Alan Alda, as he’d be the first to admit, never went to medical school (although he did address the 1979 commencement at Harvard Medical School). But as Hawkeye on M.A.S.H., Alda helped millions of viewers understand the crucially important role medics play in wartime. Pat Dempsey, playing Grey’s Anatomy’s Doctor Derek Shepherd, at least has four sisters who are real-life doctors. Perhaps that explains why, without any medical training himself, Demsey is able to very effectively convey to viewers the realities of hospital medicine. Andy Griffith, through his role on Matlock, offered a glimpse into the legal world without ever having attended law school. All three actors, like many of their colleagues in the acting profession, successfully helped viewers identify in a favorable way, not with themselves and their own profession, but with the character they’d adopted, and with that character’s profession.
While the doctors or lawyers who have credentials for real-life practice bring healing and legal recourse to hundreds, even thousands of patients and clients, few have the potential for their message to reach millions. In a sense, the actors are their “ghost” portrayers, reaching out to viewers on their behalf, offering valuable information and breeding respect for the professions of law and medicine.
As a ghost writer and ghost blogger, I’m sometimes asked how we do it. How can we ghost bloggers write for business owners and professional clients without being trained in those fields ourselves? It takes two things: research and good hearing. A ghost blogger uses a ‘third ear” to understand what the client wants to say and to pick up on the client’s unique slant on his/her business or profession.
In these days of Internet commerce, marketing is more and more about search engine optimization driving business to websites than about billboards and advertising. Blogging can be an absolutely indispensable tool. But, since web rankings are based on frequency of posting new content, often business owners and professionals, even if they enjoy writing blogs, lack the time to keep up enough frequency and recency to win the Internet search.
So, while I may not be a doctor, a lawyer, an auto mechanic, a telephone technology expert, a travel guide, a gourmet chef, or a tax expert, as a ghost blogger, I can still play one!