My Experience As A Ghostwriter

I worked as a ghostwriter for SwitftWrite for 6 months on a freelance-based contract via Upwork.

All deliverables were published under the name of the client. I’m not allowed to share revealing information about their business due to the nature of this contract.

However, I feel like I can reflect on the workflow and methodology I had with this job alongside a brief analysis of my work.

General Job Description

I received titles, keywords and link placements from the editors at the start of each day. Depending on how many words I’ve written down for a specific day, I could receive between 2 to 3 topics.

Deadlines were set for midnight in Egypt timezone, meaning that I had a regular 8-hour workday to deliver all articles in time.

Afterwards, editors left comments in the Google Documents file I shared. The feedback mostly revolved around grammar, awkward phrasing, and rarely keyword placement.

Writing Process

Assignments came from a wide variety of industries. I can highlight some topics and how I handled them:

  • Law. Personal injuries, medical malpractice, and workplace accidents were fairly common subjects I had to research and write about.

    Plenty of clients who ordered articles for the agency was located in Canada and the U.S. This meant that plenty of times I had to delve into federal and state government agencies websites to find accurate information on their legislations and procedures.

    If the article focused on offering specific services, highlighting its benefits while avoiding blatant self-praising was crucial. I reached the point of several revisions with editors if the phrasing sounded too self-promoting.
  • Real estate. When dealing with real estate blog articles, I also had to consider an American-based audience, meaning that these articles had to include extensive research to identify crucial state regulations.

    Articles could focus on first-time homeowners, real estate agents or investors.

    On some occasions, these articles were more about interior design, specifically about design trends, colour theory, and DIY projects. Therefore, I could research a wider variety of sources for writing. It also required a more creative approach.

  • Cannabis: since the last decade we’ve seen important steps towards legalizing and regulating cannabis for medical and recreational uses, every now and then we received requests from this industry.

    Seniors were the main target audience for these articles, whether I had to describe medical benefits or consumption methods.

    Compared to other topics, I didn’t have to include too much information about cannabis legislation aside from basic guidelines on how to find high-quality products based on the plant’s origin and processing.

  • Travel. I can classify these articles into two categories: travel planning and product descriptions. Compared to other industries, these weren’t as frequent.

    Writing about the travelling industry could focus on more segmented audiences, mostly seniors and families.

    Research and writing these articles were mostly aimed at how to deal with COVID-19 restrictions, if applicable.

Other industries I can briefly mention include the fashion industry, digital marketing and lifestyle.

Overall, I was constantly researching new topics with tight deadlines, occasionally having to go back and forth with the editors before the final version.

Thoughts

My thoughts on this experience aren’t groundbreaking, but I believe it’s important to point out how I learned these important lessons so early in my career.

During my time at that agency, I ended up delivering approximately 200 articles, ranging between 750 to 1500 words each. Time zone differences gave me less time to actually draft and deliver articles, so setting a fluid workflow with editors was vital to making a delivery on time.

Proper research with tight deadlines can be a challenging process, so quickly identifying reputable sources is vital. There’s also a fine line to tread between recycling sources for the sake of building a stronger entity association in PageRank and consistently finding good sources for my work. Thankfully, my studies in journalism have helped immensely in making the research cycle much shorter.

Since editors only instructed us to use the main keyword with its associated link, SEO wasn’t the strongest focus in this contract. However, over time I’ve identified several mistakes, I did during this time, notably:

Another difficulty I faced was the language barrier. Inevitably I had editors pointing out awkward phrasings repeating throughout several articles. My solution to this was combining Grammarly with text-to-speech functions to scan the texts before sending.

The American real estate industry and laws were the most difficult topics to tackle as an entry-level ghostwriter. The key was to divide my workflow between extensive research, bookmarking relevant sites, and retrieving these references once I moved into the writing phase.

As a content writer, it’s an almost identical workflow I follow to this day.

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