Ghosts inhabit the kitchen as well as the blogosphere. I don’t mean to burst anybody’s bubble, but Betty Crocker, whose face has adorned cake mix and flour packages for ninety years, never lived. She is, and always has been, a sales promotion, one of the most successful ever.
Things all started in 1921, when the Washburn Crosby Company, a forerunner of General Mills, was running a contest to complete a jigsaw puzzle of a flour milling scene. Thousands of entries came in, many with questions about baking problems. The company’s advertising manager thought it would be appropriate to have a woman answer those letters. He chose the last name of a recently retired executive of the company, William Crocker, with Betty as a fictitious, friendly-sounding first name. A woman employee with a nice handwriting was chosen to sign “Betty Crocker.” Pretty soon “Betty Crocker was doing the nation’s first cooking show over the radio. That show, the “Betty Crocker School of the Air”, ran for twenty four years!
By 1936, the company needed a face to go with the name. A portrait was commissioned blending the facial characteristics of several of the women employees (they didn’t have PhotoShop back then!). Over the years, “Betty” changed, becoming younger in 1955, more professional in 1980, and multicultural in 1996.
The point is, through the personality of Betty Crocker, Washburn Crosby Company and its successor General Foods Company were able to bring to millions of women a trusted kitchen friend.
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? 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.
I’m the “Betty” for my business owner clients, answering their customers’ questions, and helping create a more personalized marketing conversation online. 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.
As I said in an earlier blog post, 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! Just ask my ghostly colleagues Mrs. Butterworth and Aunt Jemima!