With millions of blogs published each day, building a truly effective content marketing strategy can feel like an uphill battle.

How many blog posts should you create?

What topics should you focus on?

And how can blog content directly support your company’s overarching goals?

Even if you have clear answers, translating your vision into a polished, final product comes with a bit of a learning curve.

Whether you’re new to content creation, looking to breathe life into your digital marketing campaigns or simply don’t have the time to pump out dozens of blogs each month, hiring a ghostwriter can help bring your plans into greater focus.

Here’s everything you need to know about hiring and working alongside a ghost blog writer:

What is a ghost blog writer?

As their namesake implies, ghostwriters are typically anonymous and are paid to create content on behalf of an individual or company. They are masters of content creation and digital marketing who understand how high-quality blog posts can turn online readers into loyal customers.

They’re translucent, evanescent and are able to melt into the background, allowing your content to really shine.

While ghost blog writers are generally responsible for creating timely and engaging blog posts, some are tasked with producing other types of marketing materials as well. After all, online audiences have come to expect more than just written content from brand websites. Ghostwriters meet this need by developing infographics, white papers, eBooks, video scripts and web copy that help paint a complete picture of your company and its offerings.

Keep in mind: Ghost blog writers are notably different from freelance writers.

Ghostwriting comes with an expectation that all content will be credited to the company or an individual therein. Many freelance writers expect to receive a byline for their work, which may conflict with your goals and marketing strategies. Additionally, freelancers are often brought on for short-term projects and content pushes, whereas ghost blog writers are typically embedded in your long-term content marketing strategy.

What do ghost blog writers actually do?

Every content marketing plan is unique, with each blog post serving a different purpose. Ghost blog writers embrace this variability and help create order out of chaos. Through extensive research and hands-on collaboration, your ghost blogger will develop a keen sense for your company’s style, tone and character. This knowledge serves as the bedrock for all the content your ghostwriter produces, which is why the kick-off process is so important.

Before their fingertips ever touch a keyboard, ghost blog writers will have already poured over your website, previous blogs and any supporting materials you may have shared. Many ghostwriters also request interviews with subject matter experts and other internal stakeholders to get a firmer grasp on your products and services. Ultimately, this fact-finding mission is about addressing three core aspects of your content marketing plan:

1. Purpose

While blog posts can be broad in scope, each piece of content you create should align with a specific business goal. Some blogs are meant to educate readers about particular topics, while others are designed to move customers through the sales funnel. No matter what your goals are, it’s important to keep your ghost blogger in the loop.

2. Audience

In content marketing, who you’re speaking to is just as important as what you’re trying to say. Ghost blog writers are able to adapt content to specific audiences, ensuring your blog posts are striking the right chord. For example, while a B2C company may strive for broad appeal, B2B companies are typically more focused on engaging C-suite decision-makers and those holding purchasing authority.

3. Context

Content is never created in a vacuum. Your company’s market position, competitors and even the time of year can influence your content creation strategies. Ghost blog writers soak up these details, helping you capitalize on new opportunities, trending topics and changes in your industry. This added context is vital for demonstrating thought leadership and earning the trust of potential customers.

Once the initial research is out of the way, ghost bloggers are ready to produce high-quality content for your company blog. Of course, every writer has their own process, and your own internal policies may influence how the work is actually completed.

Here’s a quick rundown of how some ghost blog writers create content tailored to your needs, goals and target audiences:

Step 1: Brainstorming

Ghost bloggers are more than capable of brainstorming topics on their own, but the best blogs are built on industry expertise and product knowledge. To achieve the results you’re looking for, collaboration is key.

From the moment a new blog post is planned, your ghostwriter will seek out trends, topics and sources that are relevant to the story you’re trying to tell. Search engine optimization and keyword research can also play a leading role during the early stages of content creation. Knowing which terms customers are searching for can help improve your blog posts’ ranking and differentiate your content from the competition.

The brainstorming phase is all about solidifying the direction of your blog posts, which gives your ghostwriters all the ammunition they need to create original and authentic written content.

Step 2: Research

After you’ve settled on a topic, your ghost blogger will hunt down resources that will help your content stand out. This includes reading industry reports, white papers, opinion pieces and even competitors’ blogs. Depending on the type of content you’re producing, your ghostwriter may need to incorporate several outside sources to add authority to your blog posts.

During the research phase, ghost blog writers often create an outline to help map out the topic and ensure no stone is left unturned. This is particularly important when writing about complex or broad subjects, as a short post can quickly turn into a long-winded monstrosity unless boundaries are set early on.

Performing in-depth research also ensures that all blog posts are accurate and timely. Relying on outdated studies or unsourced claims can hurt your business in the long run, especially if you’re marketing to a well-informed audience. To prevent any oversights, ghost bloggers will typically share their outlines and request feedback from your subject matter experts before moving forward.

Step 3: Content creation

Once you’ve approved the outline or general blog topic, your ghostwriter will set out to create a rough draft based on their research and your feedback. In most cases, the outline serves as a backbone for the blog post, allowing your ghost blogger to add new sections and insights when needed. They will also weave in authoritative sources, keywords and calls to action that are unique to your brand.

Blog writing can be a laborious process, as almost every rule in the digital marketing handbook was made to be broken. For example, while most blogs take on an informal tone, B2B companies tend to prefer a more professional writing style.

Ghost bloggers eschew one-size-fits-all content creation and strive to deliver personalized assets that only your company could produce. This is why ghostwriters dedicate a lot of time and attention to understanding your organization’s style, tone and personality well before the writing phase.

Keep in mind, the blog post itself is only one piece of the puzzle. To ensure your quality content has the best chance of competing in Google’s search results, you need to include optimized meta descriptions, title tags, image captions and more. Effective ghost blog writers understand the nuances of SEO, and can help you develop assets that are both engaging and easy to find.

Step 4: Proofing and review

The last step in the ghost blogging journey is to review the final draft for errors, style issues and incorrect information. Luckily, most ghostwriters work for blog writing services or agencies that have their own internal proofing processes. This ensures the blogs you’re delivered are free of grammar, spelling and syntax problems, and uphold the highest editorial standards.

Ideally, the content your ghost blogger produces should be polished and ready for publication the first time around. As an editor, your job is to ensure the core message is clearly communicated and the topic is sufficiently explored. If problems do arise, your ghost blog writer will be able to make necessary changes with minimal turnaround time.

Even after your blog post is finalized, there’s still a lot you can do to boost its visibility and impact on your target audience. For example, social media marketing can help expand the reach of your blog posts and keep your brand top of mind with potential customers. Ghostwriters sometimes moonlight as social media specialists, allowing you to craft blog posts with the express purpose of advertising them online.

What are the benefits of hiring a ghost blog writer?

Bringing a ghost blog writer onboard can not only lighten your content creation workload; it can also give you a fresh perspective on your digital marketing overall. Using their professional writing skills and creativity, ghostwriters can help you brainstorm new ideas, create purpose-built assets and demonstrate thought leadership within your market.

Of course, every company has different reasons for hiring a ghostwriter — some don’t have the in-house experience needed to rank competitively in Google’s search results, while others are interested in ramping up the pace of their content creation. Whatever the reason, blog ghostwriting can help you achieve your business goals without putting undue stress on your professional writers, executives or marketing managers.

Here are a few of the benefits of hiring a ghost blog writer:

Personalize your content marketing

While your company may have the in-house expertise needed to create online content, there’s no guarantee the final product will perform reliably. Ghost blog writers understand that every blog post must serve a specific purpose, speak to a particular audience and meet certain performance goals. As a result, ghost bloggers are able to develop written content tailored to the needs and preferences of your customers. And thanks to their SEO expertise, your blog posts will be optimized for both searchability and engagement.

Save time and money

Crafting insightful blog content takes a massive amount of research, time and effort. In fact, one study from Hubspot found that most marketers spend roughly one to two hours creating a single, 500-word blog post. Of course, assigning these tasks to an internal SME without professional writing experience could take even longer. Since some companies can’t justify hiring a full-time blog writer, bringing on a ghost blogger is a logical solution. This also frees up your marketing staff to work on other projects, allowing you to allocate your resources more effectively without sacrificing the quality or consistency of your blog content.

Track your marketing spend

One of the major benefits of hiring a ghost blogger is that it makes it a lot easier to track your marketing spend, especially if you partner with a blogging service. Although every content marketing agency prices their services differently, you’ll know exactly how much each blog will cost before signing a contract. What’s more, most blog writing services offer performance monitoring and optimization. By tracking KPIs and search engine rankings, you can get a clear picture of which strategies are working, and which need to be tweaked. This level of oversight is crucial for meeting your performance benchmarks and linking ROI to finished blog posts.

Explore new possibilities

Ghost blog writers are adaptable by nature, but many have years of experience in niche industries. Bringing on a ghost blogger who has written about your market in the past can reinvigorate your content creation regimen. They can help you identify trending topics, capitalize on regulatory changes and locate new opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership. Combined with your product knowledge, this thirst for new possibilities can lead to blog series and individual posts that will add traction to your content marketing efforts.

Ghost blog writers are also useful during the early stages of brand development, when you’re still hashing out your style guidelines and content marketing plans. By surveying your industry and potential competitors, ghost bloggers can help nurture an authentic brand identity that will resonate with online readers. They can produce captivating web page copy, hero banners and other written content that matches your vision and converts visitors into paying customers.

Essential qualities of a ghost blog writer

Above all else, ghost blog writers must be adaptable. While having a unique style is important for blogging, you’ll want your content to embody your company’s character, vision and voice — not your ghostwriter’s.

Luckily, most ghost bloggers got their start as professional writers or journalists, meaning they have a lot of experience producing written content that adheres to stylistic and editorial guidelines. They understand how to turn their natural writing voice on and off, how to emulate different communication styles and when a touch of personal flair may be needed.

If you’re thinking about partnering with an independent ghostwriter or a blog writing service, stay on the lookout for the following skill sets and qualities:

Attention to detail

Ghost bloggers must be able to effectively communicate what makes your company, products and services unique. This often requires close attention to detail, especially in crowded industries like technology, finance and insurance. When hiring a ghost blog writer, you’ll want to make sure they’ve done their due diligence and understand the ins and outs of your business before putting pen to paper. The best ghostwriters come prepared to kick-off meetings, and should be able to discuss your industry, offerings and brand identity with confidence.

A knack for storytelling

Every day, companies around the world post new content on their blog hoping to secure a coveted first-page position in Google’s search results. However, even if you’re able to land on the first page, there’s no guarantee readers will find your content interesting or useful. Ghost bloggers understand the power of storytelling, and how written content can influence consumers’ buying decisions. Instead of packing your blog posts full of dry facts, a ghostwriter will develop an overarching story where your company is the shining protagonist.

Interpersonal skills

Although many people think of writing as a solitary endeavor, collaboration is a universal necessity in content marketing. From the moment you bring a ghost blog writer on board, you’ll want to develop a working relationship built on trust, respect and open dialogue. Of course, charisma alone isn’t enough to go on. Partnering with someone with strong interpersonal skills can help keep ideas flowing freely. These qualities can also make the proofing and revision stages much smoother — great ghost bloggers love constructive criticism and feedback on their work.

SEO expertise

Writing skills may seem like the most obvious qualification for ghostwriters, but there’s a lot more to online content creation than the words themselves. Ghost bloggers should have an intimate knowledge of how Google’s algorithms work, and how to take advantage of them. After all, weaving in the right number of keywords, linking to authoritative sources and optimizing metadata can turn a low-performing blog post into a viral hit. When interviewing potential ghostwriters, be sure to ask about their SEO research experience and try to get a sense for how keywords fit into their creative process.

Creativity

Ghost blog writers are creative powerhouses that can turn any topic, no matter how trivial or complex, into digestible content. By understanding the needs and preferences of your target audience, your ghost blogger can transform educational resources into selling tools. For example, writing a blog post about home insurance can give you an opportunity to differentiate your brand from other providers while offering readers information they can actually use. Even the most straightforward blog posts can serve this type of dual purpose, but it takes a trained eye to locate these opportunities and make them feel natural.

Time management

Working around tight deadlines and shifting production cycles is the default condition of ghost blog writers. To stay ahead of the curve, your ghostwriter must be flexible and quick to respond to feedback, ensuring your blog posts are error-free and published on a consistent schedule. Unnecessary delays can disrupt your content marketing plans, leading to missed business opportunities and an unengaged audience. On the flip side, a proactive ghost blogger can help you capitalize on trends and real-world events before they fizzle into irrelevance.

Finding the right ghost blog writer can feel like quite an undertaking, especially if you plan to bring on an independent contractor. You’ll want to carefully review their references, writing samples and work histories to make sure they have the knowledge and experience needed to produce consistent, high-quality content.

One of the quickest ways to incorporate ghost blogging into your content marketing strategy is to partner with a trusted blog writing service. These agencies take care of all the legwork and have already vetted the writers under their employment. What’s more, blog writing companies can pair you with a ghostwriter who has extensive experience in your industry. This can save you a ton of time and effort during the onboarding process, as your ghost blogger will already understand how to write to customers in your marketplace.

Company websites, social media profiles and blogs are a core part of doing business online, but building a winning strategy takes more than intuition and wishful thinking. No matter where you are in your content marketing journey, we hope this information on ghost blog writers can point you in the right direction.

And remember: The perfect ghostwriter may be hiding in plain sight.

Kyle Covino is a Senior Writer at Brafton interested in the interplay between rhetoric, content marketing and multimedia storytelling. When he’s not having fun on the internet, he’s having fun on the internet.