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Should I hire a ghost writer for my blog?

Many people feel unsure in their writing abilities and although they want to have a blog they feel ill-equipped to actually write the blog posts. After all, ghost writers put the words together for autobiographies and lots of other published works. Why not a blog, too? It might seem like a good idea, but my advice is to avoid this practice. Instead of getting someone to pretend to be you, there are better ways to get your company’s blog off the ground.

Casper the friendly ghost?

Image by 2-Dog-Farm via Flickr

Ghost writers can work just fine in lots of situations. I mean, when they write autobiographies, they are essentially shaping the words of the subject into a narrative. It makes sense that many people with a story to tell don’t have the ability to craft a 300-page book, with a start, middle, and end that tells a story. You really need writing skills (and lots of them) to do that.

But blog posts are different. They are short, so they require the ability to have an idea and write a few sentences, but they require nowhere near the skills needed for a book. Also, they are continuous, so you can’t sit down with a ghost writer a few times and have them pump out 20 posts. Blog posts need to be written by you.

They need to be your ideas. They need to reflect who you are as a company. If you don’t have any ideas, then you don’t need a ghost writer–you need to have someone else do the blogging (with their own byline on it). Don’t hire someone to write their own ideas and put your name on it.
You can’t outsource your personality.

If you really have ideas, but worry about your writing ability–stop. What you need to do is stop obsessing over how bad a writer you are and just give it a try. If you really can’t put two grammatical sentences together, get an editor who proofreads your stuff and makes corrections before posting. With practice, your writing will improve and you’ll need less editing.

You can also do team blogging, where you have a co-author for your blog. You might have the ideas and the other person might do more of the writing. It’s less common for blogs than for books, but it’s better than a ghost writer.

Social media is about transparency, so keeping a secret as to who writes your blog gets you off to the wrong start. If you want to blog, you’ll figure out a way to do it yourself, get someone else to do it, or get help to do it yourself. But a ghost writer is not the approach you need–there are too many better alternatives.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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  1. Avatar unique wedding band

    to me writing is the hardest part – building websites – backlinking and maintaining the site is hard enough. If you have a lot of sites you won’t have time to create content – outsourcing is the only way to go

  2. Avatar shane garrison

    Good valid points. A blog is more personal so should be written in your own words and personality. I must admit I have considered it but now I’m thinking its a bad idea.

    Thanks again

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