Ghost Writers: 3 Ways to Gain a Competitive Advantage that Wins You More Business
Bob Bly’s latest email to his Direct Response Letter subscribers about how to stand out in a crowded market reinforced something I needed to remind myself. It’s a message I also try to articulate to other writers.
That is, we shouldn’t be so worried about competition. We all have competitors. No matter what your writing focus, whether it’s business books, YA fiction, ghostblogging, content creation, speechwriting, Wikipedia editing – whatever – there are almost always other people offering the same service.
Don’t be Afraid of Competitors
This fact makes some writers downright anxious. The concept of competition puts them on edge. They worry that they’ll have to fight it out with others in order to win business. They get nervous when they hear that others are specializing in the same niche or writing on similar topics.
And they shouldn’t be. Because competition isn’t scary.
The truth is, no one can do what you do exactly the way that you do it. You are unique, and that can be a source of competitive advantage – what helps you come out on top in the hunt for clients.
Be Generous with Your Expertise
Now, while Bly presents nine ways to stand out, I offer my own list of three ways to gain a competitive advantage:
- Have an abundance mindset. That is, believe and accept that there is enough work for everyone. Refer work to others when opportunities that come your way aren’t a perfect fit or aren’t of interest, secure in the knowledge that in doing so, you’re attracting work that makes better use of your skillset. This is in contrast to grabbing every single assignment that lands in your inbox, for fear that you’ll never get another one. That’s a scarcity mindset, which can lead you to jump at every potential project, thereby filling your schedule with work you don’t love, so that when the perfect gig comes along, you’re too busy to take it.
- Share what you know. Similar, or related, to Bly’s recommendation to establish yourself as an authority, by sharing your expertise you position yourself as a leader in the field. You may develop a reputation for your knowledge, which can attract clients. Being generous with your advice and sharing what you know will endear yourself to other writers, many of whom will want to return the favor in some way. That can lead to new connections and new work.
- Focus on one or two niches. As Bly also advises, developing specialized expertise in 1-2 topics can serve you well. By becoming well-informed about a couple of topics, you can research and write about them faster than generalist writers. You are also able to generate pitches that are timely and relevant, because you stay active in the subject area. And the assignments are more profitable for you because you don’t need to do much background research to get up-to-speed. You have a running start when you get an assignment in your area of expertise. Earning a reputation for being an expert in an area will attract clients in need of content in that same area, and will encourage colleagues to refer related work to you when they hear about it.
To gain a natural advantage over your competitors, simply put a stake in the ground, so to speak, to claim your niche – the topic that you’re going to know more about than any other writer.
Then, pass along leads that aren’t a good fit for you. That might be due to the subject matter, the pay, or the project scope. If it’s not a good fit, give it to someone for whom it is.
Know that there is work out there and other writers can’t deliver the same quality product that you can. What makes you different makes you better.
Make sure the market understands that and you’ll have a bulletproof competitive advantage.