The author says they've been ghostwriting for over 15 years. Here's the things they always ask a new author I'm ghosting for:
- How can I make this easier for you? What do you want this process to look like?
- Have you already worked on an outline or even a rough draft you want me to run with?
- Would you like to make me a bullet list of all the important information you want to see included?
- Do you have 15 minutes to jump on a call and I'll pick your brain?
- Want to send me voice notes? A doodle? Smoke signals?
The first thing you can do to set your topic experts and writers up for a productive, collaborative relationship is to give them the freedom to define their own processes. The author used to create content for a polar expeditions brand. For content generation purposes, they regularly interviewed their polar experts. Most of these people worked on Arctic and Antarctic expeditions a good chunk of the year. Ever tried to interview a polar bear researcher in Russia who only gets to a payphone once a week?
How about a penguinologist (it's a real thing!) who spends months at a time circulating Antarctica gathering penguin poop and feathers for DNA studies? Here's the thing: whether writing as polar experts, software engineers, C-level executives, SEO thought leaders, or real estate agents (to name just a few), the author says they've found that every topic expert has their own preferences on how to share that knowledge.
Some experts get too nervous about being interviewed to do well in a face-to-face conversation about the topic. Others love nothing more than to chat about their area of expertise. What's important is that your topic experts understand a few key things about this relationship. Here's what you as the leader of this initiative need to convey to the expert, and also build into your shared process:
- Trust that the writer is here to help you. Dear Sir or Madam Expert: This isn't going to be an exposé. We're bringing on a writer(s) who specializes in crafting optimized content to tell your story in the best possible way.
- You choose how we work together. Do you want to send an outline, forward some articles or research that's inspired you, schedule an interview, share previously published works? Let's do it. Or do you need project management help, a video conferencing platform, or assistance with scheduling? We'll put the resources in place (budget permitting) to facilitate you telling your story.
- You get the final say on everything. Yes, it can be scary to give permission to have someone else write as you. What if they make you look bad? Don't worry: you as our topic expert get final sign-off on anything that goes out in your name. And for you as the leader of this process: make sure that review and approval are actually built into your editorial workflow so this essential step is never missed.