Blog-posting for somebody else (a.k.a. ghost blogging) can play a role in your content marketing 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. A lot of readers 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’ve posted and I’ve ghost-posted plenty. I’ve observed at least three things marketing managers should take into account if they’re going to use ghost posting in their content marketing mix.
3 tips to make ghost blogging work
- 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. Consider launching the blog with a ready-made following of the exec’s connections and network. She 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?” If the exec has a decent professional network, it should yield a good population of early adopters and fans.
- Make sure the exec’s voice is prominent. You shouldn’t be writing these posts; you should be suggesting them. To maximize the value of ghost posting, you provide content and have the exec 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.” Then you revise accordingly. Some writers can do that by editing the text, and others do it better in a conversation. The process makes the content more authentic because the exec is actually involved in the process and is not just a byline. It’s more like blogging, the way the millions of us other people do it.
- Get ready to reply to comments quickly. When people comment on your post, it’s good netiquette to reply to them, according to this tip. Now, here I would feel cheated if you ghost posted a reply to my comment; I want the exec to answer. Visitors treat the comments like private mail (even though the whole world can see the thread), so you should too. Also, it boosts a blog’s credibility when the author replies to comments in short order, like in less than 12 hours. Unless the exec runs a Wall Street brokerage or is a head of state, the comments probably won’t be numerous. But you need to be ready, so arrange for the exec to check comments and reply to them.
Is ghost blogging part of your organization’s content marketing mix? What other things are you finding that make it work?