July 15, 2010 Michael Bickerton
Certainly, it’s a controversial issue, based on costs and time versus transparency and openness.
You likely know my stand, I believe that your internet presence is based upon (or should be) transparency and openness. How does one state that we want to build a relationship and then hire a blogger to build that relationship? Ultimately, using ghost bloggers is in my view if not dishonest, it is certainly less than ethical.
According to Heather Sokol, ““Transparency is key in social media. Ghost writers are the opposite. The biggest problem is getting found out. You run the risk of being disingenuous. It intimates that you have something to hide.” She also states that, “I don’t think it’s worth the risk”.
Ghost bloggers on the other hand, don’t seem to feel the same way at all. Many feel that their services are an essential part of the marketing strategy. Recent data suggests that around 20% of businesses now host or run a blog, with about one in four outsourcing the writing. Funnily enough, many ghost bloggers are former newspaper writers and this has become a new opportunity for this group dealing with fundamental changes. Interestingly enough, outsourcing your blog is relatively inexpensive, and some executives have also been outsourcing their Twitter accounts.
Ghost blogging serves a purpose, I would suggest you have a very serious discussion with your digital agency prior to embarking on this path. If you can’t devote the time then delegate the writing, or bring in guest writers, and keep your focus on your company and your brand, not necessarily the writer. It’s a matter of don’t ask, don’t tell, or maybe don’t do it. Everything today centres around openness, transparency and honesty. There are no shortcuts, ghosts are scary.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd. July 2010