Ghost Blogging – 3 Ways to Make It Work

This post was written by John White on Tue, 20 Apr 2010 12:54:07 +0000
Posted Under: blog,marketing manager

"Ghost" in Chinese

Blog-posting for somebody else can play a role in your marketing communications effort. Here are three ways to make it work.

In “Ghost Blogging As If It Were Alec Baldwin,” I mentioned that ghost blogging, or posting to a blog in the place of people who are unable to do it themselves, has proponents and opponents. In the rarefied air of Web 2.0, a lot of people feel they’re being cheated if they find out that a ghostwriter is providing the content for a blog purporting to belong to a CxO or company exec.

I have no ox to gore – I’ve never cared for that visual – in this matter, but I’ve posted and I’ve ghost posted enough to note at least three things marketing managers had better take into account if they’re going to use ghost posting in their marcom mix of content.

  1. Start with an existing following. Bootstrapping a blog can be a drag. If it takes too long, then the exec for whom you’re ghosting may pull the plug on the effort, and you’ll lose a nice, fat brick in your content-marketing edifice. So start with the exec’s connections, network and Rolodex to launch the blog with a ready-made following. S/he can send out a message like, “I’m starting a blog. If I point you to it, will you send me some feedback and let me know what you think of it?” Not as catchy as offering a free iPad to the first 5 subscribers, but if the exec has a decent professional network, it should yield a good population of early adopters and fans.
  2. Have a voice-review. You shouldn’t be writing these posts; you should be suggesting them. Tell the exec that, to maximize the value and minimize the annoyance of ghost posting, you’ll provide content and the exec will carefully review it for voice. The goal here is to get the exec to say things like, “No, that’s not how I would phrase that,” and “I’d rather say that a different way,” and then actually rephrase them. Some people can do it by editing the text, and others do it better in a conversation. This makes the content more authentic because the exec is actually involved in the process and not just a name. It’s more like blogging, the way the millions of us other people do it.
  3. Get ready to reply to comments quickly. When people comment on your post, it’s good netiquette to reply to them with at least token acknowledgment according to this tip by Tony Hue. Now, here I would feel cheated if you ghost posted a reply to my comment, because visitors treat the comments like private mail (even though the whole world can see the thread). Also, it boosts a blog’s credibility when the author replies to comments in short order, like in less than 12 hours. Unless she runs a Wall Street brokerage house or is a head of state, these comments probably won’t be numerous, but you need to be ready, so arrange for the exec to check comments and reply to them.

Are you ghost blogging? What other things are you finding to make it work?

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.

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