When you hear “ghostwriter,” you might think, “person who helps inarticulate celebrities pen their autobiographies.” And you wouldn’t be wrong, but ghostwriters can be hired for virtually any writing task. They specialize in taking on the tone and cadence of other writers, and excel at creating copy that reflects brand identities. And that means they can help you craft smart, focused, effective newsletters.
But good writing ain’t cheap, and bringing on a ghostwriter isn’t the best solution for every organization. Even if you’re stretched for time or loathe writing yourself, think carefully before you start accepting writerly resumes. Here are some questions to ask yourself before hiring a freelancer to write your newsletters for you.
What’s your budget?
Some newsletters are purely informational, but most aim to generate new or repeat business. If you’re a volunteer-run group that only solicits donations via email twice per year, you likely don’t have the money or the need for a professional writer. But if you’re a personal stylist who gets a dozen client bookings after each newsletter is sent, it might be more cost-efficient to focus your time on the clients and let a pro focus on the newsletter.
It’s impossible to generalize ghostwriting fees, especially since some writers charge by the hour and others by the piece. But the most affordable writers will likely charge at least $50 per hour, so don’t expect to fund this expense with proceeds from the office swear jar.
Is writing your newsletter a giant time-suck?
Some people can dash off a couple of paragraphs in 20 minutes and call it good. Others labor over every word or struggle to articulate their thoughts. If you need to get newsletters out to keep business humming but have lots of other tasks on your plate, bringing on a ghostwriter can save you precious working hours.
Another time-related factor would be how often your newsletter is sent. If it goes out quarterly, you’re probably able to carve out time to write it yourself. If you send monthly, you may scramble to create coherent, relevant, engaging content 12 times per year. Of course you need to weigh time against money: Hiring a writer to do four newsletters per year will likely cost you less than shelling out monthly.
How are your SEO skills?
Ghostwriters with marketing and blogging experience will likely be able to craft emails that drive readers back to your website, encourage them to subscribe to your blog feed, and emphasize other points of connection. Activities like these indirectly influence your SEO, which gives you search visibility and ultimately brings you new customers for your business or subscribers for your blog. You may keep SEO top-of-mind naturally or build in features that remind you to engage your newsletter readership. If you do, kudos! And by all means continue writing those emails yourself. But if you don’t, working with an expert writer can be beneficial.
Does your brand have a specific voice?
It should, of course. But unless you’ve recently re-branded or think constantly about your mission statement, you might drift away from that voice while writing your newsletters. When you hire a ghostwriter, you’ll need to set content parameters but you’ll also want to discuss tone, voice, and brand characteristics. The writer will be focused on those parameters every time she/he creates new content for you, which keeps your voice consistent.
On the flip side, if maintaining an authentic voice — your own — is a priority, be aware that no ghostwriter will be able to crawl inside your head and write exactly as you do. Ghostwritten copy will be polished and focused, so if you prefer your communications a little rough around the edges, write them yourself.
Bringing in an expert isn’t ALWAYS the best policy. A ghostwriter can help you create engaging, elegant newsletters, but that doesn’t mean absolutely everyone should hire out. Give some thought to your budget, time constraints, SEO, and brand voice to make sure ghostwritten newsletters will work for your organization.