Saturday, January 12, 2013

Should I hire a ghost writer for my blog?

by Mike Moran

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.

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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