Let’s say you have decided that blogging really IS a good idea. And, you are ready to have a blog on your own website. The only problem you face is an innate abhorrence of writing.
So you are looking for an easy way out. You ponder the options… and determine that you should hire someone to do your blog. After all, this will get you blogging (that really “in” thing to do for your online marketing) and will make the whole process as painless as possible, right?
Since I am a blog advocate (and a freelance writer), I’ve had quite a few inquiries lately about blogging services. Writing about blogging has resulted in a page one ranking on Google for blog writing services. But, Google is a fickle friend, so I don’t expect to retain that ranking for long.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying quite a bit of web traffic on this topic and I get quite a few questions on ghost blogging. I want to address some of those questions here.
Top Questions I Hear About Ghost Blogging – (along with my rather unpopular answers)
• Do you “ghost write” blogs for clients?
Yes. I am doing it for one client right now.
• Do you recommend that other real estate agents hire someone to do their blogs?
No, not really.
• How can you blog for someone and yet not recommend ghost blogging for others?
Because I know it’s not a cost effective. If you have a professional writer doing a regular blog (2-3 times per week), it’s going to get expensive. I’ve agreed to blog for a month for my current client… just until our next face-to-face meeting. She’s traveling down to Kentucky in October for a weekend planning and training session with me. One of the items we plan to discuss is how she can find her voice and begin blogging on her own.
I’m blogging for her in the interim to “get the blog rolling,” so it’s not quite so intimidating for her. After all, a blank blog is pretty hard to face. And, I’m demonstrating the type of topics she needs to consider “blog material.”
• Will you continue to blog for this client after October?
• What if I don’t care about the money, then should I hire someone to blog for me?
No. The advantages of blogging are many and most of those advantages are lost if you hire someone to blog for you. People read a blog to determine your knowledge base. If you aren’t the one writing the blog, you aren’t giving them a good representation of what you know about your industry and what your knowledge can do for them.
People read blogs to get insight into who you are and what you are all about. Although blogging isn’t really an “online diary” as many people believe – it is a chronicle of who you are based on your own opinions, your experiences, your knowledge and your personality. If you hire out the blog, the reader doesn’t really get to know you… they get to know the hired blogger.
A good contract content writer can get to know you well enough to “simulate” your voice, and can write in a way that their own voice doesn’t overshadow yours … but it’s never going to be as sincere, as real, or as effective as what you will write yourself.
Drop back with me for a moment to your freshman year of college and remember the humanities class you took on the ancient world… Hiring a “ghost blogger” is at most, like Plato’s allegory of the cave. The hired blog will be a shadow of the real you, an approximation, a flat representation of who you are, what you know, and the advantages of working with you. Wouldn’t you prefer to offer a fully formed, three-dimensional version of yourself? You can, but you have to do your own blog.
• Do many people hire bloggers now?
Yes. It’s a common practice… and is becoming more common all the time.
• Is hiring a blogger an effective way to market my site?
Yes and no.
Yes, it will increase the volume of information on your site, which will help it to spider better in Google and other search engines. Yes, a regular blog will refresh your web content and, as such, make Google like you better – because Google loves new content.
But, no. It will not help you to sell yourself. A hired gun will, most likely, result in a sterile writing style or one that represents their own “voice” more than yours. And no because even an expert writer will only be able to take a blog part of the way to YOUR voice.
• I want a blog, but don’t know where to begin. If I shouldn’t hire a ghost blogger, what can I do to get help?
Talk with a writer who knows blogging and understands the marketing aspects of the tool. Hire a blog-savvy marketing consultant to help you create a blog and to get you started.
I often send my own clients articles, ideas, links and random thoughts as “blogging fodder” to help spark quality blogs in their particular area of specialization. I work with a couple clients to help them keep their blog fresh and new… but they do the actual blogging themselves.
The result? I spend a few hours of one-on-one time helping them craft a few blogs, learn to capture items they encounter daily and blog about them, and I help them to craft excellent headers and titles and teach them to pay attention to keywords on the topics they are covering in their blogs…
Oh yeah, and I check in on blogs and harass them if it’s been over a week since a new entry has been posted.
My clients have the knowledge. They stay on top of their market. They have the drive. What I do is help them focus those assets – their own assets — into effective blogs and encourage them to keep a regular blogging schedule.
In no time at all, I have clients sending me questions to address in my own blogs! “Angela, I need to know more about the new Microsoft Office Suite… aren’t you testing the beta? Have you blogged on that yet? Will you?” or “I need to buy a new monitor can you give me some recommendations? Have you done a review lately on your blog? How about wireless keyboards? Mice? Would you do a blog?”
I answer a lot of questions in my blogs that arrive by email or during phone calls with clients. Creating a blog has created a new way for clients (and website visitors) to communicate with me and to tell me what they need.
The number of hits on each blog entry indicates – in statistically measurable terms – what is most popular with my target market. A blog is a form of online “organic feedback” on what I need to do with my business, how to better serve my visitors, and what concerns my readers most.
I have also had many potential clients call me because they liked my approach to topics in my blogs, the way I write articles. They say that they feel that they “already know me” because they have been reading my “stuff” for several months.
Through my blogging and my articles, I’m relationship building long before my first direct contact with a new client. By blogging, I “let them in” and they learn a bit about me and my approach to business.
By the time someone calls me the first time, it’s not a cold call and I’m not a stranger.
How could I possibly get that much benefit from hiring someone else to write for me? I couldn’t. And neither can you.