Ghost Writers for Blogs

It seems that my suggestion that "busy lawyers should consider getting a "ghost" writer to help start and/or maintain a blog" was perceived as an extraordinary idea.

A reporter for Smart Money Magazine called to ask me several questions in connection with an article he’s writing on blogging. He was concerned about the ethics of writing a blog without attribution to the actual writer. I suggested that blogging is not a news piece nor a school term paper where one is "graded" and receives personal credit for the submission.

Here are a few reasons why I believe "ghost" written blog posts, without attributin,  are acceptable:

  • Blogging of the nature under discussion is created for marketing purposes. If not, we wouldn’t be concerned about search engine placement.
  • Blogging is done primarily to raise the level of one’s credibility for expertise in a given subject — in other words, blogging is done for business purposes.
  • We do not attribute authorship to marketing copy used in the promotion of any product or service. While that may occur in limited circumstances, it is a negotiated event, not a matter of ethics.
  • There are many very fine authors who earn a considerable income by writing for others without using their own name.
  • Books are published daily with the name of the author listed — but who may in fact not be the person who wrote all (or, in some cases, even any) of the words.
  • The person whose blog it is, though not the author, still sets the tone of the content, still oversees the ideas to be discussed and most likely lays out the entire strategy to be highlighted in the blog. In other words, the concept is the bloggers even if the specific words are not.
  • Since content is king in the blogging world, providing valid ideas that are practical and useful is far more important than being a great novelist. Getting help to enhance your communication skills so that the reader will better understand your ideas is an acceptable, in my opinion, strategy.

Today’s newspaper had an article about Sanford Weil’s (the financial genius) new book; he gives credit to the "co-author."  He said (and I paraphrase) that he can’t put two words together in a written sentence. thus, he followed his business strategy to get the best person he could to help. He  spoke his thoughts; he outlined the course of the book. And then the two "authors" collaborated to write the final product, a well-regarded business book.

The principle for blogging is the same and the heft of the posting is not so enormous as that of a book. Further, the objectives of the two media are different — thus attribution is not necessary nor an ethical mandate.

Lawyers interested in enhancing their credibility for their expertise and attracting more and better clients should consider blogging as a marketing tool. If the lawyer is too busy, engage someone with the writing skills appropriate to the expertise of the blog to help.

Just my opinion.


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