If you’re over 40, chances are you know exactly where you were when you found out the guys behind Milli Vanilli weren’t really the guys behind Milli Vanilli. (If you’re under 40, the day you found out Big Bird was just an eight-foot-tall anthropomorphic puppet probably had the same effect.)
Lip syncing and ventriloquism have the same purpose: to convince the audience they’re the ones doing all the work. The deception isn’t always nefarious—Big Bird’s just a puppet on a children’s TV show, after all. But the act is ultimately meant to trick the audience, just as long as the façade doesn’t wear off.
Like lip syncing and ventriloquism, ghostwriting has garnered a similar reputation. The only difference? Ghostwriting can be a major factor in scaling content marketing. But only if brand marketers know when it’s appropriate to pull in content support.
Why does ghostwriting help content marketers?
There’s no escaping it: Your audience is consuming more and more content. Before making a purchase decision, 71% of audiences explore a brand’s blog. And before they get to the blog, 32% of site visitors are checking out a brand’s social media channels.
The growth of digital marketing means brands have more ways than ever to connect with their audiences. This also means the need for content marketing has exploded.
Ghostwriting goes hand in hand with marketing because it creates opportunities for content marketers in need of quality content to fill up their editorial calendars.
The problem? Brand leaders can’t be everywhere at once. But their thought leadership should be—and thankfully, ghostwriting gets you there. One person, several megaphones.
To that end, ghostwriting helps in several key ways.
Free the content marketing misfits
You wouldn’t ask a bricklayer to paint your house. Of course, you could—it just may not be a great paint job.
Executives are tasked with plenty of big picture and day-to-day decisions. That often means writing for the company blog goes on the back burner, which bottlenecks your editorial calendar.
And that’s just the executives who can actually write. There are many who are better speakers and presenters than they are writers. It’s a sentiment that Annett Grant, president of a global speaking coaching firm, has divulged in interviews: “Speaking is not writing out loud.”
Supporting executives with ghostwriting allows their leadership and voice to shine without forcing them into unnatural content marketing responsibilities. Square pegs in round holes make for bad content. If your brilliant executive team has pearls to share, but no time to write, do it for them. The ideas still belong to them, even if they didn’t pen the words.
The important thing is to find the kind of ghostwriting support that strikes a balance between good and unrealistic. The content should be so good that brand marketers can use it as thought leadership for their content strategy—but it should speak human enough that the audience believes what you’re saying.
Stop the clock (at least a little bit)
Listen: That sound you hear is an executive blowing out a birthday candle, wishing time would freeze so they can crank out some content for one channel or another.
Unfortunately, no amount of birthday optimism can bend the laws of time and physics. (As far as we know.)
Executive ghostwriting not only gives content marketers stuff to put in their production queues—it frees up executives to do more with their time. And it doesn’t mean the content pipeline has to go stale. While writing emails and blog posts may not be the best use of executives’ time, waxing poetic in video content and sharing insights for podcast episodes could be right up their alley.
Video isn’t just a shiny object—it should be a real tactic. It’s projected that more than 80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. Brands can future-proof their content strategy by thinking of creative ways to make use of thought leadership content through video.
Ghostwriting and marketing make sense because they allow content marketers to do more despite the scarcity of executive availability. And doing more goes a long way when audiences want more, not less.
Take your brand awareness up a notch
Executive ghostwriting is also important because it accelerates go-to-market efforts. Especially for brands trying to increase awareness, the faster you get your message out there, the better its chance of sticking.
Ghostwriters aren’t just vagabond freelancing wordsmiths. Some are, but not all of them. Fractional content marketing teams can also provide ghostwriting support for brand marketers. They can be agencies or consulting collaboratives. Either way, they know what they’re doing.
Especially as organic search and social algorithms become more and more complex, content marketing expertise can be the difference between showing up and not showing up on digital screens.
With SEO in particular, the emphasis on skill is stark: 68% of online journeys begin at the search engine, but only 0.78% of people click on a second page of a Google search listing. Not all brand awareness is the right kind of brand awareness.
Ghostwriters equipped for digital marketing should also know about search engine optimization and what drives social engagement. Having this level of skill in your content marketing arsenal can drive real business results—for now and the long term.
Do it (just don’t overdo it)
Except for maybe chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a cone on a hot summer day, too much of anything is a problem.
The same goes for content marketing ghostwriting. Too many voices, and it’ll feel less like a well-run kitchen and more like too many cooks are there. Finding the right ghostwriting and marketing formula allows your executives to free up their time and also speeds up the impact of your carefully curated content calendar.
Contrary to popular belief, ghostwriting doesn’t sink a brand’s authenticity. But the right kind of content marketing support is the kind that elevates your message across channels. Your audience will thank you.