How co-writing thought leadership pieces for executives and entrepreneurs can help them better engage with their audiences
Ghostwriting sounds fun, doesn’t it?
For me, it conjures up images of old rock stars getting misty-eyed over past debauched glories, while a faithful scribe clanks away at an old typewriter and knocks together a passable “autobiography” that sells a gazillion copies.
Then, this week, I read about Bill Clinton’s first foray into crime fiction and noted with interest that it was “co-authored” by US bestseller James Patterson. Maybe he should have gone
it alone. In his one-star review, the BBC’s Will Gompertz called it a “jingoistic shaggy-dog story”. Ouch.
But Clinton is not the first celebrity to engage professional assistance. Naomi Campbell famously had her 1994 novel Swan ghostwritten because she "just did not have the time to sit down and write a book."
Fair enough, I suppose.
Wayne Rooney has had three autobiographies ghostwritten. THREE! And he’s only 32. That is a prodigious appetite for sitting on a leather sofa in a mock tudor mansion somewhere in Cheshire talking at a man holding a dictaphone.
For the writers among us it is a gig we can only dream of: Guaranteed publication. Huge royalties. And it seems the only attributes you need are an endless supply of biros and a happy knack of turning laddish anecdotes about Phil Jones into masterful comic vignettes.
I say all of this, because ghostwriting (albeit on a much more modest scale) is something I’ve recently fallen into, and I have to say it is something I now relish.
It can be rewarding and challenging in equal measure.
I have several clients based outside the UK for whom English is not their first language. Several others who want to become industry commentators. To get their opinions in front of people that matter.
Because “thought leadership” is upon us.
The LinkedIn Pulse tool I’m using right now affords a fantastic opportunity for leaders and entrepreneurs to connect with their audiences and networks in a meaningful way. It’s about taking their unique expertise out of their own meeting-rooms and into a public forum, where it can be engaged with, debated and shared.
Helping these people articulate their thoughts isn’t easy. I am not an expert in any of the things they talking about. But actually that ignorance can be helpful. THEY are the experts, after all. My job is to coax and nudge. Try to extract the contents of their brain and lay it on the page like they’ve written it themselves.
It is about using their own words and rhythms. Anything else is inauthentic. The trick is to create a polished piece that clients can publish under their own byline.
As with all content - it is about starting conversations. If my content can help them do that, the battle is half-won.
So, if you’ve been thinking of taking the plunge into thought leadership, but don’t know where to start - give me a call!
And if dear old Wayne needs a hand with autobiography number four, he knows where to find me...
"All you need are an endless supply of biros and a happy knack of turning laddish anecdotes about Phil Jones into masterful comic vignettes. "