You’ve started a new project – maybe it’s a website, maybe it’s an e-book designed for marketing purposes, maybe it’s a full-length book designed to capture the entire philosophy of your business – but you’re stuck. You need help writing the content for this project. Where do you turn? Do you need a ghostwriter, a consultant, or an editor?
This article will help you narrow down your choices so that you can select whichever is best for you and your project.
Know the Difference
Before you can even begin figuring out which type of “helper” you need, you will need to understand the differences among the three types we are discussing here.
This is the type of writer-for-hire role most companies are familiar with. A ghostwriter will write the content you ask them to write, usually with the assistance of research and any resources you offer them.
Your ghostwriter should be able to write in any tone of voice you ask for, including: professional, comical, casual, technical, warm, cool, spunky, etc. The more information you give your ghostwriter about the goals of your project the better he or she should be able to decipher the tone him or herself.
Your ghostwriter will either follow a format you have given to him or her or will create an acceptable structure him or herself based on the type of project it is (a blog post, a magazine article, a promotion e-book, etc.).
Unlike a ghostwriter, a writing consultant does not to the writing for you. Instead, he or she will advise you about the following sorts of things:
- which formatting structure you should use
- how to best convey your message
- how to decide on your goals and achieve those goals each step of the way
- your choice of words and the arrangement of your sentences/paragraphs
Hiring a writing consultant allows you to use your own words and maintain control over the project, but also gives your work a professional edge it may have otherwise lacked since you are not a writer by trade. He or she will only help you see what could use improvement and suggest ways to improve it.
As your second set of eyes, your editor will help you ensure your thoughts are weaved seamlessly throughout your book in a way that makes sense to your reader and truly gets your themes and emotions across.
Your editor won’t give you as much guidance as a writing consultant since they will assume that you are already well-equipped to format your work and write coherently. This also means that they are a much more affordable option since they will not need to work as many hours.
What Type of Project Is This?
The type of project you are creating plays a big role in which type of “helper” you should hire. Different writers have different skills and areas of expertise. Even if you hire a writer who is adept at all of these roles, he or she will need you to specify the type of help you need so that he/she can complete the work according to those needs.
If this is your company’s main website you may want to consider hiring a consultant or an editor to help you with this project. Hiring a consultant or editor allows you to maintain control over the content going onto your company website.Far too many times, I have witnessed (and worked with) companies who
Far too many times, I have witnessed (and worked with) companies who thought they wanted a ghostwriter when, in fact, it turned out that no one could capture the essence of their company better than themselves. All they really needed was a consultant to help them structure the webpages and edit the work or even just an editor to look over the written copy.
Any other type of website (such as an affiliate marketing website) can use the help of a ghostwriter since you probably don’t need as much control over that type of content. When hiring ghostwriters for basic website content, try to find someone who is familiar with web formatting and HTML so that you don’t have to have a second person come in to edit the work.
Blog content is the easiest type of content to outsource to a ghostwriter. All quality ghostwriters are adept at research and should be able to take on any tone you want for your blog. You can even provide a ghostwriter with a form template that he or she can use to write the blog posts.
Though it isn’t as important as your main marketing slogans and landing pages for representing your company philosophy, your blog is one of the first things many inbound customers and clients will see. Therefore, you will want to be absolutely certain that your ghostwriter is up to the task of representing your company. Consider hiring him or her for a trial run of one to three blog posts before committing to the working relationship.
Most of the time, a ghostwriter is a great choice for a short (10 to 50 page) promotional e-book. Since promotional e-books are essentially just long blog posts, your ghostwriter should be able to create the content without any issues. Talk to your ghostwriter in advance to understand what type of experience or ideas he or she has about formatting and structuring the e-book.
Side Note Tip – Have your ghostwriter use old blog posts and just expand on them to create full ebooks!
A full-length book usually tells a story of some sort. Whether it is the story of your company’s history, the story of how people can use your company’s philosophy or techniques to improve their lives, or something different – this story is usually something very close to the heart of your company. As such, it deserves special attention.
Though I would love to say “hire a ghostwriter (me) to write your full-length book!” I cannot do so in good conscience. You are best to hire a writing consultant (this could still be me – shameless plug) for this task. Your writing consultant can walk you through how to structure your book and serve as a trail audience. You will get assistance in creating the book as well as the assistance of an editor – all rolled into one.
If you’ve written a book before or already have a clear vision of how to take your thoughts and turn them into a book, an editor may be a better choice for you. Your editor won’t help you structure the book and won’t be around to help you until after you’ve written your first draft, but will be a HUGE help in crafting that draft into a stellar manuscript.
What Level of Control do You Need?
Some people are happy to pass off tasks to others and allocate their own resources to other projects in the meantime. They are the type of people who are happy to oversee the work of others from a distance and offer support when needed. Some other people, however, need to maintain a closer eye on the work being produced. If you are this second type of person, don’t fret – there’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t some sort of crazy control freak with an insatiable need to micromanage everyone (or maybe you are, I don’t know you).
If you are the second type of person, don’t fret – there’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t some sort of crazy control freak with an insatiable need to micromanage everyone (or maybe you are, I don’t know you).
Sometimes it is necessary to maintain a high level of control over the direction of a project. If, for example, your “helper” is creating an important piece of promotional material which will set the stage for your company’s public reputation, you may want to maintain considerable control over the project. If your company is fairly new and you need to be certain everything is completed just right to get things off the ground you may also want to maintain a good, close hold on the project.
People who need to keep a close eye on their project should consider being involved in the project itself by actually participating in the writing. These people should consider hiring writing consultants or editors.
If you believe that your writing and formatting skills are up to the task, consider hiring an editor to give your work a thorough once-over (or twice-over) to ensure it is conveying your message clearly.
If you need help understanding the way that words speak to each other, or have no clue how to structure your book, website, or blog posts you should consider a writing consultant who can help you come up with and execute a complete action plan for your project.