The soaring popularity of content marketing throughout professional services and beyond has bolstered the need for quality ghostwriting. That increased demand means more professionals, from interns to executives, are now being asked to write original content on behalf of others.
Writing can be a struggle in and of itself. If not in the right state of mind, a blank page can be an intimidating foe. But writing in someone else’s voice can be downright dreadful without the right mindset. To achieve that mentality, ghostwriters should ask themselves these two essential questions.
Who Am I?
Many ghostwriters make the mistake of separating themselves from the people they are ghostwriting for. They ask questions like “who is he?” and “what would he say?” From there, they think they can imitate that person’s voice and perspective throughout the piece. The result, however, is often a flimsy forgery.
A great ghostwriter will get inside the head of the person and ask the question “who am I?” As actors often do, they’ll get into character and view the world through a new lens.
Research is at the very core of this process. The writer should hop on Google and find all relevant background information on the person and the topic. If they can interview the person, even better. It might sound tedious, but if it helps to inspire one killer line in the piece, it’s worth it.
What Am I Fighting For?
Once in character, the ghostwriter should clearly define their motivation for writing the piece. They often write on behalf of subject matter experts, so their responsibility is not to report the news (journalists already do that), but to share their experience, expertise and unique perspective with the audience.
Asking “what am I fighting for?” adds an element of conflict to the work, and conflict attracts readers. It means asserting a firm angle or stance on a particular issue. This approach allows passion to surface. It brings out honesty and authenticity that would otherwise evade the piece.
A ghostwriter should never settle for work that can pass as something written by the intended author. Instead, a successful ghostwriter strives to capture that person’s reality and inspiration for writing.
Brian Hart is the Founder & President at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit flackable.com. Follow Brian on Twitter at @BrianHartPR.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on 6/23/15.