Berrak Sarikaya

Three Myths About Ghostwriting for an Executive

By: Berrak Sarikaya | July 6, 2016 | 
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What It's Like Ghostwriting for Gini Dietrich

My mom taught me how to read and write when I was four, and the running joke of my life has been that no one has been able to stop me since.

I’ve always considered writing to be my passion.

However, it was never supposed to be a career path, especially ghostwriting.

When I went into law, writing would be a crucial part of my career, but to get paid to be a writer?

That seemed completely ridiculous.

So ridiculous, in fact, I wrote under a pen name for the first part of my freelance career.

I wrote for content mills, for local real estate companies, and for agencies that paid me next to nothing for my work.

I was essentially a glorified ghostwriter, and ironically, there’s really no glory in being a ghostwriter.

There came a point when I left my pen name behind and began owning my voice.

That was mainly for my personal blog, though.

For the majority of my freelance career, I was unsure how I might affect those in my industry.

I struggled greatly, and failed constantly, but I eventually found my footing.

I fell in love with community and small businesses.

As a writer, content marketing became a natural fit.

The more experience I gained, the more I wanted to come out from the shadows.

So, I took my own advice and began amplifying myself.

I launched my own small business blog.

I became a pro at live-tweeting conferences.

My voice mattered and the PTSD of working for SEO content mills slowly began to wear off.

How to Elevate Ghostwriting

It was around this time I met Gini Dietrich, someone I’d looked up to for years.

I remember seeing her at Content Marketing World.

I shakily introduced myself.

Our interaction lasted maybe two minutes.

She had overheard me talking to someone else about what I was working on and told me to contact her if I wanted to work together.

My impostor syndrome screamed loudly inside my brain.

She was just being polite. She meets hundreds of people. Why in the world would she want to work with you?

Turns out, my impostor syndrome was a liar.

Gini asked me if I’d be interested in doing some ghostwriting for her.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The thing about being a ghostwriter for an industry leader such as Gini is that it’s not something you talk about publicly.

I would mention she was a client, but never went into detail of the work I did for her.

Until now.

When Gini wrote a blog about thought leadership and told the world I was her ghostwriter, it felt a little weird.

I don’t know why I was surprised, her transparency is one of the reasons I’ve respected her for years.

Because she created this unique opportunity, I wanted to dispel a few myths about ghostwriting for her.

Ghostwriting Myth No.1: Giving Away My Expertise

When I write articles for Gini, the topics and ideas don’t usually come out of my brain.

I’m not a public relations expert.

When we began working together, Gini sent me a copy of her book so I would be immersed in her voice.

My fields of expertise are small businesses, community, and content marketing.

No one would ever ask me to write a guest post about public relations and crisis management even though I have experience in these topics.

The process usually goes like this:

  • Gini asks me if I’d be interested in writing about certain topics and she helps identify the audience and the angle.
  • I do research to see how Gini has approached this topic in the past, and how it can be refreshed for a new post.
  • If there’s a new angle, or a personal experience I’ve had that could be relevant, I ask Gini if I can incorporate it.
  • I write the article in Gini’s voice, using thoughts she’s already put out into the world, or ideas we’ve brainstormed together.
  • I send it to her, she makes edits to fit her voice with personal anecdotes, and it goes out into the world.

Ghostwriting Myth No.2: It’s Not Collaborative

Gini would never ask me to write about topics that make me uncomfortable.

If there’s a touchy subject, she and I discuss it before I agree it’s something I can work on.

The reason we work well together is that, while our fields of expertise are related, they don’t usually overlap.

I truly enjoy the challenge of writing for Gini because it gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to see my industry from a new angle.

If she asked me to write on a topic I have strong opinions on, and want to express under my own name, I would feel comfortable telling her that.

Luckily, that’s never actually come up.

Ghostwriting Myth No.3: No Mutual Respect

Even before she wrote the blog post that named me as her ghostwriter, I’ve always felt comfortable working with Gini.

She made me feel respected, and a part of the Spin Sucks team from the get-go.

Most ghostwriters aren’t welcomed into the fold.

We’re the ones behind the curtain, sometimes only having communication with our clients’ assistants.

I’m definitely one of the lucky ones.

About Berrak Sarikaya


Berrak Sarikaya is a natural conversation driver and an Amplifier, motivated by a firm belief in owning who you are instead of trying to fit the mold. She loves penguins, speaks fluent GIF, and is obsessed with the three C's: Community, Content, Coffee.