With the new social media, comes new questions, and not all of those questions are about how your blog makes business sense. Some of those questions are about ethics: Is it OK to hire a ghostwriter for your blog?
Photo by striaticMy answer is a resounding “Yes!”
That is, under certain conditions.
And here’s what I think those conditions are:
#1) The ideas in your blog authentically express your ideas, your expertise, and your opinions, even if the blogs themselves are ghost authored.
#2) See #1.
We ghostwrite books for clients all the time. These clients have their own thoughts and their own industry knowledge (which they have legitimately accumulated over years of experience). The clients just may not be good writers, or they may not have the time to write.
It’s an extremely personal experience to ghost write for a client in the true sense of the word. The ghostwriter is a medium (forgive the pun) for the client. It’s the client’s knowledge that makes the book possible. It’s the ghostwriter’s job to turn that client’s thoughts into words.
And, yes, this is entirely possible – although the relationship can take months to get settled. It’s much like hiring a good private secretary: After the second week, you’re ready to fire her, but after a month, you don’t know what you’d do without her. After a month, you can give her a three-bullet memo, and she can turn it into a beautifully sculpted email. After a year, you can give her a three-bullet memo, and she’ll turn into a four-page letter to the shareholders.
Now, here’s why it’s necessary for many companies to hire a ghost blogger:
What busy C-level exec really has an hour a day to spend on blogging? And when I mean an hour, I really mean more like an hour minimum. Even if you know the subject you are writing about by heart, even if you feel the muse take you — and some muses are finickier than others — even if you are a really, really fast typist, by the time you’ve typed up all your ideas, read them over, agonized about what people will think, double checked your facts, and posted the darn thing, you’ve spent an hour.
Face it: Companies are coming to the point where they really need to blog. Companies need to connect with their audience, to share industry knowledge, and maintain Internet branding. But the people who represent the company, are just too busy doing their job. And their job is not writing.
Yes, it takes time to hire a ghost blogger and train them and review material – but it still takes less time than it would to do it yourself.
Oh, and before I wrap up, I’d like to post a response to the question that’s been coming up on some of the blogs relating to this topic: What about responding to comments? Does the client have to approve every comment post?
Again, I’m going to go back to the private secretary example. The answer is yes, and no. Just like a secretary, the ghost blogger keeps track of the comments, spends an hour or so a week reviewing comments with the client, and takes notes on the basic responses. The ghost blogger then pens those responses.
Does this take time out of the client’s schedule? Of course. But does it take as much time as it would for the client to pen those responses himself? No.
And will the responses be better written?