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Learning a client’s voice takes a bit of time.
Whenever I bring on a new client I’ll be ghostwriting for, there are several steps I take to ensure my content lines up with their existing content. Let’s look at those.
Read As Much As You Can
It’s so important to immerse yourself in your client’s voice, so read as much as you can. Look for blog posts, social media updates, and past newsletters.
Read it all. But don’t just read to read.
Instead, read to learn. You are studying your client, and need to learn as much as possible. So as you read, pay close attention to:
- The point of view used
- How often personal stories are integrated into the content
- Words or phrases that are used frequently
- The length of sentences
- The length of paragraphs
- Tone (is it serious or funny or?)
- The way that photos are integrated and explained
- Any other common themes
Write a Draft
Once you’ve studied, it’s time to start putting into practice what you’ve learned.
Write the draft that your client requested. Try to incorporate as much of your client’s voice and style as possible.
Save a Copy
If you’re uploading this draft directly onto WordPress, you need to save a copy. This is essential for the next step!
Ask Your Client to Make Changes
Have your client make any changes to the draft. As they do this, they’ll naturally make it sound more like their voice.
Print Out Both Versions
This method does take some paper, but I’ve found it to be the most effective way for me to compare two documents.
Once you have both your original, and the version your client edited, start comparing.
Go line by line. Take notes. I write in the margins.
You’re looking for phrases you used that the client took out. You’re comparing word choice for adjectives and verbs.
Make a Client File
If you haven’t already started a file for your client, do so now. I use an Excel spreadsheet.
You’ll want a place to keep all of your notes about the voice preferred. Here’s where I type up all of those notes I just wrote.
It’s where I keep track of which spelling patterns to use (I work with clients in Canada, the UK, and the US) and any words my clients prefer not to use.
Continue Learning Your Client’s Voice As You Go
Learning to write in someone else’s voice isn’t an overnight process. There will be a learning curve.
Even after you’ve worked with a client for a while, you may really drop the ball on their voice at times. You might curate a post to share on their social media accounts that they wouldn’t have.
All you can do is keep trying, keep learning as you go.
Do You Ghostwrite for Any Clients?
What tips do you have for learning their voice?
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.