Ghostwriting is hot! But the funny thing about it is that by its very nature Ghostwriting is a mystery. You never quite know who’s doing it. It is more widespread than you would believe though. And really, it’s not hard to see why when you consider the time and money it takes to create and market great product. Are you considering penning the next industry defining book, or developing a world class blog and website? Before you sit down in front of your keyboard and stare at the blinking cursor. Ask yourself first, “what is my time worth?”
Those who have run a small business know the value of constantly reminding yourself that you have a finite amount of time and an infinite number of things to do. You could write or you could build your customer base, enhance product delivery, streamline your supply pipeline, evaluate your marketing, or any number of other activities that bring money in the door. This is good. What you do with your time needs to be deliberate and it needs to have a direct measurable impact on your bottom line.
The bottom line is the only way to truly frame the answer to the title question. What is your time worth?
What’s your Time Worth?
For the sake of discussion, let’s say your time is billable at $60 / hour ($1 / minute).
How long will it take you to write 500 words on something related to your business? If you’re comfortable researching good content, you know your industry, and have a plan – it might take you between 30-minutes and an hour to lay out the bones of a great blog article.
Writing the article: 60 minutes – $60
Total Time Investment (so far): 60 minutes – $60
Drafting content is only part of the work, now you have to publish it. You can certainly post it in your WordPress page and click, [publish]. But remember, you are writing this for an audience. You want them to find the content when they search for your product keywords in Google or Bing. Have you defined keywords? Good articles are written with this in mind.
What are your goals?
This is the point where you have to ask yourself, are you aiming for great or good enough? Is your brand, your product, great or good enough? If your answer is good enough, the rest of this article won’t be of value to you. If however, you seek to establish excellence as a hallmark of your brand, publishing and walking away is not enough.
You need to edit and optimize your content for readability on all devices. You’ll want to make sure the content is optimized for search engine traffic (SEO – search engine optimization). You will want to make sure you have defined meta descriptions and added legitimately great visuals. Great visuals, images, or videos almost always cost a couple $.
Optimizing for readability, SEO & publishing: 60 minutes – $60
Total Time Investment (so far): 120 minutes – $120
Now your article is published, it’s optimized, it’s gorgeous. You have great content! You can use SiteAnalyzer or another SEO tool to look at your page and see that you are set for success. But that’s only half the post production challenge. How are you going to make sure you are engaging with social media?
It’s a new world out there and in that new world Social media now drives more traffic to many websites than search engines. If you were (rightfully) concerned about Search Engine Optimization, you should be focused at least as much on Social Media Optimization.
This has to be part of any blog building plan.
Optimizing for Social Media & Publishing: 30 minutes – $30
Total Time Investment (so far): 180 minutes – $180
Measure your Progress
Finally, analysis. If you can’t measure how effective the work your doing is, it’s not work.. it’s gambling. How are you going to establish whether the phone call you received today is related to the words you drafted on your website three months ago? How can you justify spending $3000 on a website upgrade if you don’t know where your traffic is coming from? How can you build a path to your front door if you don’t know where your clients are finding the path in the first place. All of this is wrapped up in analysis. You need to know the effectiveness of your writing. What is it doing for you. Is it worth your time? Again, what is your time worth?
Analysis is tricky. You have to have a great system in place to parse data and create good conclusions from what you find. Then you have to have a system in place to evaluate whether your conclusions were correct. Typically by evaluating whether the actions you took based on them had the expected result. Assuming you have all of this planned out and setup, analysis and evaluation will take you about 30 minutes per post.
Analysis, conclusion building, and evaluation: 30 minutes – $30
Total Time Investment (so far): 210 minutes – $210
The Value Proposition
As someone focused on making sure you manage your time and/or budget effectively – is creating one 500 word article worth 3.5 hours of your time? Keep in mind that in order for you to see any net value in writing a blog, you’ll want to post original and excellent content at least once every 7-10 days.
This is your value proposition.
Creating and publishing content is a wonderful direction to take towards viral marketing and long term website traffic. However, to do it effectively means accepting a significant opportunity and financial cost:
(your billable rate) * (3.5 hours per post) * (3-4 posts per month)
Or, about 12 hours per month
Would you pay yourself 12 hours per month to create content? If that’s your business, to create content, maybe. But if you’re busy delivering your product, for the sake of your business – pay someone.
You can do everything, but should you?
You could do your taxes, but you pay a CPA because they’ll do it faster and cheaper, and probably better. You could do your oil changes, but you pay someone because they will make it convenient. You could build your own website, but you pay someone else because it would take too much of your time and effort to build and maintain it. You should look at your content the same way.
You can generate your content, but if you pay a great ghostwriter to do it they will save you time, save you money, and drive business to your front door. If you find a good ghostwriter, it’s some of the best dollar for dollar marketing you can buy.
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