I think the difficulty with ghostwriting starts with the term itself – the ghost. It’s this kind of spectral disembodiment from the text, and there’s something so dead about the idea. But writing should never be dead. It should be exciting and engaging. When creating content for clients, the challenge is often striking balance between the ‘writer’ and the ‘ghost.’
From reports to bylines to e-books, it’s my daily responsibility to embody people that aren’t me and take on perspectives that aren’t mine. It can be a struggle to write like a business or technology expert, particularly when you work with a wide range of individuals and the businesses they represent. However, at Walker Sands, I’ve found these three strategies valuable when ghostwriting.
Listening seems like such a basic first step, but it’s consistently the best foundation for quality ghostwriting. Growing up, I got pretty good at imitating my sister. From all the time we spent together, I could mimic her voice and inflection. Even her body language. The more I listened to her, the better I could act like her. The same goes when writing for our clients.
Ghostwriting requires a different kind of listening, far from the passive listening – the mechanic head nodding and occasional mhm’ing – that’s all too common in corporate America. It’s listening for phrases and word choice, tone and quirks that make our clients individuals. We listen for questions that still need to be answered and perspectives that will set our clients apart from their competition. We listen not just to learn, but to become.
Any chance I get to hear first-hand from a client makes my writing better. Thought-leadership calls, brainstorms, webinars and videos – all exposure helps to differentiate one client voice from the next. This is how we give life back to the ghost.
Specialize in an Industry
No matter how good we get at personifying clients, the vast nature of the B2B technology industry remains. Just as our clients are not experts in all technology subsets, it can be difficult to confidently write when we are tasked with tackling many fields.
That’s where specialization comes in at Walker Sands. The ability to focus on one or two practice areas gives us, as ghostwriters, the time and energy to become mini-experts in our own right. Ownership over a select group of industries supplements the writing I do for clients. First, it gives me a better understanding of where each fits into their industry at large. And second, more in-depth knowledge within a specific domain helps me identify a client’s key differentiators from the crowded market place. This allows me to weave a client’s competitive advantages into all types of writing.
Get it Right the Second Time
With writing, edits are to be expected. Red is constructive, not bad. When it comes to ghostwriting for clients, this notion is even truer as you begin to take on not only another person’s knowledge, but also his or her style.
This is not to suggest that we do shoddy work on first iterations. However, adapting to edits and building upon them for future writing is a critical skill of a ghostwriter. Taking the time to filter through edits – questioning some while accepting others – helps me get into the psychology of why a client writes the way they do. Something as subjective as writing is nearly impossible to executive without fault the first time around. But that’s okay, because getting it wrong the first time means that we can learn how to get it right the second time. Every piece we write builds from and improves upon the last one.
Meeting client standards and matching their experience gets easier with every piece of ghostwriting. At Walker Sands, we’re always working on new strategies to think more like clients, and we are constant learners when it comes to B2B technologies. Walker Sands values techniques to think and operate like an expert. What’s more, these skills aren’t static. As our ghostwriting strategies focus on long-term improvement, they’re intuitively flexible to the spectrum of clients and industries we encounter.
Every day I adapt to a new persona. No matter what I write about today or who I become tomorrow, I’m constantly refining the skills needed to produce first-rate creative for our clients.
Half ghost, half writer – 100 percent results.
Last week over 10,000 people in the financial technology industry gathered in Las Vegas for the Money 20/20 2015 conference. Our FinTech practice lead, Andrew Cross, and other team members were in attendance to support several of our clients. The conference highlighted more than 550 speakers from across the globe and hosted 3,000 companies during the three days. Over the course of the conference, we monitored the twitter conversations using client Wayin’s social aggregation and visualization tool. Check out what was being talked about and what the biggest influencers had to say.
Tweets from Sunday 10/25 at 9:00am to Wednesday 10/28 at 9:30pm
Wayin Social Visualization of Tweets:
Wayin utilizes social intelligence to create engaging visualizations by analyzing and integrating social content into marketing and sales efforts. Wayin helps brands gain control over social data resulting in real-time experiences that build trust and facilitate action for consumers. Visit http://wayin.com/ to learn more.
Happy Friday and Halloween Eve! Here’s a recap of this week’s industry news!
Following Amazon’s lead, Walmart has joined the battle of the skies to use drones for their customer deliveries. Reuters reported that Walmart has already submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for product deliveries and returns. However, the FAA just announced new restrictions and registration procedures for private drone use. Walmart announced that they would be using drones from the company DJI to facilitate deliveries. Some possible functions of the drone would be local grocery delivery and neighborhood product drop-off locations. Unfortunately until the FAA finalizes a plan to regulate commercial-drone use, companies including Walmart and Amazon will not be flying anything to your home anytime soon.
As marketing manager for Walker Sands, I’m constantly looking for opportunities to expand our in house knowledge with the latest in B2B marketing and technology. Marketing has evolved into a full digital offering and Walker Sands offers an integrated, full house –in house solution. I’m a firm believer in practicing what we preach. So, from SEO to data studies, we’re running campaigns to continually develop our own brand awareness and test new concepts before introducing them to clients.
It’s with this mentality that I’m excited to attend the annual digital marketing conference C3 on October 28th – 29th in New York where 1250+ marketing executives, online marketers, content marketers and search specialists will gather to share their companies’ most successful earned media strategies.
The agenda is jam packed with sessions focused on trending topics including “The Power of Video in Building Brands” from Mark McMaster of Google and “Creating Content, Conversations and Community on a National Scale” from Teach for America. A final panel, “The Fab Four: Google, Pinterest, Microsoft and Facebook,” will conclude the two day conference.
As a marketer, I love to test new concepts as they emerge, but I don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel each time you do. With that, I’m looking forward to learning how our challenges align with those discussed by presenters and attendees, and the tactics they’ve implemented to overcome them. Additionally, I’ll be using the conference to kickstart our own strategy and planning for 2016 – so I look forward to fresh, creative ideas to enhance those discussions.
Check back here in the next few weeks for my takeaways and learnings from C3!
For martech vendors, understanding the perspective of the individuals you’re selling within an organization makes all the difference. Depending on the size of the company, the age of its employees or the product you’re selling, the way in which the organization’s decision makers approach the research and decision-making process varies drastically.
To help martech sellers better understand the various types of martech buyers, Walker Sands surveyed more than 300 marketers ranging from entry-level employees to CMOs. The survey found that not only are there multiple people involved within a typical martech purchase decision, but also that most martech buyers are already halfway to a decision before contacting a sales representative.
With so many people involved in making martech decisions and those individuals conducting extensive research about vendors on their own, sellers need to determine who is making decisions about specific technology and the path that each decision-maker takes to reach a decision. The resulting report, The State of Marketing Technology 2016: Understanding the New Martech Buyer Journey, offers a glimpse into the thought process of every type of marketer involved in martech decisions. Here are a few key insights from the report: