Hiring a ghostwriter is a finicky business, fraught with peril.

After all, you’re trusting a complete stranger to represent you with his or her writing — is that even possible? Some ghosts do a better job than others, there’s no doubt about it, but what many clients expect from a ghostwriter is not actually within a ghostwriter’s job description.

A ghostwriter doesn’t necessarily write exactly like you would, but this can be a good thing — after all, they’re trained in writing and know how to turn a phrase. Just like you might not do an oil change quite like your mechanic who deals with hundreds of cars a week, it’s vital that you realize no writer can perfectly emulate you, nor should they.

What a Ghostwriter Does

A ghostwriter shouldn’t be your shadow, but she should capture your essence. So, for example, if you’re easygoing and want your blog to reflect your laid-back nature — that’s definitely something that should be in the ghostwriter’s wheelhouse. She can also use your notes to present the face of knowledge to your visitors, in the same way you’d do if you had the time to keep up your blog.

Ghostwriters do work to your specification, but they won’t necessarily write in the exact same way you would, so don’t start tearing up copy just because the wording isn’t identical to what you would have chosen. You should, however, help your ghostwriter dial in to your essence, and create a bigger and better picture of you, by:

  • Providing good samples. The better your samples represent your writing style, the better your ghostwriter can get a feel for what kind of emotions you’re looking to evoke in your readers. They can tune into your level of formality, tone and even blog structures that way.
  • Giving them ideas for blog posts. At least at first, you need to provide some ideas for blog posts, along with blurbs, if you want a really accurate portrayal. It’s fine to set a writer loose to develop topics, but don’t be shocked if what they come up with doesn’t seem like topics you’d write about — after all, that writer barely knows you. Help them help you and put the time in to lead the way to perfect blog ideas.
  • Sharing your favorite informational sites. Believe it or not, where you do your regular blog research can matter as much as what you’re researching about. By providing your ghostwriter with the sites you tend to comb for ideas or read for up to date industry news, they can better create blogs that seamlessly fit into your already established list of published articles.

Whether you’re looking to replace an old ghostwriter or hire one for the first time, knowing what you’re getting for the money is important. Don’t worry if you don’t find the right ghostwriter on the first try, but do carefully consider how well a candidate’s natural writing style works with yours to maximize the chance of compatibility on the first go.