For Songs Or Blogs, Success Proves The Best Silencer Of Critics

sheet musicThe award-winning ballad “You’re Beautiful”, sung by James Blunt, topped the 2005 charts in Britain, the U.S., and Canada, becoming the first song by a British artist ever to top the Latin American Top 40 list.  When word leaked that the song had been composed by a ghostwriter (coincidentally but oh-so-aptly named Amanda Ghost), Blunt fans were – at least temporarily –  horrified.  Massive debate ensued about the ethical considerations of ghostwriting.  Amanda, far from retreating into the mists, went on to write an even bigger blockbuster song for Beyonce and Shakira called “Beautiful Liar” that captured top billing in 32 countries.

Critics-turned-fans began bombarding Ghost with requests for songs. The formerly haunted Ghost is busy producing material for Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and other super-stars of the music world.  “An Amanda Ghost song is honest”, explains the ghost songwriter. “I think that’s why they do well.”

Since I’m part of a small, elite group of specialty writers for hire, I’m also part of the debate about using ghostwriters. In an earlier blog, Ghost Writers In The Sky?, I mentioned how accustomed we are to today’s celebrities, CEO’s, and public figures hiring ghostwriters because they can’t spare the time to write their own speeches or books.  Songwriting or ghost-blogging – same idea.  A ghost blogger becomes part of each client’s’ marketing team, performing a very practical and important service: helping customers find the business through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  As with any promotional materials created for a business by outside professionals, your blog must be in harmony with your style, your approach to your customers and your niche within your industry or field of expertise. 

Just as songs composed by Amanda Ghost “worked” for the likes of Blunt and Beyonce, consistent, targeted blogging can lead to honestly earned, long-term success for a business. If your blogs honestly speak your corporate message, whether written word-for-word by you or in cooperation with a ghost blogger, it’s quite possible you’ll find yourself listening to sweet sounds of success.


The Bottom Line For E-mail Is Blogging

In a “white paper” about the future of business blogging, Compendium Blogware Inc. co-founder Chris Baggott explains that, back in the year 2000, there was still a lot of skepticism on the part of business owners about using email as a business communications tool.  Since then, of course, email has been adopted by just about every business and organization to stay in touch with customers and constituents.  Now, some of that same reluctance is evident when it comes to corporate blogs.

Since I work as a ghost blogger, serving as “the voice” of many small businesses and professional practices, Baggott’s explanation of the difference between email marketing and marketing through blogging is really the crux of the matter for me and my clients. Here’s the essence of what he says in the “white paper”:

“Blogging provides the same benefits as email in an easy-to-use and inexpensive way.  It’s the perfect complement to email as a marketing tool for the beginning of the relationship.”

The bottom line is, you can’t email people without their permission.  And you can’t ask for their permission if you don’t know who they are.  That’s where corporate blogging comes in.  Email can’t help your business or practice acquire customers, but blogging can.  Since so many professionals and business owners lack the time or the inclination to compose blogs, that’s where a ghost blogger comes into, or rather behind, the picture!


Straight Line Blogging

golfingA couple of weeks ago, my Circle Business Network group meeting was held at Parmasters indoor golf training center in Noblesville.  The dozen of us in attendance were treated to some delicious muffins and coffee, then to a simulated tour of the famous Saddlebrook golf course with pro Clayton Meeks.

An absolutely abominable golfer myself, I still got a big kick out of seeing the wonders of modern computer technology put to the task of teaching a skill.  Parmasters is amazing! The part of Clayton’s talk I found to be the most interesting had to do with the golf teaching system used at Parmasters, called Straight-Line Golf.  This is a system that allows the player to consistently hit the ball straight.  Straight Line, (and this part  was significant to me as a seminar presenter and former teacher), in contrast with traditional golf instruction’s focus on correcting a player’s faults and weaknesses, takes all players through the same teaching track, focusing on the golfer’s getting the ball straight to its target.

My “Say It For You” ghost blogging for businesses is, in a way, based on the same “Straight Line” principle.  Search Engine Optimization consists of  “driving” (pun intended) traffic to your website.  The straight line begins when someone browses the Web searching for information about a topic related to your company’s expertise, product, or service.  Your blog contains recently posted, relevant information.  Since you’ve been consistently posting good, frequently updated material, the search engines have rewarded your efforts by putting your blog closer to the top of their search list.  The browser spots your blog (because it uses all the search terms he/she’s designated), then finds what you have to say compelling enough to continue along the path – straight to your website. 

So, thanks for the memories, Parmasters!  And thanks for setting a good example for “straight-line” corporate marketing through blogs.


Tip Talk For Blogs

Woman’s Day Magazine has a section called “Solutions Tip Talk”. The tip topic this time was toothpaste, normally not a theme designed to pique my interest.  It was the title of the piece, “5 Uses For Toothpaste” that reeled me in.  Fascinating.  Just last week I’d posted a blog specifically warning against cramming corporate blogs with too much information about the benefits of a product or service.

But here’s the thing:  This toothpaste mini-article was effective using a list because not one of those five uses on the list was anything anybody (well, maybe Martha or Heloise) would’ve ever thought of.  Had you thought of using toothpaste to remove crayon marks, whiten sneakers, buff DVDs, defog goggles, or deodorize hands after peeling onions or garlic? It was a “Who knew?” experience, I’ll tell you, reading that little article.

I realized there was a lesson here for me as a ghost blogger.  If I can get your blog to capture an Internet browser’s interest with useful – and unexpected – ways the expertise or product line your company has to offer can help customers, we’ve got a good chance of converting a “Gee, who knew?” browser into a website visitor wanting to know more!


Your Blog’s No Swiss Army Knife

Next time you’re taking the scout troop on a campout or playing Do-It-Yourselfer around the house, reach for a Swiss Army knife.  The Wenger Company sells one of the latest versions of this all-purpose tool-kit-in-one, called the Giant Swiss Army Knife. This gizmo boasts no fewer than 87 different pop-up attachments, including a flashlight, tire gauge, wood saw, golf divot repairer, and laser pointer.  It seems you’d be hard-put to come up with a task your Wenger super-knife can’t handle.

I remember my grandmother teaching me to learn from everyone, but then adding that sometimes what I’d need to learn is what not to do.  As a professional ghostwriter of business blogs, I think blogging might be one area in which Gran’s advice could come in handy. You don’t want your blog to be an all-in-one marketing tool that forces a visitor to spend a long time just figuring out the 87 wonderful services your company has to offer!  Your business blog is short by definition, offering just a “peek”, enough to convey to the individual browsing the Web that he/she’s come to the right place, and to invite him/her to move on to your website to learn further details.

On the other hand, what you can do with the blog is offer different kinds of information in different blog posts.  In a way, each time you post (or have your ghost blogger post), you’re pulling out just one of those attachments on your Giant Swiss, offering some valuable information or advice relating to just one aspect of your business. Another day, your blog post can do the same with a different “attachment”. 

So, thanks, Wenger!. Your Giant Swiss Army Knife is awesome, but, thanks to Grandma, I’m learning what not to do, at least when it comes to business blogs!