Last week Steve Farnsworth sent out an invitation to join him in writing a small series of 4 posts on the same topic. According to Steve as an opportunity to see what smart practices we share in common, and more importantly, what fresh perspectives and insights can we collectively learn from. Today the first post in this series: Is Ghost Blogging Ethical?
There Is Nothing Wrong With Ghost Blogging
To start with answering the question: there is nothing wrong with ghost blogging. It is your blog and if you want somebody else to write the posts for you, then go ahead and do it.
But my advise is to not make the mistake to do it secretly. Clearly state somewhere on the blog or in the posts that, although the ideas or opinions are yours, the actual writing is done by somebody else. If you don’t do that and people find out about it, you may have a problem.
But Why Do It
Reading about ghost blogging and especially what the people in favour of ghost blogging (mostly the ghost writers themselves) are writing about it, I found the main reason that is given for ghost blogging is the fact that CEO’s and alike do not have the time to do the writing. They have great ideas and opinions but they do not have the time to put them on paper.
I do not think that is a valid reason. First of all because nodbody ever said a post has to be a long piece of text. Other than for instance an article, a post can be relatively short. I even think short posts are often the best posts. So there is no need to produce pages of text.
Besides that – according to most ghost writers – a good ghost blog involves in-depth interviews, reviews and the correction of texts etc. So how much time do you expect to save by using a ghost writer.
Also nobody ever said you have to write a post every day. You can do it once or twice a week or even once every two weeks if you really do not have the time to do it. And if you are afraid that is not enough, involve other people in your company to write posts. There may be sales-managers, people in R&D, human resource managers and others that also have valuable ideas and opinions that can contribute to your blog.
Make it a company blog with more people writing posts, including the President or CEO writing a post once a week or every two weeks.
There Is More
If you want to blog, you should also be prepared to take care of the follow up. Other than writing an article or a book or giving a speech, blogging is, like all new social platforms, about communication and two way traffic. I write a post, you have the possibility to comment and I react to that etc. We communicate.
That means it often does not stop after writing a post. There may be more work to be done. Work that cannot be taken care of by a ghost writer.
Switching off the possibility to comment is an option, but no considered by some people to be a postive action.
When you want to blog but you really do not have the time to write, to react to comments or to find others to join you, a good alternative is to use an interview format for your blog. Reading an interview people immediately understand it is not you who has done the writing. Still it is your ideas and opinions that are presented in the post.
An advantace of the interview format is also that there is less chance people comment. Because the interview creates some distance between you and your audience.
So if people want to make use of a ghost blogger, don’t let me be the one to stop them. I may be interested in what they have to say and if not using a ghost blogger means they do not start blogging at all, that would be a pity.
But in that case please let me know it is somebody else who is doing the writing.
Next week’s post is about the question: To Stay Relevant How Do Communication Professionals Need To Evolve?