Is it wrong to hire a blog ghostwriter?

More and more companies are realising just what they can achieve with a blog. It’s one of those areas that’s morphing from from something enthusiasts do in their spare time to a mainstream marketing activity. And it’s happening fast.

One interesting issue thrown up by this surging enthusiasm for the company blog is whether or not to use a ghostwriter. I’ve been talking about it with various people over the past few months and have seen it discussed in several social media nooks and crannies, most recently here: http://reputationonline.co.uk/2009/12/15/the-surprising-verdict-on-ghostwriting/#comment-556

Here, for what it’s worth, is my take on the topic…..

Personally I just don’t get the argument against ghostwriting. Do those who oppose it have a problem with company spokespeople – do they demand that the Chief Exec speaks in person for the company at all times? Are they happy for the HR Manager to conduct preliminary interviews, or do they expect the Chief Exec to personally interview all staff? Are they happy with machine operatives making the products, or do they expect the Chief Executive to man every single part of the production process?

You get my point. The job of the Chief Executive is to set the direction of the company, hire the best people to deliver it, and then inspire them to achieve more as a team than they could individually. It isn’t to actually DO everything themselves. The spokesperson knows the Chief Executive’s line on the key topics of the day, the HR Manager knows who the Chief Executive wants to hire, and the machine operatives know how the company expects them to operate their machines.

In the same way, Chief Executives (or for that matter senior people in any company, large or small) can’t be expected to find time to write their own blogs. Some do; they enjoy it and are good at it. Most don’t. There’s no reason why they should have either the aptitude or the time. What they SHOULD do is find ghostwriters who they can trust to present their positions in a clear and engaging way. I do this for several companies, and they are using those blogs to great effect, building reputation and generating leads.

I suspect those who argue against the use of ghostwriters in this way simply don’t recognise that writing is a specialist skill, like speaking to the media, interview job candidates or operating machinery. Just because everyone can write to some extent, doesn’t mean everyone can do it well. I believe that, in time, the position of Blogwriter will become as estabished in companies as that of Press Officer and HR Manager. It’s about basic division of labour – and those companies that understand earliest how the new digital economy is creating new specialisations and job roles will in the coming years be best placed to attract the best writers, to put in place systems for making the process work well, and in summary to produce the most effective blogs.

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