof tops! They can also put themselves in the consumers’ shoes, more realistically sometimes than the business owner, helping them see how their hammered-out-at-midnight email marketing really reads.

When I meet SME business owners, they don’t really understand ghost writing and how it could ever work, “How can you write as me?” “You’re you and I’m me!”

So how do I make it work?

  • We chat. We discuss their business, how it came about, what they did before, what they’re trying to achieve or sell, perhaps their home life, other responsibilities.

  • We meet. You can tell a lot by someone’s home decoration (cluttered vs minimalist for example), office organisation or how they approach a meeting.

  • We discuss a lot about the tone of voice they would like to use, their target market or audience, their typical customer. Reading past material and asking why they do or don’t like it is a great start to understanding why they’re employing me.

There’s nothing scary about employing a ghost writer — if you find the right one, they should pay for themselves with the quality of marketing content that they provide; leaving you to think creatively about the future of your business.