I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade – but the whole notion of ghostwriting a blog pretty much completely destroys the purpose of creating a company blog in the first place (which is, mostly, to open up an authentic dialogue with your consumers for various reasons, with extreme emphasis on the word authentic).

If you’re just interested in SEO, I guess it could make sense, except for the fact that Googlejuice depends on links, and people link to blogs they like and engage with, and what kind of engagement potential is there in a ghostwritten blog?

Oh, and finally? Let us not forget the teeny, weeny issue of completely ruining your brand when people realize you’ve created a flog. Which is now illegal in Europe.

But maybe I’m alone on this one – thoughts?

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5 Comments

  1. Nope, you aren’t alone on this one. Ghostwriting a blog is a dumb idea.

    The problem is that it is much more likely that the PR agency, interactive company or perhaps even the ad agency (though I doubt it) has something worth saying on the blog, but no matter how good (or on message) it won’t be authentic. Thus, as you say it defeats the purpose and value of the blog in the first place.

    Someone from the company itself is what people want to hear from, but in many cases the company staff are not prepared for the burden, expectations, culture and pitfalls of blogging.

    So while this is a total generalization I guess for many companies the choice is a well-written inauthentic blog or a boring authentic blog.

    Personally, I would choose the latter as likely they will get better over time.

  2. Dumb idea, but not a bad one. It’s gonna happen, so we might as well just accept that some blogs are going to be written by someone else. I love Gilbert Arenas’ blog on NBA.com but I know it’s just a transcribed phone conversation typed out and put into blog form. That doesn’t make it any less entertaining though.

    I don’t like the idea in principle but I’ll bet that if the person who’s name is on the blog was writing it I wouldn’t find it interesting anyway. If someone can’t find the time or isn’t a good enough writer, then I can at least accept a ghostwriter. Doesn’t mean I’m reading it, though.

  3. Chris suggests it might be an acceptable practice if the blogger “can’t find the time or isn’t a good enough writer.” Given either scenario, why consider blogging?

    If it’s Gilbert Arenas who is talking on his blog, I have no problem with the words originating as a phone call. (Of course, if that’s the case, what possesses him to run a photo on the site with him cranking out copy on a typewriter?). After all, many authors dictate their books (the late Earle Stanley Gardiner comes to mind). And, if the blogger don’t write too good, I don’t have a problem with someone cleaning up the grammar and phrasing. In that case, youyagonnacall? Ghosteditor, not ghostwriter.

    Social media has tended to shine a spotlight on the value of being transparent. Organizations that have non-bloggers blogging deserve to be outed.

  4. Hi Maggie. I think the illegality thing in Europe is people pretending to be customers. That’s much narrower than a ghost-written blog.

    Let’s say you run a company full of bright people who are working their socks off for you. And let’s say none of them likes writing, but they’re happy to ping their thoughts, tersely, to a writer/editor.

    Apart from the authenticity issue and, therefore the writer’s inability to respond before the original ‘note pinger’ has had their say. But is it SO wrong for someone to call themselves John Doe of Maggie’s Marvels (or whatever). The company affiliation is clear.

    I am thinking that this is a better way to surface ‘inside information’ than no blog at all.

  5. Hi Maggie,

    As a professional ghostwriter I would like to put my point across on ghostwritten blogs. I have in my time worked on a number of blogs. The real key to ghostwriting a blog is to actually know what the owner of the blog wants to say. You need to be in constant communication with the owner and they of course need to instruct you on exactly what they need written. It is not just a matter of hiring someone and telling them to fill you blog with posts. As a ghostwriter I need to be instructed on exactly what the client requires and I also need to be familiar with their products and services. Communication with the blog owner is always part of creating their blog posts and they also instruct me on what they want to say.

    I personally feel that if this is the way a blog is ghostwritten that it is fine. It is the owner of the blog voicing their opinion and putting their thoughts across – just someone else typing it up.

    This is just my thoughts and I would like to say that this is a very interesting post indeed.

    Amanda

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