Have you ever been to a wedding where the officiant clearly didn’t know the bride or groom? He gave a generic spiel about marriage and maybe even mispronounced someone’s name — and everyone cringed through it.
If you’re publishing ghostwritten content, you’re likely putting readers through the same painful experience.
Although ghostwriting practices vary from company to company (and some work better than others), we’ll refer to it as when a company contracts someone to write on a topic without personal information about the author or any interaction with him.
There are quite a few problems with this approach, but here are the main risks:
If you hire ghostwriters to create your blog content, it might take on a personality and tone, but it probably doesn’t reflect the authors or the company. Readers will spot the discrepancy between your brand image and the personality your content embodies. They'll also notice when your sales material and customer service reps don’t give off the same vibe as your content.
When we surveyed more than 150 editors at online publications, 20 percent named “unoriginal insights” as one of the top reasons they decline content. Personal examples and anecdotes are what make your content shine, which explains why a majority of editors said they look for both of these in contributed content. Thousands of online articles provide how-tos or tips for running a business, but the most memorable ones come from authors who bring these ideas to life through real-world examples.
Responding to comments is a crucial part of content marketing — even comment trolls deserve a response every once in a while. But it’s hard to respond to comments, especially rivaling ones, when you didn’t have a hand in forming the ideas yourself. Imagine defending a position you didn’t feel strongly about in the first place; it’s not an easy or comfortable thing to do.
Some companies choose to hire ghostwriters and author their content under the company’s name instead of individual authors. But consumers don’t trust or relate to brands; they connect with the people behind them. If you’re removing individual authors from your content, you’re missing out on the unique ability to forge authentic relationships with your audience.
Just because writing isn’t your forte doesn’t mean you can’t create compelling content and overcome the pitfalls of ghostwritten content at the same time. By taking a hybrid approach (we’ll call it assisted writing), you can unlock the benefits of personal content and leave the writing to the experts.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s face it: You don’t have the time or skill set to write and publish professional content. But it’s OK to seek help. If you really want to form authentic relationships with your audience, the knowledge and rich details have to come from you. Don’t undermine your own intelligence by relying on others to dream up ideas for you. You have a wealth of knowledge, so share it!
What tips do you have for capturing and communicating your insights?