There’s something some still find scary about ghost-blogging. Very much like the apparitions from which we professional ghost bloggers derive our name, doubts about the legitimacy of our pursuits return periodically to haunt online conversation spheres.
In One Ghost-Blogger’s Manifesto, a piece which I composed a number of months ago as part of an online debate "moderated" by Jason Falls, I made several points about blog marketing for business using the help of professional writers.
1. Business blogging is a form of advertorial marketing, not a personal "op ed" forum meant to gain converts to a political, religious, or personal view of the world. Blog marketing is meant to win search so that the client company can do more business. Understood in that context, hiring a professional writer is no less ethical than hiring an advertising copy writer.
2. Most sports figures, music stars, celebrities, and politicians don’t write their own books. As blog strategist Mikal Belicove remarks in the book What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting, it’s not only books and songs that are composed by ghost writers, even most quotes from corporate CEOs represented in press releases are never actually uttered by the quoted officials.
3. In the close to three years since founding Say It For You to provide professional writing services to business clients, I have seen, again and again, blogs begun by business owners and then soon abandoned for lack of time, the owners’ attention drawn to putting out fires, making sales, and dealing with personnel issues.
4. As a ghost blogger, I’m part of an elite group of specialty writers for hire, "new" in the sense that blog marketing itself is a new phenomenon. Ghost writing, of course, has a very long and proud history, in our own country going back all the way to presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton.
(After I and several other blogging professionals had weighed in on the issue, Jason Falls maintained his stance that the principle of social media transparency is being violated by ghost bloggers. Still, he concluded,"These professionals who work hard to deliver the company voice and value through their writing are nothing if not responsible, professional, first-class individuals who provide valuable service to their clients.")
In the blog posts for each business owner client, I (and the writers under contract to me) are out to accomplish the following:
- Provide information that is valuable to readers and which satisfies the need that brought them online to search for answers
- Demonstrate the particular expertise and history of that company or that professional, and how he/she/it differs from competitors in approach, product, expertise, or price point.
- Provide a clear navigation path through calls to action that bring the searcher closer to becoming a client or customer of that business.
Supernaturalists refer to "channeling". The role of a "medium" or "channeler" is to facilitate communication with spirits who have messages to share with living people. It’s the spirit doing the speaking, but the channeler who conveys the message in language recipients can understand.
I cannot think of a more fitting metaphor to describe the services a professional ghost blogger provides!