Ghost blogging? Just Say No

Do you think ghost blogging is okay? Are you looking for a ghost-blogger for your corporate blog? Are you too busy to band out the text yourself?

Er… then maybe you shouldn’t have a blog!

Ghost blogging is a Tricky Business

The whole issue of ghost blogging for corporate clients is a tricky one (Cf The Ghost Speaks).

ghost blogging
Ghost blogger not for hire!
I’m the first to admit that I’ve done a bit of anonymous ghost blogging for major corporations here in Sweden because they’ve either been overloaded with work or needed someone to write in English.

I’ve ghost blogged in the past because like everyone I need to work and pay the bills and I haven’t always been able to pick and choose clients. Especially when the credit crunch really hit Sweden.

But no more. I’ve decided that if I’m going to blog for someone, like I regularly do for Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet, then I’m much more comfortable writing under my own name. In fact, I’m love writing blog posts. There’s something inherently conversational about the medium that allows for more freedom and variety than the more formulaic journalistic writing I do.

Ghost blogging lacks authenticity

Blogging is an essentially personal communication – even for businesses. And I do feel that if you’ve got a name at the top – as many CEO blogs do – then it’s important that readers know they’re actually getting the written work of the CEO in question, not some ghost writer that’s crafted some copy from an interview or list of bullet posts.

Mitch Joel’s recent attack on the practice of ghost blogging and ghost-tweeting really made me sit up and think. If we’re going to talk about trust and authenticity through online communications, it’s not really ethical to create a fake veneer of authenticity. And I don’t think I can continue to be part of that. Not even in a small way. In the era of real human voices and real human interactions, businesses that try and circumvent this by hiding behind ghostwriters are going to come unstuck. And I don’t want to be part of that.

I’m quitting

So for the record, I’m no longer accepting ghost blogging gigs. Yes, I’m willing to blog for your company but only if I can blog under my own name.

I can see that outsourcing your blog might be necessary from time to time, but in the interests of serving your customers, I think it would be even better if you wrote it yourself. As an educator, I’d be delighted to come in (or Skype with you) to show you how to get started with a blog, and teach you the strategies to use . I just don’t feel comfortable coming in and ghost blogging for you.

So what about all you bloggers out there?

Is ghostblogging for businesses unethical ?
Am I crazy to turn ghost blogging work away?
Or are you crazy to keep doing it?

Update: Mark W Schaefer has a great piece on ghost blogging over at Grow

Image: FlickrCC