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Reflections on Ghostwriting for B2B Technology Clients

Jeff Stehlin

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.