Everything You Need To Know About LinkedIn Ghostwriters

The world’s #1 professional networking platform is also a haven for ghosts.

Ghostwriters, that is. While most of LinkedIn’s members wouldn’t even think to hire a ghostwriter, many CEOs, business leaders, and founders just don’t have the time or inclination to write and schedule their own posts, never mind create daily or weekly content and all the other things that a professional ghostwriter can do (we’ll get to that in a sec).

But what most leaders do realize is the importance, to both their business and personal brand, of building a presence on the channel, and the cost of not doing so.

In this post, we’re going to look at what LinkedIn ghostwriters do, the ways ghostwriting for LinkedIn is different than ghostwriting for other social media channels, and how to look for and work with a ghostwriter. In short, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about ghostwriting for LinkedIn but were afraid to ask.

What LinkedIn ghostwriters do

LinkedIn ghostwriters do it all.

Tactically speaking, LinkedIn ghostwriters:

  • create original LinkedIn updates, in your voice, that are optimized to perform well on the platform
  • conduct thorough research to understand and stay-up-to-date on your industry
  • schedule and publish content for optimal performance
  • engage with followers and industry peers and influencers
  • curate and share content
  • measure and analyze the effectiveness of campaigns

On a holistic or strategic level, the LinkedIn ghostwriter:

  • enhances the leader or company’s visibility
  • establishes the executive as a thought leader
  • communicates the individual’s or company’s brand and message

How ghostwriting on LinkedIn differs from other forms of ghostwriting

LinkedIn’s focus as a professional, career- and industry-oriented platform means that expectations and rules, written and unwritten, are different from those for, say, Twitter/X and Instagram. In other words, while the latest Taylor Swift memes spell guaranteed virality on other social platforms, the same content may fall flat on LinkedIn.

An experienced LinkedIn ghostwriter is aware of these differences, and tailors, curates, and engages on the channel accordingly. Some critical ways that ghostwriting on LinkedIn is different include:

Tone and content: Effective LinkedIn ghostwriting needs to walk a fine line. The content should align with the platform’s professional focus, but it needs to be humanized in a way that’s conversational and accessible — and ideally genuinely interesting — to other users.  Updates that are too personal or silly (i.e. those irresistible memes floating around Twitter or Instagram) won’t fly on LinkedIn. But content that’s too dry or technical is equally ineffective.

Goals and strategy: For most business users, LinkedIn isn’t a popularity contest. The goal isn’t simply to go viral but to push forward real business goals, such as generating leads, building a trusted professional network, staying on colleagues’ radars, raising awareness for new products or services, etc. Good LinkedIn ghostwriting will prioritize these business objectives and put an emphasis on generating engagement with industry peers.

Leveraging unique LinkedIn features: Ghostwriting on LinkedIn requires understanding the technical features that make the platform unique. For instance, LinkedIn’s algorithm favors meaty updates that provide real value, not just fleeting entertainment, to followers. Features like LinkedIn Newsletters offer leaders and their companies a way to build a bought-in subscriber base with regular, long-form content and analysis.  A good ghostwriter will take all these considerations into mind.

Benefits of working with a LinkedIn ghostwriter

Working with a LinkedIn ghostwriter has both obvious and not-so-obvious benefits.

Among the obvious ones are time management, content creation, and strategic content planning. But some of the deeper benefits include:

Thought leadership: Ghostwriters help position individuals or companies as thought leaders in their industry. By creating content that demonstrates expertise, shares insights, and contributes to relevant discussions, they can elevate their professional profile on LinkedIn.

Virality: Not to be confused with virility, or for that matter Pearl Jam’s 1994 album Vitalogy, virality is the ability to craft the kind of content that is widely shared, even beyond the account’s followers. Of course, there are no guarantees in the world of social media, unless you’re a Kardashian or a cat meme, but  experienced LinkedIn ghostwriters will be able to optimize content with the potential to go viral.

Networking: Virality isn’t the be-all and end-all of conquering LinkedIn. Even freelance ghostwriter Luke Matthews notes that, when it comes to building a community, a flash-in-the-pan post can’t beat the more time-consuming legwork of engagement.

“If [entrepreneurs are] just paying someone to write for you on LinkedIn, and you’re not going to network with people—answer your DMs, comment on posts, add new people to your network, hop on networking calls,” then viral posts won’t pay off in the long run. — Luke Matthews, freelance ghostwriter.

The right ghostwriter, of course, can do much of that engagement on your behalf, sparing you the legwork while getting you the networking benefits.

Consistency: A steady stream of content means greater visibility. For  companies and CEOs who don’t have the time or inclination to do it themselves, a ghostwriter’s efforts in this regard can pay big dividends.

David Finkelstein, co-founder and CEO of BDEX, a provider of data analytics for marketers, uses a marketing agency to ghostwrite content for his account. The CEO notes that some of his company’s largest clients surfaced after he started working with the agency. “The more someone is researching you, the company, your services, and the more that they see, the more likely that you become the one they go toward,” he told Inc.com. “More often than not, it is about [clients] seeing our content over and over before they go to our website and contact us or even contact us directly on LinkedIn.”

Enhanced Brand Image: Consistent, well-crafted content contributes to a positive brand image on LinkedIn. A professional ghostwriter will know how to show your brand in the best possible light through high-quality posts, articles, and comments on other people’s profiles. Ghostwriters are also skilled storytellers who can spin their clients’ wisdom and expertise into compelling narratives.

Personalized Approach: A ghostwriter is able to not only capture the CEO or company’s voice but also to leverage that voice for maximum impact. As an outsider, a ghostwriter will be able to ferret out the qualities or aspects of the company or leader that will work best with the brand’s target audience.

How to work with a ghostwriter

Working with a LinkedIn ghostwriter is a collaborative process.

For an effective partnership, individuals or companies should come to the table with clear objectives, goals, and values that can be easily communicated to their ghostwriter. Equally valuable is relevant background material and, more often than not, access to the CEO or company execs.

An already established brand voice is also helpful, although that is something the content ghost may be able to help with. The ghostwriter often works with the client to determine frequency and types of content, as well as tone and style. An experienced ghostwriter will have the tools to measure and analyze the effectiveness of their work, and whether it matches up the stated goals. The client’s responsibilities include reviewing drafts and offering feedback to help the ghostwriter get everything to their specifications.

How to find a LinkedIn ghostwriter

A LinkedIn ghostwriter might be an individual or an agency, for example an executive communications agency, PR agency or dedicated thought leadership agency. Agencies typically offer a full-range of services, extending beyond just LinkedIn ghostwriting to include drafting articles, bylines, speeches and internal communications.

Getting recommendations from colleagues is one way to find an agency; another is a thorough Google search for terms like “executive ghostwriter” or “business ghostwriter.”

Whether a lone freelancer or firm, whomever you hire should have previous experience doing business ghostwriting, ideally with companies in your sector. One critical consideration: just because a candidate is a strong writer does not mean they’ll make an effective ghostwriter. The right person will have experience immersing themselves in a client’s voice and creating content that accurately reflects their tone and attitude.

Once you’ve shortlisted a few candidates, schedule an initial consultation. At this point you’ll come to the table with brand goals, identity and values already in hand. You might even have a strategy in mind, though this could also be forged with the right LinkedIn ghostwriter.

When meeting with the potential ghostwriter, ask if they have a process to create content that sounds like it’s written by you and not them. You can also ask for ghostwriting samples from past clients who have consented to have their work shared. (Note: ghostwriting is generally anonymous and confidential, so not every candidate will be able to share samples.)

Use this meeting as an opportunity to assess professional chemistry and rapport with the ghostwriter. Ghostwriting is an intensive, one-on-one experience, so working with someone you trust and relate to is important.

Confidentiality agreements, pricing, and payment plans should also be discussed.

Ethical questions of working with a LinkedIn ghostwriter

Is it right to use a ghostwriter on LinkedIn? From a technical perspective, LinkedIn’s terms and conditions in no way restrict the use of ghostwriting. Zooming out, ghostwriting is a well established paradigm in the corporate realm. Executives rely on outside support to create speeches and presentations they deliver, to draft reports, and even to handle day-to-day emails. Many now extend this ghostwriting support to channels like LinkedIn, as well.

That said, because of the professional nature of the platform, LinkedIn users expect a certain amount of authenticity from the accounts that they follow. The channel is built in large part on trust and good faith. That’s why hiring the right ghostwriter is critical. Someone who is inexperienced or unable to grasp your voice could end up creating content that alienates followers and sabotages your larger goals.

Likewise, many executives — including established leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk and Richard Branson — transparently acknowledge that they receive ghostwriting support, which can go a long way toward cultivating trust with followers.

At the end of the day, who doesn’t wish they could outsource their social media management?

LinkedIn, which puts a premium on professionalism, is a channel that especially begs for oversight. It’s not a place for food, cat, or vacation pics, or shaky hand-held videos of the band you saw last night.

If you’re looking to build a following and to power up your brand on LinkedIn, finding the right support is a wise investment. Whether you hire an all-purpose thought-leadership and branding agency or an experienced freelancer, a good ghostwriting expert can take your LinkedIn presence to the next level.

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