What is Ghost Blogging?

Ghost bloggers and ghostwriters are authors who are hired to write content for clients. Sounds pretty simple, right? The catch–and reason for the funny name–is that these authors don’t receive credit for their work. People can produce and receive ghost-written content for a variety of media, including blog posts, internet content, newspaper articles, songs and even books. People can make a decent career out of ghostwriting and ghost blogging, as there are many professional ghost blogging jobs in the blogosphere. There are also some controversies that have arisen from the practice of ghost blogging and ghostwriting, including how ethical it is.

What is Ghost Blogging?

For the original author, however, ghostwriting and ghost blogging can be a completely legal, legit, lucrative career. Many businesses and business owners simply do not have the time or the skills needed to create a coherent, useful blog.

People who have high levels of writing and language skill are often written off by large segments of society. “Everyone can write,” some people might say. “It’s not a big deal to be able to communicate well,” others might say. The truth is, many businesses and bloggers desperately need quality writers. While an author might not be able to be directly hired by a company, authors can sell their talent and work to people and businesses that are willing to pay a fee.

instantShift - What is Ghost Blogging

There are a few main tasks for which companies like to hire ghost bloggers or ghostwriters. One is, of course, web content. Writers and bloggers can be hired to write articles, blog posts, essays or other written content for a website. Authors have a few options, in this regard. Either authors can write blog posts or articles and sell them to ghost blogging and writing websites, or authors can join a site where they accept orders for written web content. The benefit of both of these is that a ghostwriter or ghost blogger is never forced to do work they don’t want to do. Writers who are interested in ghostwriting and blogging can stick to topics they know and love, like sports, arts and crafts, finances, technology, or food.

Depending on the route that an author takes for selling their work and services, some ghost bloggers and writers will have close communication with their clients. Authors who work closely with clients might be asked to rewrite the client’s original content or develop and format ideas, concepts and themes of the client. These ghost bloggers will primarily be concerned with revising a client’s work and with shaping the professional look of the blog. Other clients will simply give authors a topic or a subject for an article, a blog post or an entire blog and expect them to create content and structure from scratch. In any case, a ghostwriter or blogger is expected to write in any style consistent with the “company personality” in order to deliver specific company values.

People suggest that ghost blogging is wrong because it is unethical of the blog’s creator to take credit for work that they aren’t doing.

Ghost Blogging as a Career

It is likely that ghost blogging has existed since shortly after blogs became popular. Other forms of ghostwriting have certainly existed for many decades, if not centuries. Good writers should always be able to find some sort of business writing work, whether it is officially through a company or whether it is through ghostwriting or blogging. There are several ways that writers can advertise or offer their talents to prospective clients. One way is to start a blog themselves.

Blogs are great for putting authors directly in contact with potential clients. Not only can a blog be used to highlight the experiences and interests of an author, but the blog will also, by nature, be full of writing samples and examples of the writer’s style. While some people might not feel that they have the expertise or time to write and set up a blog, it is actually very easy to create a blog. To create a blog, an author will need to select a blog hosting company. Some well-known and widely used blog hosting sites include squarespace.com and blogger.com. Almost all blog hosting sites have easy-to-use software that will allow writers to create profiles, upload photographs and create notifications, in addition to all of the normal blog posting that can be done. Some blog hosting sites are free, and other blog hosting sites charge small fees for their use. Blogs that charge fees offer premium features like additional customization, ability to accommodate more internet traffic and receipt of domain names, among other features.

instantShift - What is Ghost Blogging

One of the best blog hosting sites to use is WordPress.com. WordPress.com offers bloggers several free features, including free blog setup, three gigabytes of free storage, several themes you can integrate into the blog, a statistical system that tracks the popularity of posts, how much traffic the blog is getting and where the traffic is coming from, a tagging system, an auto-save function and more. If a blogger needs extra data storage, custom design capabilities, video feeds or unlimited users on WordPress.com, they can pay for these features and more.

Establishing an identity is very important for ghostwriters and ghost bloggers. There are virtually hundreds of thousands of writers online, looking to be paid for their work. What separates one writer from another is a writer’s style and a writer’s exposure. It’s just like any other field of business. Companies and individual clients would rather work with someone they can trust. A good author who creates an online persona that people can interact with is much more likely to make contacts, build relationships and get additional work in the future.

Another way writers can find ghostwriting or ghost blogging work is to scan writing job message boards and forums for work. Sometimes, writing jobs will even show up on sites like craigslist.org. Authors can also find various writing jobs on websites like textbroker.com, demandstudios.com, odesk.com and elance.com. Please note, however, that most of these websites are not willing to pay writers, no matter how professional they are, top earning rates right off the bat. Many of these websites and companies require authors to write several articles, which are then rated for accuracy, and pass proofreading and grammatical tests before they are awarded the highest pay rate. For instance, on textbroker.com, an author might write their sign-up article and start out at the “3-star” level. For every article or blog post this person writes, they will be paid one cent per word. If their writing continues to improve and they get promoted to “4-star” level, they will begin earning 1.5 cents per typed word. To earn “5-star” status, an author must show complete grammatical mastery in their most recent submitted work, and they must pass a proofreading test that grades their knowledge of AP style. However, once they reach “5-star” status, an author will earn the maximum of five cents per word. Although processing time may vary, many of these websites will examine your most recent work when establishing your pay rate.

Other websites will allow authors to sell articles and blog posts to them directly. The company will then place the author’s blog articles in a searchable database that clients can browse and from which they can make purchases.

Several of these websites also allow authors to set their own price. On textbroker.com, clients are allowed to contact authors with “Direct Orders,” which the author will complete for the agreed-upon price. The author gets to set this price, so someone could charge as much money per word as he or she felt like they were worth. This is also why client communication and exposure is so important. If an author can build a steady work relationship with certain clients, those clients might be willing to pay a little extra to get the quality they want and need.

As shown, unless an author is being paid at the highest level, an author’s earnings will be quite low when they start out. Ghost bloggers and ghostwriters would be wise to keep their day jobs while attempting to build their ghostwriting and blogging portfolio, experience and careers.

Writers who want to ghost blog or ghostwrite need to understand that these websites are not a “one-size-fits-all” sort of work environment. Many of these companies have different editorial guidelines and style expectations that can hobble a writer’s earnings if they’re not willing to follow directions. Some ghost blogging and ghostwriting sites have no style requirements, but some sites require the immaculate usage of AP style or Chicago style. If an author isn’t willing to learn the nuances of these styles and become experts, they’ll never reach the top pay grade.

Prospective ghost bloggers and ghostwriters can also seek out successful blogs that discuss topics in which they’re interested. Authors can contact the blog owners directly to discuss whether or not the owner can use a professional blogger. Savvy authors could include a link to their own personal blog or include writing samples when they’re contacting blog owners.

Another way authors can get in touch with potential clients is through advertising. Tools like keybrokersocial targeted Facebook ads can help funnel clients to the author’s personal blog.

Authors who want to become ghostwriters and ghost bloggers need to understand that it is a business. A writer can go as far as they want. It takes hard work to get to the top, and it takes a lot of networking to build a steady stream of clients. On the other hand, if a writer is looking for a little extra income on the side, or they just want to noodle around, they can ghostwrite and ghost blog as they please.

Earnings

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As mentioned before, ghost bloggers and writers can find that they’ll be paid for their work at several different rates. Their pay rate can depend on the website they got the job on, the difficulty of the work, the number of words typed, the subject matter and their level of grammatical mastery. In general, payment can range in between $1-5 for every 100 to 150 words, and anywhere from $50-125 for every 2000 to 2500 words. However, as said before, writers who can create and maintain relationships with clients, on or off ghostwriting and blogging websites, can often negotiate their own rates.

Professional Ghost Blogging Jobs in the Blogosphere

Authors can occasionally be hired for ghost blogging jobs as a salaried position at a corporation. Companies are working hard to establish their presence in the many types of social media in existence, so writers are needed to create, write and maintain blogs, tweets, Facebook posts and more. Most ghost blogging and ghostwriting, however, will be done on a freelance basis.

Controversies and Downsides

instantShift - What is Ghost Blogging

There are a few controversies involving ghost blogging and ghostwriting. Not only do people feel that it is wrong for some people to take the credit for work of others, but many people also feel that ghost blogging can be used to misrepresent or damage companies.

There are two main problems with ghostwriting and ghost blogging. From a reader’s standpoint, they sometimes want to know that the content they’re getting is from who the website says it is. Abraham Lincoln becomes a lot less impressive if history discovers that he had a ghostwriter for the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. We want our industry leaders and contacts to care enough about their constituents and consumers that they’re willing to take the time to communicate directly with them. Blogging, in many ways, is about building relationships and trust, and when it becomes apparent that the author of your favorite blog isn’t actually creating the content that you read, it’s utterly disappointing. Can you trust a company or a blogger who isn’t who they say they are?

Another reason companies hire ghostwriters and ghost bloggers is to leave comments on certain blog posts or to write reviews of products or experiences. Companies can artificially inflate the interest in their blog sites through ghostwriters and bloggers who use pseudonyms and multiple identities. Because blogs are often rated on how many “hits” or visits they get, companies will often hire ghost bloggers and ghostwriters to comment on blog posts and drum up additional interest. This practice can indirectly increase ad revenue, as well as directly increase traffic and exposure on certain search engines.

While it’s a good marketing tactic, a lot of people feel the practice is dishonest. If a blog or a product isn’t naturally interesting, is it fair for companies to hire writers to create buzz? What about when companies use ghost bloggers to attack other companies? Some companies might hire ghost bloggers to write disparaging reviews about a competitor’s store or products. Poor reviews on a website might cause customers to take their business elsewhere. How can we trust reviews online if they might be ghostwritten?

Another problem with ghostwriting and ghost blogging is how the author’s rights are treated. Many ghostwriting companies and ghost blogging companies specify up front that, once the creative work is released into the hands of the company, the writer no longer has any rights to the text. This legal arrangement is why it is possible for companies to take the work of a Joe Everyman and pass it off as written by an expert, someone within the company or whoever they would like it to be. However, this means that writers can never claim they’ve written that text. In the cases where writers need to provide writing samples or references from work they have done in the past, it is actually illegal for a writer to claim their ghostwritten or ghost blogged work. For authors who do this type of work every day and can actually create professional content quickly, not having rights to previous work can be a temporary setback. If by some miracle, though, an original author’s ideas or blog posts make a company a ridiculous amount of money, the original author is entitled to none of it. Most authors who go into the field of ghostwriting and ghost blogging have to settle and square with this fact.

The truth of the matter is, there are no legal controversies about ghostwriting and ghost blogging when both parties have agreed upon who has rights to what. The only controversies that can arise from ghostwriting and ghost blogging are ethical, and most of the accusations of responsibility are leveled at the company buying the ghostwriting, and not the ghostwriter themselves.

Conclusion

Many businesses and corporations that have expanded into the online universe feel that ghost bloggers and ghostwriters are a necessary tool to help build an online reputation and do more business. Many businesses and important figures don’t have the time, the people or the skills to properly write and maintain a blog. Ghostwriters and ghost bloggers can use these opportunities to start professional writing careers and earn a significant paycheck.

Further Resources

Authors who are looking for opportunities to showcase their talent, and clients who are looking for specific web content will want to visit:

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15 Comments

  1. An interesting and detailed post. I do the odd bit of “white label” work for websites and blogs, but only as part of a varied portfolio of writing and editing work. I think it would be pretty soul-destroying to only work for the freelancers’ websites, etc., and the rate of pay can be very low.

    I have got contacts with a number of web designers; when their clients need content writing for them, I will be contracted to write it. Then I can get recommendations and referrals, as well as testimonials, from the web guys and often the people who have the website will allow me to use it as a reference, sometimes publicly, sometimes only privately. This allows me to get and build writing work, but is not quite so tenuous and invisible as straight content writing for agglomerating websites, etc.

  2. Ghost writing is a great way to earn money for the writers. Different companies will be benefited through these kind of writing too. One the other hand writer can get handsome payment. So both the writer and the companies or individual person get benefited.

  3. Brilliant definition defined for Ghost blogging, good to see some new things which makes your blogging expertise much easily. It really much helped to know it. Useful article!

  4. Very good blogging site

  5. Now only ghost blogging, but ghost social media writers are also heavily used nowadays.

    There is one drawback though, the hired writers may not always have the passion and the knowledge to produce the kind of work that should be created.

  6. Perfect article, this would gonna help us to improve in posting n blogging :)
    thanks for this Great Job!!

  7. For almost all my web business and blogs I use Ghost Writers as this really helps me to expand my business as I am not native English speaker so I can’t write much.

    And it’s usually really difficult to find good ghost writer, usually I give a try to 5-6 writers and then choose the 1 or 2 that will continue to work.

  8. Now I got an idea regarding ghost blogging by reading this post. Thanks for sharing this information.

  9. Ghost blogging is one of the ways for content marketers to raise quick fund. It has an adverse effect on the content marketer because credit goes to the people you are writing the content for.

  10. Perfect article, this would gonna help us to improve in posting n blogging
    thanks for this Great Job!!

  11. I write an industry-specific ghost blog for a client who simply does not have the bandwidth to get it done on their own. The posts are structured to be informational and not opinion pieces. My freelance ghost blog writing is no different than content I’ve written as a full-time marketing communications employee for a company writing content for a website, product brochure, or the CEO’s statement in an annual report. What’s more, I am always in close contact with my client to discuss subject matter or my interpretation of the facts I’ve gathered, plus they have the opportunity to review and approve or edit the blog prior to publishing. The goal is to reinforce the client’s reputation as someone who is knowledgeable about their industry and a trusted resource for information.

    Ghost blogging has a valuable place in business communications!

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