Why do today’s “content creators” –still known in some circles as (gasp!) ghostwriters –get such a bad rap? Is it really all that horrible to provide writing expertise to someone who needs help with an article, letter, or blog post?
I suppose most of the criticisms stem from a lack of understanding about what corporate ghostwriters like me “do,” so I’m devoting this post to debunking
Five Myths About Corporate Ghostwriters
1. We write whatever we can dream up.
While I’ll readily admit that there are days when I wish this was true, it’s not. I am in contact with my clients at least once a week (usually more often). Sometimes, they send me copy to edit. Typically, we brainstorm ideas by phone or email. My job is to write what my clients want me to write, not what I would like to write. Make no mistake about it: I receive my marching orders from them. Then, they review my work, and I revise, as needed. It’s a highly collaborative process rich with shared cross-functional expertise. One of the highlights of my job is that I am continually learning from experts across a wide range of business sectors. In return, I bring years of journalism training and experience to the table.
2. We are products of the internet and social media.
Wrong. Content creation is nothing new. In fact, some even trace ghostwriting back to Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC. (See a brief history of ghostwriting here.) For decades, C-level execs (and others) have used writers to help them draft letters, speeches, articles, etc. Why is it so shocking that these same people now would use ghostwriters to help draft online content?
3. We do nothing more than repurpose content from other sites.
Wrong, again. See Number 1 above. Naturally, I use whatever resources are available to me, and if I am working for a CEO who has a keynote speech on YouTube or a by-lined article published somewhere else, I’m going to take advantage of that content for background and supporting information. However, my job is to create new, original value. And, again, I happily accept that charge. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
4. Working with a ghostwriter is a time sink.
Au contraire, ghostwriters save time. In a 20-minute phone conversation with a CIO, she and I can generate plenty of ideas for blog posts. After all, C-level execs are full of inspiration and opinions, but not all of them like to write. On the other hand, ghostwriters like me LOVE to write. I estimate that on average, I have been writing thousands of words per day, every day (yes, weekends and vacation days, too) for years. Writing is a joy to me. But, to my clients, it’s a burden. By relieving them of that burden, I save them time –and headaches, too.
5. We are egomaniacs on a diabolical quest to strangle the free-form, spontaneous nature of online social media –and quite possibly take over the world.
Perhaps this is the most laughable myth of all. Ghostwriters aren’t egomaniacal. Think about it. By definition, we have to check our egos at the door at the start of every work day. Remember: We don’t get by-lines. My work appears regularly in national publications. Blog posts I write attract thousands of readers and reTweets and comments . . . And yet, of course, I remain anonymous. In addition, I certainly don’t feel that ghostwriters detract from social media networks. Instead, I believe that good writing adds clarity, engages readers and helps build community.
So, please try to cut ghostwriters a little slack. You may be reading their work more often then you realize . . . and with a little research, you may be able to find one who fits your style and can help you successfully navigate the modern-day challenges related to creating content for your business.