Updated: Aug 6, 2021
What comes to mind when you consider writing web content, a book, or correspondence?
If you’re like my clients, it’s not because you can’t spell. You might need extra eyes to edit what you write, but you don’t lack talent. Entrepreneurs are usually great storytellers.
It’s the nonstop tick of the clock, and endless demands on schedules, that steers people my way. Like you, they have an abundance of knowledge, skill and wisdom to share. They know frequent, current content creates energy and credibility in their business.
But people have legitimate apprehensions. Entrusting your voice and intellectual substance to someone else is risky. More so, in some ways, than doing the same with a scientific formula or patented engineering process. Numbers and formulas, at the very least, do not change.
Perhaps you’ve thought of hiring a ghostwriter and wondered, “How can someone else possibly take over my voice? How can they know what I know, and think what I think?”
Or maybe you looked further down the road and said, “How could I take credit for something written by someone else?” Some authors insist on including the ghostwriter’s name in the title, such as this famous book:
I affirm genuine concern for your intellectual property, and appreciate your desire for authenticity. Especially in the time we live in, good communication is as difficult to identify as it is to produce.
Ghostwriters worth their salt in today’s market come prepared to accept consulting projects, in lieu of full-fledged creative work. Clients’ needs can be knee-deep (an extra set of eyes) to neck-deep (extra minds, eyes and hands doing the project for them).
But, by the same authentic token, you risk depriving your target market of something, if you attempt to write your content on a pure solo basis. You will deprive them of the flood of creativity that comes with involving others in your project, silently or otherwise.
Think for a moment of the endless creativity and infinite variety of musical styles and genres. Almost none of it is written, performed, produced, recorded and engineered by just one person.
Music has such spiritual and emotional potency … because it is forged by the interaction of human souls, personalities, backgrounds and skill levels. Rare exceptions to this only prove the rule, courtesy of my friend, Rabbi Daniel Lapin: “True creativity always involves at least two human beings who are different from one another.”
Just try starting a business without customers, a band without instrumentalists, or a marriage and family without a spouse, if you disagree.
Why You’re “Already” Using Ghostwriters … You Just Don’t Realize It
Maybe you’d be surprised to learn: marketing is much easier to do, with other people doing it for you. Your referral partners and existing customers are your “marketing ghostwriters.” I encourage people to leverage these relationships to create your own “unpaid sales force” in my book, Influencer Networking Secrets.
As I built two businesses in the local insurance market, I found “imprinting myself” in the minds of others worked better than tooting my own horn. By investing in people, they would recommend me to their networks. They “ghost-wrote” my sales pitch … and usually did the “persuading” for me.
Indirectly, I merged my energy with theirs. People do business with others they “know, like and trust” because of the spiritual exchange that takes place when we’re together. My partners functioned as “social proof,” and formed a chain of “affiliates” that endorsed me.
Whatever you might write by yourself - web content, a book, a keynote speech, a shareholder letter - becomes more powerful, not less, when you work with others to write it. If it’s good enough for CEOs and US presidents … it’s good enough for you.
How The Ghostwriting Process Changes Things
If we believe that every word printed in the Bible belongs there, what do you do with obscure verses like this?
“I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.” - Romans 16:22
Was Tertius merely taking dictation, or did he influence the content of the letter? I don’t know. I’ve never heard anyone teach on it. But you have to wonder why Sha’ul (Paul) did not write the letter himself. If you employ someone to write for you, the words you speak aloud will, in many cases, end up differently on paper.
Love him or hate him, note the difference in the way President Donald Trump speaks at rallies, versus how he “reads” in his ghost-written bestseller, “The Art of the Deal.” You can tell by the thought content that you’re sampling Trump’s mind. What’s missing are the shorthand phrases, interruptions of his own thoughts and expressions he uses for emphasis.
Now you may ask, “Edwards, who really cares about this?” Nobody, I suppose … unless you’re a theologian, or a ghostwriter. If you’re both of those things, like me, you begin to think of all the ways God built ghostwriting into His wisdom - and you find it quite believable that Tertius’ name appears in Romans because he did have influence over how it was written.
Referring back to my “fan club,” God explicitly tells us to let other people beat our drum. Let others do your marketing for you, and shape how you position yourself. The Word says:
“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth.” - Proverbs 27:2
Well? What do you figure? It sounds like God wants us to have “ghostwriters” who praise our skills, talents and virtues. Knowing how he feels about our susceptibility to pride … it’s better that people hear about our strengths through others’ lips. Or do you think it’s coincidence people read reviews and testimonials like they’re going out of style?
Would it be a stretch to imagine God feels the same way, when we choose to publish the substance of our strengths? He could have written the entire Bible by Himself. He didn’t need Moses, or the prophets, or the apostles. Why does He operate the way He does? Perhaps He recognizes the value of each contributor far more than we do.
God also barrels on about the importance of transparency in our plans and tactics, refusing to let anyone think themselves an island:
“Where there is no counsel, people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” - Prov. 15:22
It’s isolation that catches us off-guard, and wrangles us into discrediting ourselves. Whether you’re discussing character and personal development, or professional skills like communicating - we could do with a new mindset on authenticity and originality!
If we choose to remain isolated when we engage our creativity:
We’ll start blogs, but won’t keep them going.
We’ll talk endlessly of writing books, and never get to them.
We’ll intend one message to our teams, and end up sending another.
We’ll have perfect spelling and grammar … and people will find us boring, vague, difficult to understand or lost in the outer space of our own navel-gazing.
We’ll lead people down rabbit holes that have nothing to do with our stated topic
Verbally, you can get away with things like this. It’s far less frequent to interrupt someone’s stream of consciousness spoken aloud, to get them to focus.
But in print, you aren’t audible or visible. Your tonality and context are absent, especially if your reader is a perfect stranger. If you’re seeking to influence people, especially to consider investing in your expertise … you can ill afford to lose them because you can’t stay on-message.
If you need help with a project you’re working on, I invite you to contact me. Here’s a little bit more about how we do things.