Consider ghostwriting to quickly boost content marketing efforts

Consider ghostwriting to quickly boost content marketing efforts

By Joshua DeLung

There’s something strange going on with your website. And it don’t look good. Who ya gonna call? Ghostwriters!

Are you looking for a way to boost awareness about a company, program or person but don’t have the time and resources available to create a library of compelling content? It’s time to consider experienced outside help.

Although the term ghostwriter may conjure images of spectral penmanship (or of motorcyclists with flaming skulls), it actually refers to hiring a third party to create content under someone else’s name. I’ve spent the last few years doing this for executives at technology companies and for senior government officials. In one case, I’ve worked directly with the chief technology officer of an IT company to generate weekly blog posts covering topics such as big data, virtualization and the cloud. This process cost-effectively provides the client with a stream of content in his own voice without a large time commitment.

Here’s ENC’s process for writing on behalf of designated client personnel:

  • Deep dive: We familiarize ourselves with the subject matter and the writing style of the executive we’ll mimic in the copy — our ramp-up time is minimal because we specialize in understanding complex subjects and translating them into plain language.
  • Brain dump: Periodically, we’ll do a 30-60 minute call with the client to get his or her perspective on what ideas they wish they had time to write about, and we’ll suggest and discuss subjects based on trending topics in search and the media (including social).
  • Editorial calendar: After determining which topics we should write about, we plan out when each blog post or other content type will be delivered, reviewed and published during the course of the project.
  • Outlines: If the subjects are especially tricky, or if the ‘brain dump’ call needs to be quick and doesn’t yield lots of notes, we may first submit outlines for client review before spending hours writing out a full piece.
  • Full drafts: After getting all our notes and outline feedback together, we sit down and write the full blog post. (Or talking points, presentation, whitepaper, etc.)
  • Content deployment: Many of our clients, after approving content, ask us to help them distribute it. For example, we often upload blog posts and publish them on the client’s website, then direct traffic to the content using social media.

The clients I’ve worked with have seen results from content marketing, a term which means you’re creating valuable thought leadership content used to attract and engage your target audience in conversation — instead of pushing out lots of sales materials such as vendor-sponsored emails, of which target audiences will likely opt out. Check out these metrics from one client I’ve written for during the last two years:

  • 11 of the top 25 content pages on the website were created by ENC
  • Our blog posts helped generate an increase in web traffic of 170 percent
  • Referral traffic increased 72 percent — Twitter and LinkedIn, for which ENC also wrote content, became the no. 1 and no. 2 referrers of traffic to the client’s website, respectively
  • We used targeted Google keywords in our copy and in metadata for blog posts, which has helped increase the client’s search rankings, including a 43-percent increase in traffic from searches
  • The blog posts we created were repurposed as abstracts for pitching to media and resulted in dozens of PR placements
  • The CTO’s reputation as a thought leader has increased, which leads to more conversations and shorter sales cycles

Have something to say but don’t have the time and resources to start creating content on your own? Need to prove to potential customers, citizens or other stakeholders that you’re an authoritative source? Don’t get spooked by the time commitment or let all the rules of style, grammar, punctuation and content deployment give you a fright — it might just be time to call a ghostwriter.

Image courtesy Flickr user hanna_horwath

About Joshua DeLung

Senior Director of Communication Services, specializes in strategy, public relations, writing/editing and social media.

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