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Ghost Writing: Who Is Really Writing?

One of the services I offer as a virtual assistant at Virtual Colleague, LLC is ghost writing. While it’s not at the top of my list, it is something that I offer to do for my clients.  It’s controversial and some consider it unethical.

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What is ghost writing? This is when someone hires a writer to write something for them: an article, blog post, advertisement, commercial, video script, book, eBook, etc. and doesn’t use the actual writer’s name. The client hires a ghost writer for 2 reasons: 1) the client has the technical expertise, but does not have the writing skills and 2) the client doesn’t have the time to do that particular task and feel that a writer could do it for them.

Ghost Typewriter

What does ghost writing involve? The writer must determine exactly what the purpose of the piece is and what information is needed to accomplish the goal. For example, the company culture, attitude, products/services, discounts, giveaways, etc. While this is pretty straightforward information, the writing style, word usage, key words, and tone can easily cause problems or rejections for the writer. It is emphatic to discuss at length what is expected, including schedule, fee, deadlines, topics, and anything else pertinent to the assignment.

Why ghost write? New writers are looking for an “in” in the writing world and will accept these type of assignments. The assignment may come from an existing client that is impressed with the virtual assistant’s skills and wants to give her more responsibility.  If the writer is very knowledgeable in a particular area or expertise, then ghost writing is an easy way to make money and write about something the writer is familiar with.

GhostBusters How much control does the ghostwriter have? Sometimes, not much. The usual issues are: not getting paid the appropriate amount of money or getting paid on time; the client is never satisfied with the final re-write; the project is scrapped, but the writer isn’t told right away, which makes the writer keep working, but the client does not want to pay for that time spent on the project. Also, the writer cannot insert his/her own thoughts or feelings on the topic. Many times the observations of the writer or statistical research are dismissed, if the client feels that it would be detrimental to the company or product/service.

Smiley Writer

Is ghost writing ethical? This is a very difficult question to answer. It depends on the mindset and beliefs of the writer and the client. While the client may feel justified that they paid for a writing service and they got it, the writer does not get the recognition he/she deserves. The writer does all of the research and writing for the project, but doesn’t even get an honorable mention!

For newbie writers, this is a chance to do some writing and get used to researching, meeting deadlines, and dealing with clients, but for a serious, professional writer, this would not be the first choice for a career. While this may be necessary, so clients can get the word out about their adventures, explorations, or ideas; ghost writing requires a lot of time and patience, several re-writes only to experience the lack of acknowledgment.

As a virtual assistant, specializing in writing projects, I am particular about the types of ghost writing assignments I take. These assignments can end up being time-consuming, frustrating and not so financially rewarding. As a writer, it is always best to discover and use your own voice, when writing anything. Ghost writing limits that possibility, but is a way to earn money.

What do you think of ghostwriting? Let me know and check out my website: http://www.VirtualColleagueLLC.com

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Did you know that Virtual Colleague, LLC writes press releases for companies, groups and associations? So what is a press release and why should you use one?

A press release is a written statement released to various forms of media, i.e.: newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, online forms of media, etc. It is an announcement of important news about the company/group and usually talks about some future event or new product/service or even a membership drive that details what the group/association is all about and why you should be a member.

The press release may include a scheduled event, but not just the details of the event, but some background into why it’s so special and discuss the purpose of the event. A press release may also be used to introduce a new product or service to consumers. This press release would give a detailed description of the product or service, what it can be used for, and why you simply can’t live without it. It may also give some history about the product or service development and why it is superior to other products or services that are similar. There may even be a free trial offer or discount for new customers.

Press Release

Press releases are also used to announce promotions of employees or business partners and any awards they have received. Some companies use press releases as an affordable alternative to advertising their products and services in big pricey ads in newspapers and magazines. By promoting their employees and officers at promotion time, these companies feel they generate “good” publicity by demonstrating what a great place it is to work and how an employee can move up in the ranks. Although these types of press releases are mostly found in business publications and newspapers, they can be found in online groups and on the company website.

Press releases are sometimes used to announce sales figures in an easy to digest manner. Rather than pure boasting about their achievements, companies will send out a press release about their sales figures for the last quarter or quarters and may also highlight the top 3 salespersons responsible for those numbers. It is a professional way of bragging and it is effective in challenging their employees to make sure that they stay competitive and on top of their share of the market place.

Sales Figues

Sometimes smaller companies are scrambling to get noticed by investors and consumers alike. In this case, smaller companies would create a press release that focuses on a series of newsworthy items. For example, they may want customers to know that they now have 50 employees after starting the company with only 10. They may have diversified their product to include colors or sizes. They may boast that they always have free shipping or that they only use UPS door-to- door shipping. They may also include stories about their employees. For example, a nod to returning veterans or describe some of the charities that the company supports.

In these ways, companies, groups and associations can continue to promote themselves in a positive way and stay active in the minds of customers and consumers by releasing these press releases on a frequent schedule.

Sometimes, a whole news story can be generated by one aspect of a press release. These stories are usually written by journalists or freelance writers for newspapers or magazines.

Creating press releases are a huge part of Public Relations. It is the responsibility of the PR team to get the public interested in what the company, group, or association has to offer and why it is something they need. A Press release is just one of the way they do this.

Writing a press release can be fairly simple, but you must be creative to make it “stick” with customers.

1)      You need to write a catchy headline

2)      Write the body of the text – be concise and deal with the facts

3)      State the “5 Ws” and the H clearly:

  1. Who is this about?
  2. What is the actual news?
  3. When does this happen?
  4. Where does this take place?
  5. Why this is news?
  6. How is this happening?

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4)      Make it clean, crisp, and applicable to your audience – use good grammar and use jargon that the customer will understand, if writing about a specific type of product

5)      Tie it all together, so the potential customers will see a normal progression of the idea and facts.

Press Releases are also being created as infographics and PowToons. This requires greater creativity on the part of the PR team, but it is well worth it! The use of social media will greatly improve the audience and reach of the press release in any form and generate more business, because it reaches a more diverse audience.


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Virtual Colleague, LLC can write press releases for all events, promotions, new products and services and other items or newsworthy business. Contact Virtual Colleague, LLC for a free consultation and find out how working virtually can help your business save money, while getting the job done effectively, within budget and on time.

Email Jo Ann @VirtualColleagueLLC.com for more information.



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