The Ghostwriting Art of Capturing Your Client's Voice

ghostwriting May 20, 2022
The word 'voice' in print highlighted with a bright pink marker.

by Cris Yeager


 

Do you intend to ghostwrite or have you started ghostwriting? As you approach this task, you'll hear words like voice, style, character, and attitude. When you are new to ghostwriting or to writing in general, it can be difficult to figure out what these terms mean. How does capturing a voice work? How do you communicate a person's character and attitude? How will you know if you've done it right?

As the craft of ghostwriting has evolved, many different techniques have been used by those in the profession to capture the voice of their clients and make it sound as if it was coming from them, rather than from the ghostwriter. Some of these methods are more effective than others, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for you and your client based on your individual styles and preferences. 

If you're planning to become a ghostwriter, there are a few skills you need to be familiar with. It is a given that you should have excellent writing skills. Also, the profession requires more than a modicum of discretion and the ability to check your ego at the door, since you will rarely be able to claim your work. One other thing, though - you need to be able to do impressions. 

Why it's important 
As a ghostwriter, it's important to be able to capture your client's voice. This is what will make the piece sound as if it was written by the author, rather than by you, the writer. The best way to do this is to spend time getting to know your client and understanding their writing style.

While a client's voice may vary depending on their subject matter and intended audience, there are still ways you can ensure your pieces always sound authentic. In some cases, getting to know a little bit about your client's writing style will be enough to help you create pieces that sound natural and conversational. This can be particularly helpful if your clients have experience ghostwriting or blogging as it'll give them an idea of what they'll need to feel comfortable working with you. Other times, it may require additional research on a topic that has been covered extensively by your client. The bottom line is that you should get familiar with some writing samples and ensure they match up with what you've written before committing yourself to a larger project.

Whatever you call it, the component is vital to your ability to get work as a ghostwriter. Because whether you are creating content from scratch, or contributing to an established blog, there's only one rule: you need to write as though the client wrote the piece.

How to do it
The best way to do that is to practice. To show a broad range of options to anyone looking to hire you, make sure to include different styles and options in your portfolio. You can also write samples for individual clients so they know how the words would sound coming from them. It’s good to have a mix of styles in your portfolio because it will give the client more variety when they are deciding on who they want to work with. 

A ghostwriter should be able to capture their client's voice as well as their tone and style. The ghostwriter should understand the client’s writing style and what topics they prefer to discuss in order for them to become an extension of the writer when working on content for them.

These are some techniques you can use when emulating another writer's voice:

  • If they've written previous pieces, read them carefully – pay close attention to each piece and add to them using your own words until you feel you have matched their style.
  • When you're not sure how they'll sound, start writing and then erase any dialog you know they wouldn't say.
  • Work daily at writing – whether it's a paragraph in the style of a favored author or tweets in the style of a beloved celebrity, practice putting words into the voice of someone else every day.


Conclusion
It's your job as a ghostwriter to capture your client's voice. Being able to imitate their writing style means understanding how they speak. While tricky, it's key to being a successful ghostwriter. With just a little bit of research and planning, you can make sure that you’re as well-prepared as possible for the opportunity. By challenging yourself regularly as a ghostwriter, you'll be ready for opportunities when they appear.