I’ve covered this “ghostblogging” ground before, as part of the Social Media Ethical Dilemmas series from earlier this year. But I promised Steve Farnsworth, Lou Hoffman, and Paul Roberts that I’d join them in writing a few independent posts — on the same topic, on the same day — for our respective blogs. I’m a sucker for a deadline. And anyway, ghostblogging is a topic worth revisiting on occassion.
So: is ghostblogging ethical? Has my opinion changed since my last post on the topic in January?
Nope, I stand by what I said then:
The content (created by a successful corporate blogger) becomes part-and-parcel of an overarching communications strategy. It impacts inbound lead flow, thought leadership, SEO. There can be no retreat!
Because of the increasingly must-have nature of official corporate blogs, in-house marketers will insist that the content flow must.not.stop. And since these in-house marketers tend to have limited control over the (vaunted) executive blogger, there needs to be a fall-back strategy.
More and more, that fall-back strategy is going to include supplemental ghostblogging.
You can rail against it as a black mark against authenticity, but, it is happening and it is a trend that will only grow. Not enough people see this as a bright line separating “good” from “bad” to forestall the rise of ghostblogging.
Ghostblogging for a corporate-aligned but PERSONAL blog (like this one) is not ethical.
However, ghostblogging for a CORPORATE blog is no more unethical than drafting a piece for the company newsletter, especially since the final draft would need to be approved by a client representative.
In the intervening months, I’ve only seen more corporations invest in ghostblogging. Intriguingly, the client contacts very rarely even ASK about the ethics of the matter. It’s, “can you write a blog post for the corporate blog?” with nary an eyeblink; there is simply no AWARENESS that there MIGHT be an ethical question.
And that’s OK with me.
Ask me about “ghost commenting” sometime, though. That’s another story…
Posted on: September 8, 2010 at 7:20 am By Todd Defren