How a Ghostwriter Can Breathe Life Into Your Startup's Content Strategy

The typical startup budget is small but the demand for content is big. Ghostwriters are often the affordable solution.

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By Larry Alton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Starting a business from the ground up involves a huge time commitment. Startups face a tough marketing environment, since most need to have a large impact with a small budget.

It's admirable to want to take the helm and work around the clock with your dedicated team of supporters. This, however, is an unsustainable model. With the heavy emphasis on online content and social media interaction to boost online visibility, it can be difficult to manage your time effectively.

Unless you have a talented individual you can designate as your content guru, outsourcing your content is a viable and sustainable choice. Hiring a ghostwriter is a great way to manage your tasks and develop an online presence without breaking the bank.

Ghostwriters work in one of two ways. They will either be individual contractors or staffers of an organization that specializes in ghostwritten content. If you don't already use the services of an outside marketing company, it may be time to look into this investment.

Ghostwriting company.

An external marketing company often has the resources and industry knowledge to help you develop a comprehensive plan for your marketing needs. One area it will suggest is content writing. The firm may have a team of ghostwriters who can take over the task of writing content for you. Or they may outsource the work to another firm that specializes in content ghostwriting.

These ghostwriters can research and write appropriate content to improve your web presence, brand recognition and reputation. A ghostwriting or marketing company will have best practices in place to ensure that you receive consistent and quality information every time you use its services.

Related: Telling Your Story: 5 Rules for 'Content Marketing'

Individual contractor.

If you're more inclined to hire an individual contractor to write for you or work on a more regular schedule, it's important to carefully vet him or her. There are several online places you can find ghostwriters, including freelance websites like oDesk and eLance.

Also, universities are a great place to find quality writing on a low budget. Contact the English department for recommendations of a few good candidates for what you need.

One drawback to hiring individual contractors is if they don't come through on a project, and you don't have a backup plan, you might be left without any content. You also want to make sure the content you contract for is original.

Companies that specialize in ghostwriting often use software that specifically combs content for plagiarism. Your startup shouldn't have to face a plagiarism lawsuit, and probably couldn't afford one.

Always ask for writing samples or ask a ghostwriter to do a trial assignment before contracting with him or her.

Related: Should You Outsource Content Creation or Hire a Content Marketing Team?

Benefits of quality ghostwriting.

A good ghostwriter can make a huge difference in the way your brand is represented online. For example, they can write:

  • Website content. This includes landing page information and all other pages on your website.

  • Blogs. A ghostwriter can write a blog that displays your expertise in a field. If your industry is highly specialized, the more information and direction you can give the ghostwriter, the better the content will be.

  • Articles. One of the best ways to represent your brand online is to furnish authoritative content to third party forums. Whether you choose to link back to your official site is up to you and your SEO specialists, but merely distributing content "by your company" elsewhere can improve your rankings and drive traffic to your main site.

  • Tweets and other social media content. Relevant and timely social media postings are a vital way to stay current in your industry. Have a ghostwriter provide you with relevant industry information on slow news days, or reach out whenever there's a breaking story your brand ought to address.

  • White papers and authoritative information. Whether you need to appear in an academic journal or link to an ebook on your site, a ghostwriter can take your background information and flesh it out into usable content that's helpful for your market.

When it comes to more academic or authoritative writing, using a ghostwriting company can provide benefits above and beyond an individual contractor. Many companies have different levels of writers so they can gauge the level of content needed and provide you the best information at the right price.

If you decide to hire a ghostwriter, look at several options to find the best price for your needs. You'll find fee structures that charge a flat rate for a certain type of writing, scalable prices based on word counts, and hourly writers.

Calculate what type of writing your startup will require and run the numbers for different scenarios. One formula might work better for your company than another.

Related: Why Cheap, Outsourced SEO Will Cost You in the Long Run

Larry Alton

Freelance Writer & Former Entrepreneur

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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