5 Tips to Excel in Ghostwriting

It doesn’t make any difference if you’re already a great ghostwriter or someone who is just beginning the ghostwriter’s journey. If you have high expectations for your business and you want to succeed as a ghostwriter, you have to be able to provide certain elements. More times than not, we tend to assist in ways that aren’t necessarily needed, thereby, not giving the right attention or worth to our writing.

If you’re a ghostwriter, and want to have a reputable business, take these tips and introduce them into your writing services.

Put client’s needs first: If you’re an established and excellent writer, but fail to meet your clients’ needs or expectations, it will negatively impact your business. Your passion may keep your business going as a ghostwriter, but your client’s happiness will keep the business running. You must first possess the skills to fully understand a client. Most often, you’ll need to explain to them what you do as a ghostwriter and how you can help their business and efficiently solve their content issues. The main purpose for a ghostwriter is to write for someone else, so putting your needs aside to produce great content is a must. Only use your personality when it really fits with the client.

Apply your Knowledge: Of course, when a client contacts you inquiring about your writing services, it’s good to be able to talk about how your writing serves a genuine purpose to them. However, you should try to assist even further by possibly adding marketing, editing and/or proofreading, as well as other business strategies to your skill-set. It helps to make a list of everything you do daily and make notes of each step. Who knows, it might possibly turn into a service you could offer to a business owner. Your writing can go a long way, but the extras you can provide will be an added benefit.

Your Experience: Another great way to get more clients and have a “voice” in the ghostwriter community is by creating social media presences across the web. You are probably tired of hearing about the “know, like and trust” factor, but social media is how you obtain that. Additionally, implementing SEO strategies into both your own content and your client’s content is an excellent skill, as well as an added service. It’s basically a standard now, so if you haven’t learned about Search Engine Optimization, you need to. It’s important as a ghostwriter to be honest about your abilities, or the lack thereof, but also showing your willingness to learn and explaining all the other benefits you have to offer.

Marketing: Learning the most you can about marketing your own business will not only be beneficial to you in that regard, but it will also give you the expertise and knowledge to better assist your clients. It is not necessary to be a sales guru by any means, but acquiring the basic skill-set to market a business on the Internet will be an extremely valuable tool.  Where your website and writing services are concerned, make sure you’re providing informative and valuable content and that your pitch isn’t over-cluttered with a sales approach, but more of an informative approach.

Let your client speak: It’s a great thing to already know how to get in there and tackle your writing projects, but just because you have gained all this experience and knowledge, doesn’t mean you should close yourself off to new ideas. Your clients are in business too and probably come up with some interesting ideas from time-to-time, most of which are worth hearing. Some of those will be worth developing and implementing, so don’t cut you or your writing short. Remembering that your writing only goes as far as the ideas that are already in place and those new ideas will keep it expanding.

These five tips will surely give more worth and value to your services as a ghostwriter. Not only will it benefit your business, but your ghostwriter experience, client relationships and extent of knowledge will all be positively impacted.

Would you add anything to this list of five tips? Please take the time to share, that way we all learn.

Article Marketing Freelancers and Freelance Writers: 11 Wise Writing Tips When Writing for the Web

Writing articles or writing for the web does not differ too much from writing for “normal” printed publications. If you know how to write, you are one step ahead of most folks. Adjusting your writing to compliment the web, only takes a few minor adjustments that are easy to understand.

We all make mistakes, and I know that’s hard to admit for some, but it is a reality. We get in a hurry, don’t pay attention, or the dog comes wagging up to you with a mouse in his mouth! Yep, total distraction, and it happens to the best of us.

However, if you’re not careful, writing for the web can sometimes generate repeated mistakes simply due to the amount of work you’re trying to produce. Fortunately, with a few tweaks here and there, these mistakes can be avoided. You certainly don’t have to be an English major, a wizard or a genius to be a talented writer, especially when writing for the web.

The following are the most common mistakes a lot of people make when writing for the web.

It is, its and it’s

I’m assuming we all know how to use “it is,” but when it comes to the apostrophe, things can get twisted and distorted. For the record, “its” is a term used to express possession such as, “its color is black.” The latter, “it’s” is short for “it is” such as “It’s snowing outside!”

Punked out by Punctuation

Did you know that excessive use of the comma can turn readers off?! Yeah, it’s true. Furthermore, colons and their sister, semi-colons should be avoided all together if at all possible. If you find yourself using an enormous amount of commas, colons and semi-colons, what you should do is create shorter sentences instead. For example, let’s say you have, “It’s super important to keep in mind three basic aspects when buying a new car; appeal, affordability, and comfort.” What you should do instead is, “Appeal, affordability and comfort should all be aspects to keep in mind when buying a new car.” See how easy and natural that sounds? No semi-colon is necessary!

Periods and Spacing

We should all know how to properly space and put periods in their respective places, however, most of us learned in school to double space after periods. When it comes to the writing on the web, only one space after a period is all you need.

NO “And’s,” “But’s” or “Yet’s”

I don’t mean you can’t use these words at all, what I mean is you should never start a sentence with those words. It’s an easy and simple mistake to make and quite common. Instead of using one of those words, try using something like “However,” or something closely related.

Keep it Short and Perky

When you’re writing an article or web content, try keeping your sentences to a minimum and be sure to include some spunk. With a little personality added to a simple sentence, your reader will continue to read more. It’s also a fabulous idea to use bullets or numbers when making points.

Help with Headlines

Always capitalize the main words in your headline, but not all the words. Exclude “is,” “of,” “to,” and “for.” UNLESS one of those words appear at the beginning of your headline, then you should capitalize it. Additionally, breaking up your content into sections and using headlines to identify each piece is extremely helpful for the reader.

There, Their and They’re

Use the appropriate format for your sentence. Let’s go over it.

–        There, conveys location. “My book is over there.”

–        Their, conveys that someone possesses something. “Their writing sucks.”

–        They’re, used to shorten “they” and “are.” “They’re having such a great time.”

Than and Then

Just to set things straight, let’s define the proper use of these two little buggers.

–        Than: Usually this word will follow right after a “there” because it is a quantitative term, (meaning mathematical.) For example, “There is nothing more frustrating than someone who tries to tell people how to write.”

–        Then: This word indicates time such as, “We didn’t have the Internet back then.”-

First person or third person, who really gives a flip?

Well, if you’re writing articles or any online content, you should give a flip. Pay close attention to how you begin your articles and how you finish them. Many times throughout the Internet you can see a shift in an article from first person to third person or the opposite. Figure out what perspective you want to write from and stick with it. It can be quite confusing if you don’t.

Oh yeah, I am writing for the Internet, and they have links!

When you’re writing, and if it is applicable, use links in your writing. Whether it’s for a definition, a place, an event, another website, or anything really, it allows the reader to get involved or find the answer to questions they might be pondering.

Try to avoid using “Just”

When you use the word “just” it implies to the reader that the task or subject matter is easier than portrayed. For some, this could upset them to the extent they may go off and tweet about it…heaven forbid. Simply remember, (I SO wanted to use “just”) the implication of this word and use it sparingly.

Alright, that pretty much sums it up and now you know the most common mistakes to avoid when writing articles or writing for the web. You are now equipped to write better copy and produce stunning results.

What are some of your mistakes when writing for the web? Do share; we’d love to hear them!

10 Effective Tips for Proofreading

As a Ghostwriter and Article Expert, I’m always looking for efficient, quick and creative tips for proofreading. Unfortunately, for proofreaders and ghostwriters alike, there just is not an exact or perfect science to the madness. It is an art in itself.

Through practice and repetition is how a proofreader can become a great proofreader. Many times in our writings it’s very easy to get confused on certain aspects. It’s typical to mean one thing but say or write another. It’s hard to keep it all perfect, but with a bit of guidance, you can certainly get there.

Furthermore, being able to write and edit with efficiency and correct structure is a virtue that all writers should continually work on and perfect. If you want to become a better and more proficient proofreader, read through these tips and practice, practice, practice!

1. Concentration

Concentration is critical, especially when you’re reading through an article, paper, or email to perfect it down to the smallest of details. If you are doing the proofreading for someone else or for yourself, you need to work in an environment that allows you to concentrate; otherwise you’ll end up with an erroneous paper.

2. Take a break

Taking some time out to stop, rest your eyes and then come back to the work you are working on might be beneficial. Resting allows you to pick up on things you may have missed the first or second time. Let’s face it; sometimes you just need a break.

3. Focus on one thing at a time

To avoid becoming overwhelmed or missing out on key errors, it’s important to break up the paper you’re working on into sections and only focus on certain problems one at a time. You may find it beneficial to break up the paper in chunks and focus on problems with sentence structure, then move on to choice of words, spelling and end it with punctuation. You may also want to look out for the following, of course, one at a time:

–        Homonyms: Homonyms are the words that share the same pronunciation or spelling. Words such as “except” and “accept” and “compliment” and “complement.”

–        Apostrophes and Contractions: These include words such as “there”, “their” and “they’re,” or “two”, “to” and “too.” A key to apostrophes is remembering that they are never used to formulate plurals. Just possessives.

4.      Facts, Names and Numbers = Check: Not only should you focus on spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors but you should also make sure you have your facts correct. Double checking numbers, statistics, and formal, full names are all very important. If you are wrong, made a mistake, or typed in an extra zero where you shouldn’t, this could hurt your credibility in the future.

5.      Printed Copy: Having a copy of whatever you’re working on in a printed format, can seriously impact your ability to pick up on erroneous material. Being able to go over it line-by-line and being able to write on the paper, can help tremendously. Nice little changes like proofreading on a screen to paper can help you catch mistakes that you may have missed previously.

6.      Proofread Verbally: Not only do print copies come in handy, but also reading your material out loud can be beneficial. Some problems that you don’t pick up on visually may be picked up on verbally.

7.      Dictionary: If you’re not quite sure about specific wording or if it’s correct, a dictionary still comes in handy, even in this highly technical era. Equally as important, if you’re looking to expand your vocabulary, a Thesaurus is a great idea.

8.      Start from the end: Another strategy that may help you pick up on errors that you’ve missed previously is starting from the end of your article, newsletter, or book and working backwards. It’s another way to proofread and focus more on words rather than full sentence structures.

9.      Ask for a second opinion: Asking someone else to proofread the writing that you’re working on can be very helpful. Another person can give a fresh outlook and pick up on things that you may have missed. This person can be a proofreader, but they don’t have to be. Anyone who knows how to read will be able to find errors, if there are any.

10.   Make a Proofreading list: Much like this list I’ve written for your benefit, you can use your own skills and habits and develop your own list that you can check off as you proofread. This is to make sure you don’t miss any specific areas. You can also take note of things that you regularly miss so that you catch it next time.

Whether you’re a Ghostwriter or not, now you’ve got a handy proofreading list to help improve your habits. Hopefully, you’ll find at least one of these suggestions helpful in your proofing efforts. What is something you do when conducting your proofreading efforts? Do share and we’ll add them to this list.

Things You May Not Know About Ghostwriters

For many Ghostwriters and writers in general, there are many methods of getting published in existence today. However, some writers feel they lack certain traits or components to consistently produce engaging, solid and fresh content.

So, what happens when writers struggle with publishing or content creation? They hire a Ghostwriter! It happens a lot more than you would ever imagine.

Generally, Ghostwriters handle a number of assignments and a heavy work-load. They are well-versed and experienced in handling many tasks such as single article writing, web content creation, proofing, editing, and blogging, just to mention a few, all the way up to helping with a full-length novel. The term “Ghostwriter” simply means they do not receive any credit for the writing they do for their clients, and their clients can publish the work as if it were their own, with no repercussions.

Ghostwriters specialize in many areas and can write a number of different things.

Due to the vast subjects across the web, Ghostwriters are very flexible and can fit in just about anywhere in a wide variety of genre’s and niches.  They may be summoned to create content for websites, online businesses, brick and mortar businesses and even other writers.  Some Ghostwriters may choose to specialize in certain areas, where others may be more versatile in their knowledge and experience and prefer to create content on any topic, genre or niche.

Generally they are hired to help create articles for article marketing, blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns, web pages, BIOs, press releases, white papers and eBooks, to name a few. Some Ghostwriters are experienced in helping authors get their books into print publication, proof reading and editing.  Some might even write speeches, eulogies, business plans, and other areas where technical or formatted writing is needed.

How can you find or get connected to a Ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters can be found all across the internet. Many Ghostwriters or Ghostwriting companies have websites with examples or portfolios, contact information and rates. They are also marketing savvy and create marketing campaigns through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like.  Ghostwriters also network with other writers by joining different forums and writing communities, which may lead to referrals and recommendations.  If you’re in need of hiring a Ghostwriter, finding one that suits your business needs won’t be very difficult.  However, finding a great Ghostwriter will take in-depth research or possibly even a referral from a trusted source.

With the way technology is soaring and the marketing needed for online business owners, Ghostwriters are in high demand.

What Skills is Necessary for Great Ghostwriting?

If you are interested in writing for companies within the United States, you must have a solid understanding of the English language.  In addition, you’ll need to have detailed research skills, excellent typing, spelling, grammar, ability to meet all deadlines, work in a fast-paced and stressful environment, marketing, constant contact with your clients, and knowledge of the different writing styles.

How can you be a Ghostwriter?

Becoming a Ghostwriter takes persistence, dedication, discipline, motivation and organizational skills.  It certainly helps to have a true passion for writing. I can’t imagine anyone doing this that doesn’t truly LOVE it and feel it is their “calling.” If you write without passion, then others will certainly be able to recognize it, and that could damage your reputation.

You’ll need to learn how to market yourself, your services, set your rates, set up a website, create marketing plans, perform article marketing, set limits, figure out your niche, stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technology, and most important…practice, read and write a lot.

6 Simply Awesome Tips to Get Your Articles Read

I know from experience as a Ghostwriter, there are quite a few people out there who really dread writing articles, blogs, or any online content for that matter.  Most people who are not professional writers feel that writing an article would involve too much work, or that its wasted time spent on something people won’t read.  Even readers can develop these feelings, especially if the article seems bland, boring or uncreative. The sole purpose of an article is to have it read, but also to share your important information, or something you are passionate about. In the end, if you don’t put forth the effort, it won’t be read and it will be wasted time.

Of course, for an article to be read, it must be written first! The focus should be put on making the article great and it doesn’t have to be hard or straining. You just need to pay attention to a couple of key parts and follow a few guidelines. Once you’ve incorporated these keys, and make a habit out of them, your writing can be fun and your articles can turn into profitable means for business.

Simply stated, your articles must be about something related to your interests or something that you have knowledge about. Whether it’s your business, hobby or something new you are learning if you know about it and/or are interested in it, this will make the writing much easier.

The bottom line is to create interesting content with creativity.

Here are 6 simply awesome tips that will make your articles enjoyable to read.

1.  Create short paragraphs. When you write a paragraph that is lengthy, the words get all cluttered in the reader’s mind. Sometimes it can cause confusion, and worse, they might quit reading it. So, when you write a paragraph, go back through it and chop the excess off. Make it short, sweet and simple, and don’t forget to get to the point, that’s what readers are after anyways. Also, having 10 paragraphs that are a sentence or two long, is also an acceptable format.

2. Use some bullets. And I don’t mean those from a gun! (Being from Texas you have to watch what you say when you are talking about bullets).  Definitely try to compose your main points into bullets or a numbered list. Overall, the reader will be able to grasp and remember all the main points, tips, or keys you’re addressing. When readers see those bullets, they know that is where the tips start and they know they can get answers fast. Remember to indent them, so they are spaced separately from the paragraphs.

3. Sub-Headings = Sub-divided paragraphs.  See here, how I have each tip in bold letters? This really helps to break up the paragraphs, or in this case, tips, so that it flows quite nicely. It also makes it easier for the reader to navigate through the article, from one point to another. This creates a smooth and efficient transition which will keep the reader’s attention.

4. Create an AWESOME title or header. If a reader is interested in your article just by the title alone, you are off to a great start, my friend. Titles are what inspire people to read. Think about all those trash mags you see at the grocery line counter, its trash, but you’re still interested aren’t you? Your titles should remain short, but enticing! They should describe your article, but again, in a simple yet creative way.

Examples: Reach out to your reader’s emotions or provide something interesting, such as, “Tips to make her want you now,” “How to give her goose-pimples,” or more commanding titles like, “Get her to say “I’m yours” in 6 easy steps.”

5. Keep the “Interesting” rolling. From start to finish, your article should contain things that are very interesting.  You want the reader step back and say, “Oh, now that’s interesting.” Of course, you don’t want to overdo it and throw facts left and right, but you know, let the “interesting” flow. Real life situations are always great to engage readers because people can relate. Descriptions, details, metaphors can guide the reader’s imagination through your article. Remember, making their reading experience exciting, fun and pleasurable will bring them back for more.

6. Use facts and figures. Throwing in a few statistical facts, some numbers, or a graph or two can really drive your article. This is because it presents an authoritative presence.  By no means do you want to make it too formal, but something light and easy will be engaging and it can help to back up whatever you are writing about.

Taking the time to really use these few steps will do wonders for your articles. Just give all of them or some of them a try and see which ones may work best for your article marketing efforts.

What are some of your tips that you have found work for you?

8 Successful Tips on Hiring the Perfect Ghostwriter for Your Online Content

Hiring a Ghostwriter, Copywriter or Article Expert can be a difficult task.  You may not have the slightest notion of where to start.  You may not know what questions to ask, or where to find a writer, or you feel it is task difficult to outsource, or you feel you need to remain in control, or you may not know how to qualify a good writer, and there many other questions that run through your mind.

Online business owners need fresh and consistent content for many business needs.  Give yourself that well-deserved time and hire a Ghostwriter to help you, and then you go and enjoy the things that are important to you.  As your business grows, and if you want to remain competitive and successful, you will have to outsource some of your tasks and projects.  Go ahead, give up just some of that control and focus on what you do best for your business, while the Ghostwriter works their magic.

Hiring a Ghostwriter will help you gain traffic, build back-links, convey your expertise, build trust, increase visibility, showcases you as the “go-to” resource and expert, reduce stress, save you money, and overall, a much simpler and enjoyable life.

Here are a few tips when hiring a Ghostwriter.

1.  Define Your Needs

It’s imperative that you define your needs to determine exactly what it is you are hoping to accomplish.  Do you need web content, article marketing, blog posts, newsletters, press releases, special reports, email campaigns, eBooks or white papers?  Not only will this give you a clear picture, but it will also help in describing it to your potential Ghostwriter.  Writers need as much information up front in order to give you a fair and accurate rate for your tasks. So, be ready with some clear objectives, schedules, and deadlines.

2.  Interview the Chosen Ghostwriter

Okay, so you’ve done your research and located some potential ghostwriters, now conduct an interview with them.  Have a list of interview questions already set up and ready to go.  Ask specific questions related to your niche, services, or industry.  Ask for references from previous clients, and/or samples of their work.  Don’t be afraid to ask tons of detailed questions.  You need to be sure you are comfortable with what they can produce, and if they have the experience you seek.

3.  Pricing and Rates

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a Ghostwriter based only on their rates.  Remember, you get what you pay for, and this is a reflection on you as well.  Ghostwriters just write the content; however, that content represents you as if you wrote it, and shines a light on you as the expert in your niche.  So be careful when choosing someone with the lowest rates.  I would recommend getting rid of the lowest and highest bids you have received.  Work within the middle range and you are more apt to find that perfect match to produce your content.

4.  Writing Samples and Portfolios

Always ask for writing samples, clips, links to published work, and references.  You may not need all of those to determine the best Ghostwriter for your needs, but figure out what would represent their writing style the best and go with that.  After they have provided all of that and you’re still not sure, ask them to write a short sample of the sort of content you specifically need.  You might even consider hiring them for a short trial run to determine if they can consistently provide the right content.  Have them possibly create two or three blogs posts or a couple articles for a couple weeks with the understanding this is a trial run with no further commitments.  This will show you what sort of “voice” they use and if it will fit into your niche and industry.

5.   Ownership of Written Material

Very important to set clear and detailed objectives as to who will own the work once the writing is completed.  Ghostwriters should know that the content they produce will be owned by you with no reference to them at all.  There are some variations to this though, and that certainly needs further discussion with your Ghostwriter.  Make sure you convey what you are expecting.  This is also something you may consider adding to your service agreement contract or your non-disclosure agreement.

6.  Warranty or Guarantee

You might consider having a support clause or warranty to ensure you have continued support once the project is completed.  You might need some slight changes, updates or corrections to your completed project.  These are terms than can be negotiated by specifying a certain amount of free support, or discounted rates for any modifications you may need within a reasonable time frame.  This will save you money, time and stress in the future.

7.  Service Agreement

In most cases, the Ghostwriter will provide a service agreement before work commences.  It is critical to be protected and have in writing specific details of the writing project.  Things like a cancellation policy, change policy, non-disclosure, warranty clause, payment intervals, work ownership, and rates.  If there happens to be changes, make sure to get it in writing and both parties agree.  Additionally, keep records of emails, service agreement modifications, and any other correspondence pertaining to your project.

8. Etiquette and Housekeeping

Always be considerate and respectful of your Ghostwriter’s time.  In most cases they have other clients they service in addition to your project.  We know there are going to be things come up that are totally out of our control and cannot be helped, but keep in mind and try to avoid the following: adding more to your project once it has already been determined, changing a deadline (especially moving it up), asking for additional services for free, calling at odd hours of the day (adhere to their office or working hours), emailing every time you think of something (wait and send one email with everything you need).

Above all, be honest, kind, dependable, understanding, ethical, and respectful.  With those attributes, you and your Ghostwriter will have an outstanding long-term relationship that will ultimately result in increased sales.  That’s what we are all aiming for right?

Take time to incorporate these eight steps into your Ghostwriter search and you’ll end up with the perfect fit for you and your business.  Finding, hiring, and assembling the right outsourcing staff is worth the time and investment.  It will save you tons of headaches down the line.

What are some of the guidelines you go by when seeking outside help? Do you outsource any writing projects?  Leave a comment and share some of your expertise.  Thanks for your time!