I have always loved writing. Even as a little girl, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. At the time, I knew that writers were people like Stephen King and Judy Blume, so I equated being a writer with writing novels. When I tell people today that I’m a freelance writer, they assume that I write novels or magazine articles (the latter of which I do occasionally), so when I mention that most of what I do is ghost-blogging, I usually need to follow up with an explanation.
Ghost-blogging is, as the name would imply, writing blog posts that are published on someone else’s blog with the blog-owner’s byline (or, in some cases, with no byline at all). While I do have my own personal blog, I never would have thought that anyone would want to pay for the service, and I was surprised when I found out that companies do, in fact, hire people to blog for them.
The reason for this is twofold: First, if a company is selling a product or service, the owner wants to be recognized in his field. Quality, well-written, engaging and relevant content, updated frequently, brings the reader back to the business website again and again, allowing the business owner to establish a reputation with his audience. When the time comes for a reader to make a purchase, they’re already primed to do so. Second, content is king when it comes to Google’s newest algorithms, and savvy business-owners know this. If excellent content is being uploaded to a blog frequently, that blog will do well in Google’s ranking systems. Having your site on the first page of Google’s search results brings more readers to your website, raising your chances of making a sale.
In these technologically driven times, there is more than enough work out there for ghost-bloggers in nearly any niche. So, how do you go about finding clients and getting these types of engagements? Here are some tips:
- Understand the basics of writing not only for search engines, but also for human readers. In times past, you could look up search engine optimization, or SEO, tips and run with them. Now, high-quality writing is what the search engines and, more importantly, actual readers, are looking for. Still, there are a few SEO tips that you should know, and some research on keyword integration will help you.
- Contact business owners with your proposals. You can do this in a variety of ways: Walk into local businesses with a brochure and your business card, send queries to the owners of websites that look like they could use a little help, approach contacts on LinkedIn and similar business/social media sites, or put an ad up on Craigslist.
- Have a rate and service sheet ready. Once business owners know what you can do for them, they’re likely to want to know how much your services cost and what they include. You might consider putting together a package; for example, you may set a per-piece rate, a rate for three blog entries per week emailed to your client, and a different rate for those three blog entries per week uploaded onto your client’s site. As you learn how to properly optimize content, add meta descriptions and tags, and find appropriate images, you can offer more services and charge higher rates.
- Understand the demographic of your client’s readership. If you are writing for a home improvement company’s website, you will be targeting homeowners; if writing for a pediatrician’s office, your target will be parents. If you keep your readership in mind, it will be easier to come up with topics for the blog entries and stick to an appropriate writing style.
Ghost-blogging is not going to make you famous, but it can certainly pay quite well. It takes a bit of research and some legwork to get started, but once you have a steady client base, you can most definitely earn a nice salary as a ghost-blogger.
An avid writer, lover of words and cultivator of wit since childhood, Michelle Kulas began writing professionally in 2007 and founded her company, Exceptional Expression, in 2010. While most of her work is ghost-written and therefore top secret, she is a blogger for Commonfig.com and a contributing writer for Sister 2 Sister magazine. When she’s not practicing her punctuation or providing killer content, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, soaking up the sand, surf and sun of her Florida home, crocheting, and beating her friends at Scrabble. Michelle would love to hear from you!