Ed. note: This post was originally published on Kevin McKeown’s blog, Leadership Close Up, on April 15, 2014.
I have no doubt that I could make good money ghost writing blog posts for lawyers — but this won’t happen.
Because it’s WRONG.
Blogging is a two-way conversation that engages.
If you’re an expert and you want to be visible, then stop with the excuses and write your own blog posts. That’s the only way to demonstrate your unique passion and authority.
Your blog (your own words) reveals more about your intellect and character than a ghost post. Authenticity happens in the context of social interactions and for professionals that’s key for developing new business. Trust must be present. Don’t game your prospects. Don’t be someone you’re not. Be a professional. Be you.
Why believe me?
I examined ghost posting issues in Write the Blog Post Yourself — Outsourcing “Your” Smarts Is Dumb. I take no credit for that post as I stole Tom Albrighton‘s words. He’s a principal at ABC Copywriting. Despite my Irish thievery, Tom graced my post with this comment:
When I wrote Why You Should Write Your Own Blog, I was a little concerned at the reaction of my fellow writers, many of whom offer blog writing as a service. But I think even those of us who have done it appreciate that it’s a second-best option for the client. As I argue here, they’re sacrificing their single best opportunity to put their unique voice out there, as well as giving up a host of very real business benefits. As a professional, it’s always hard when clients ask you to do something that’s not in their best interests, and a ‘dumb’ blog outsourcing arrangement (i.e. ‘just give me something to publish’) is definitely that.
When a copywriting professional says that “blog outsourcing is dumb,” you ought to listen. Read Tom’s post, but you’re warned. He might just inspire you to build your “own blogging muscles.”
I’m glad that you found Tom’s post so useful. After following Kevin O’Keefe on social media for a year or so now, and after following you for the past few months, I knew that Tom’s post perfectly fits LexBlog’s wavelength about the business-related benefits of businesspeople writing their blog posts themselves. As Tom notes in various places in his excellent post, businesspeople who write their own posts enjoy the invaluable benefits of self-discovery, the growth that thinking carefully enough to write about a set of related topics over time encourages for all writers, and more authentic, more personalized, stronger connections with the bloggers’ various publics.
It’s great to see that my share of Tom’s post culminated in such a positive, selfless republication of that post on your own blog. Yes, the social part of social is a wonderful thing – and I daresay that the truly social part of this interaction would not have happened if any of the three of us had hired some uninvested third party to fake “sincerity on social media” on our behalf. The fact that we’re having this extended conversation about Tom’s highly personalized post lends support to one of that post’s own key points: “It’s this human dimension that distinguishes a blog from other forms of commercial writing.”
Especially for the attorneys who read your blog, I’ll also offer my view that blogging lawyers have at least one other special reason (a.k.a. local attorney disciplinary agencies) to think carefully before they hire out their blog-writing responsibilities without telling their readers that the attorneys themselves are not writing the blog’s posts. Kevin O’Keefe blogged on that topic in August 2013, and I stand by the comments I made in response to his Google+ share of that post on “Set-and-forget-it blogging and social media for lawyers” (available here). Blogging is at least arguably “just networking” and not advertising—and thus not subject to attorney disciplinary rules on advertising. For my own tolerance of risk, though, it’s far more prudent to assume that my state’s disciplinary commission won’t be so delicate about splitting those hairs.
Many thanks for mentioning me in your own comments about Tom’s post. It’s little gestures like that that ultimately aren’t so little.
Now, let’s hear from Kevin O’Keefe:
On blogging, there’s really no such thing as having someone else write for you. Blogging, by definition, is a conversation. You listen to what is being said (written) and then you engage, just like you would in person. People don’t send someone to network at an event for them, it’s the same with blogging.
Writing an article for someone and posting it to blog software is just what it is. It’s not blogging. It’s an article on behalf of someone who, for whatever reason, will not engage in a real authentic fashion. It’s okay and can add value to people – it’s information that people are starved for.
The other critical issue, especially in the law, is the ethical issue in having someone else write a post for a lawyer. If the post does not disclose that the post was written on behalf of the lawyer, not by the lawyer, it’s unethical.
The public expects a blog to be authored by the person in the conversation. It’s a reasonable expectation on their part. If the post is not, and it’s not disclosed, that’s misleading and a violation of ethics rules that prevent a lawyer from doing anything that’s misleading in their advertising/marketing.
The large legal publishers doing “blog content” for lawyers make the appropriate disclosure that the post is not authored by the lawyer.
I’d love to hear from any ghost posters brave enough to reveal yourselves. Am I full of it or are you?
Kevin McKeown (@KevinMcKeown) is president of LexBlog, which empowers lawyers to increase their visibility and accelerate business relationships online. With LexBlog’s help, legal professionals use their subject matter expertise to drive powerful business development through blogging and social media. Visit LexBlog.com.
LexBlog also hosts LXBN, the world’s largest network of professional blogs. With more than 8,000 authors, LXBN is the only media source featuring the latest lawyer-generated commentary on news and issues from around the globe. Visit lxbn.com now.