Post by: Ani Clifford
We’ve all heard of ghost tweeting, but there is a less known version of this called ghost blogging. This is often where a social media team writes on behalf of an executive member of a company. The question is, is this ethical?
There are lots of ways in which blogs may not be 100% authentic for example if the owner has used blog design services, but when it comes to someone else writing for you, it’s a bit different. There are many discussions on whether or not this is an ethical way to handle a situation where an executive member is not able to post on social media platforms for him/herself. Is it that crucial for the company to have the voice of an executive member? Or can it stay in the dark and not include them. Some may argue that it is better for a company to not include an executive member’s commentary if they don’t have the time to write it themselves. Others will argue that the company needs the opinions from execs in order to create a well-rounded social presence.
Todd Defren states some interesting facts about corporate blogs, which give us insights into what is and isn’t ethical. In more corporate-style blogs, rather than personal, it is more common for a public relations or communications team to control the blog and use ghost blogging as their fallback strategy if the executive blogger does not have time to create the posts.
Defren describes the difference between more corporate style blogs versus personal blogs that are corporate-aligned. I agree with him that ghost blogging for a personal blog is unethical, but ghost blogging for a corporate blog is ethical. Defren uses the comparison of ghost blogging for a corporate blog to writing a piece for a company newsletter. In both of these cases the executive member or whomever the post was meant to be written by would approve the piece. This is ethical because no posts would go out on the social platforms before being approved by the person whose voice the team is impersonating.
Ghost blogging is becoming a growing trend in public relations, and people will need to accept it just as they have accepted ghost tweeting. There will always be people who disagree with this tactic and will think it is unethical. The public relations agency is always very knowledgeable about their client, and can often form thoughts for their client’s executive members before the members think of it themselves. This tactic is extremely beneficial during a crisis when the public relations team for a company knows about the crisis before the executive members. This will allow the public relations professionals to react to this crisis immediately if necessary, without having to wait on the exec members. There are many instances where ghost blogging is beneficial to a company, but it is up to you to decide whether the situation is ethical or not.
LinkedIn: Ani Clifford