Ghostwriting Issues: Not Enough Input

July 08, 2015

Writing off-site articles for clients is a widely accepted form of ghostwriting, but it can fail badly without enough input from clients. Among the challenges:

  • Prioritization — Content quality is not perceived as being important. This comes into play when articles are primarily or exclusively written for SEO purposes.
  • Time constraints — Clients are too busy to communicate thoughtfully to the ghostwriter about the writing assignment.
  • Lack of strategy — A snappy headline or internally relevant topic does not a content strategy make. Clients sometimes think too little about their customers’ business, and too much about communicating details of their own business.

Problems with Independent Research

Writers can do their own research, obviously — that’s what I do when push comes to shove. However, research can be problematic.

First, how do you know if the sources you’re using are accurate? If I were writing about a completely foreign subject, like cement mixers, I wouldn’t know a reliable source from an unreliable one.

Second, research leads to scope creep. If a ghostwriter is forced to do extensive research because the client is unable to provide proper input, the assignment may become an unprofitable proposition.

2 Questions for Ghostwriters

  1. How do you overcome the problem of not getting enough input?
  2. How do you write an authoritative and useful article without client guidance on what you are writing about, and what constitutes usefulness?
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