What Women, Men, and Search Engines Want

The majority of women, myself included, are not overly interested in what other women want.  Unlike the majority of my female peers, on the other hand, I’m only slightly interested in what men, as a gender, want.  (I’ll hasten to add that the wants of certain men important in my life do occupy a high spot on my priority list.) But, gender matters aside, as a member of a small but rapidly growing cadre of ghost bloggers, I’m absolutely fascinated with learning what search engines want. I’m referring to the likes of Google, MSN, and Yahoo, and giving those search engines what they want is the whole idea behind business blogging.

The other day I caught a cute article in Entertainment Weekly that discussed the fact that men are embracing their feminine side in romantic comedy movies these days.  The article was titled “Guys Are The New Girls”. The piece ends with a wry question: “What do women – and men – want out of a man?”

Apparently, the answer to that question is still the subject of much debate.  By contrast, (happily for me as a professional ghost blogger), what search engines want is rather clear – to deliver relevant content to online searchers.

What determines how relevant content is?  Well, two ingredients are important for sure – recency and frequency. That’s exactly why once-in-a-while blogging just doesn’t do the trick, even if it’s high-quality stuff.  To satisfy a search engine, your blog material must be updated frequently, and I mean very frequently.  It seems that when it comes to blogging for business, search engines are saying, “Never mind what you’ve done. What have you done for me lately?”


Ghost Writers In The Sky

I can’t believe how far back ghostwriting goes – who knew?  We’re all used to today’s celebrities, CEO’s, and public figures who can’t spare the time to write their own books or speeches, and who hire ghostwriters.  (In fact, publishing companies sometimes purposely associate a book with a well known person to make it more marketable.)  As a professional ghost blogger, I am an avid reader about all forms and styles of ghost writing.  The more I read, the more interesting material I uncover.

Composer Wolfgang Mozart, I learned, was paid to ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons.  Come to think about it, that fact was brought out in the movie “Amadeus”.

An absolutely fascinating tidbit I just learned is that romance novelist V.C. Andrews’ estate hired a ghostwriter.  The assignment: to continue writing novels in Andrews’ style after her death!  The readers just didn’t want there to ever be a final chapter, I guess…

It’s fun to learn about all these things, but blogging is much more in the here and now.  The mission of a ghost blogger like me is to market your business.  Your business blog performs a very practical and very important function:  it helps customers find your business.  And they find it, not in the sky, but right here on the Web.


Converting Lookers To Buyers In Your Blog Booth

In an earlier blog, I shared with you a very practical “no-no” about trade show booths:  Don’t use a table as a barrier between you and the customer.  I related that advice to  your business blog and how to make it inviting.  Here’s another valuable trade show tip I picked up from business event marketing specialist Kathleen Haley:  It’s a big mistake not to have an effective system for following up on leads you get at your booth.

Remember, the display in front of your “booth” is your blog.  The blog, with its frequently changing and engaging content, draws people into your website.  Now, that looker is not just another face passing by at the trade show (the Web) – it’s a lead!  And, what you do with leads like that makes all the difference between wasted effort and new business. You’ve heard it before, but it’s true, oh, so true: You’ve gotta have a plan!

You and your ghost blogger, along with your web designer and administrator, are part of a marketing team.  With a well-conceived plan, once the “leads” are inside the booth, your website functions perfectly to gather information about what those people need, provide that information, and convert them into customers.  You’ve set a process in motion, one that gets better with practice. Your blog opens the line of communication to your target market.  Lookers click by at the web trade show, are drawn into your website booth, where you “meet” them and convert them into buyers.  Easy? Actually, no. But, can it work?  With a well-written, regularly posted blog, a marketing team, and a plan – oh, my, yes!


What Gets A Ghost Blogger Going In The Morning

Ghost writers have been used by celebrities and public figures for hundreds of years now.  What you find today is that, in some cases, a book ghostwriter’s name is actually listed. The name might be labeled “a contributor”, or “as told to”, or even as “research assistant”.  Most of the time, though, the ghost writer’s role is concealed.  This is interesting, since human resource specialists and workplace psychologists seem to agree that employees crave recognition and appreciation as much as, or even more than, a paycheck.  My goodness, what happens to the praise-starved psyches of us poor ghost bloggers, who, along with Rodney Dangerfield, “get no respect”?

Since I spent many, many years writing under my own byline (see www.rhodaisraelov.com), I can tell you, it’s a little bit different fading into the shadows, allowing my clients’ businesses to take all the glory.   So why is it, then, that I find ghost blogging so satisfying?  To explain, I need to share with you an anecdote I read in the book “White House Ghosts”.  Dick Goodwin, who wrote speeches for Kennedy and Johnson, expressed it perfectly.  Here’s what he said:  “Naturally, writing this or any other speech would not make me a world-historic figure.  But, it was a chance to help make history.” 

Think about that for a moment – Goodwin got a kick out of being part of something important, whether he got credit for it or not.  Corny as it might sound, I feel exactly the same way about my work as a ghost blogger.  Each business client has an important message to spread. (If I can’t believe in that message, I won’t take on the assignment, because it won’t work.) My clients and I – we may not be making history together, but, by golly, with great blogging, we can sure make business!


Ask Not What Your Business Blog Can Do For You

We ghost bloggers are fairly new to the business scene, but, as I’ve mentioned in earlier “Say It For You” pieces, ghostwriting has a very, very long history.  U.S. presidential speechwriters are one of the better-known examples, starting with the story I told about George Washington using Jefferson and Hamilton to craft his speeches.  I learned recently that Calvin Coolidge was the first president to hire an official, full time speechwriter.  Since then, of course, every president has had an Office of Speechwriting.  There’s even an interesting book called White House Ghosts, written by Washington reporter Robert Schlesinger, on the topic of presidential speechwriters.

I can find quite a number of interesting parallels here.  All of us remember famous lines from presidential speeches.  How about Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” and, perhaps best-known, Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”?  Ghost writers had a hand in creating all of these speeches. So, does that mean U.S. presidents have no influence on the speeches they deliver? Far from it!  Michael Gerson, talking about one of the speeches he and his team wrote for Bush, said “Our concern is not to write a good speech, but to write a good speech that is also his speech.” Richard Goodwin, speechwriter for LBJ, said his job was to “illuminate the president’s inward beliefs”.

I’ve said this before:  Your ghost blogger needs to pick up on your unique corporate style in order to speak your message in your voice to your customers. Your blog helps drive business to your website.  When your customers arrive, they find – YOU!  Now you have a chance to shine.  No longer is it a matter of what your blog did for you – it’s what can you do for your new customers! Meanwhile, behind the scenes, your ghost blogger will be basking in unseen and unheard glory, having Said It For You.