Whether you are looking to retain a ghost blogger or want to be one, it is helpful to know the characteristics successful ghost bloggers share. There are quite a few, but here are the seven of the most important.
1. Creative writer
Yes, I've met some ghostwriters who are bad ass and brilliant and don't have a creative writing background, but they're exceptions. Ghost bloggers should be able to effectively write as their client, and slipping into character is easier for someone who has already created convincing characters in creative works.
2. Great listener
A ghost blogger needs to be able to hear and understand what points their subject is trying to get across. If a ghostwriter doesn't truly listen to what is being told to them and process it fully, he or she isn't going to be able to write compelling, authentic, on-point content around these topics. Additionally, they may not properly express the viewpoints and opinions of the "writer," which can lead to muddled, off-point messages.
Great ghost bloggers have some level of knowledge of their clients' area of expertise. They need not be an expert, but they have to have some idea of what's up. Otherwise the writing ends up uniformed and maybe amateurish, which undermines the "author's" credibility. Sure, these folks may still find themselves out of their depth, but they should not be a total fish out of water.
Any ghostwriter needs to be disciplined. Otherwise a gig can really go off the rails.
Ghost bloggers often are called in because their subjects can't find the time to finish a post, if they ever get around to starting them at all. This means that these "authors" are just as busy when it comes to taking time to connect with the person who will be writing on their behalf. Ghost bloggers who are disciplined, can stick to a schedule, and are able to call a client to task to get the job done will do better than those who say "whatever" and wait on their hands for a client to return a call or provide feedback.
Great ghost bloggers can make the pieces they put out seem just like something their client "author" would produce... if he or she did their own blogging, that is! This means they look at all facets of the piece including tone, usage, and vocabulary to be sure the post is on the money.
A ghostwriter who'd be an awesome pick for a full-length book may not be the best choice for your blog, and vice-versa. Books can serve any number of purposes, but blog posts are supposed to help drive the "author's" marketing engine. Ghost bloggers get this. They understand SEO, and can effectively throw down a CTA, which should lead to a more successful post. A ghostwriter who isn't hip to marketing may think they are blogging just for blogging's sake, so the post may be "good," but it probably won't be effective for getting click-throughs or leads.
When someone is working with a ghost writer, there needs to be a free-flow of communication. The more the "writer" gives, the more the ghost blogger can get to know their subject, which means stronger, more authentic content comes out of it. Much of this needs to stay off the record. A good ghost blogger knows not to spill the beans and break confidences. Of all of the signs that someone of a successful ghost blogger, a track record of keeping secrets is probably the most essential.