This is a Newspaper or Magazine and Ghostblogging Can Work

by Shannon Paul on March 20, 2009

The following is a guest post by Michael Gray. He helps companies with social media and blog projects. Michael has 10 years experience in web development and internet marketing projects, and speaks at numerous industry events and conferences throughout the year. You can read his unconventional blog at or visit his new website that helps companies gain exposure for their new products.

This post is a counterpoint to Shannon’s This is not a newspaper: Why ghostblogging doesn’t work. The point I want to make is that there usually isn’t a wrong way to do something. IMHO the only wrong way to do something is the way that doesn’t help you meet your end goals.

When I set out to build a website, 90% of them have a blog component. There are several reasons for this, in many cases Google favors new and fresh content, and blog provides the mechanism to meet that goal quickly and easily. Secondly social media bookmarking is an extremely effective link building tool, blog audiences know how to “do the right thing” when it comes to that area, so using a blog makes it easier. You can also use blog software like wordpress as a CMS and with plugins you can expand it’s functionality. While online newspapers may be in a death spiral the magazine approach to blogging is very flexible and powerful.

When I set out to build a blog/website I usually have one these three goals in mind:

1) After the initial build and promotion it won’t require much ongoing maintenance and upkeep, and allow me to collect residual income for years to come.

2) After the initial build and promotion stage, I’ll be able to bring in additional writers who will be paid or receive some form of revenue sharing, my role will diminish to strategist or high level editor.

3) Once the site is established I will sell the site to someone else to continue running, or absorb into their network.

For two out of the three of these strategies the brand of the website or blog is subservient to the brand of it’s writers. The writers of the blogs are cogs in the machine, important and mission critical parts to be sure, but the more interchangeable they are the better. In the second case where there may be some form of revenue sharing is where things get tricky. If you or your main author are the brand, what you’ve got is a an difficult or impossible to sell product, and yes I think of a blog as a product.

Let’s take a step back and compare this to Shannon’s original article, am I right and is she wrong … hardly … I’d say we’re both right. How is this possible, because we both have different end goals for a blog. When I build a blog selling it is almost always an option that’s on the table from day one. The entire weblogs inc network which sold for 25 million dollars back in 2005 was built upon the saleable blog concept. While unlikely it’s not impossible to imagine Techcrunch or the Huffington Post being sold if the price was right. However high profile singular blogs such as Guy Kawasaki‘s or Robert Scoble‘s are completely unsellable, because without the authors the blogs are useless.

The key takeaway here is there is no right or wrong way to blog, single author, multi author, ghost written posts or what have you. Decide where it is you want to end up, and if using ghostwriters or not using ghost writers moves you in that direction, then it’s the right thing to do.

Photo by dougward

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

March 24, 2009 Rick Simmons 1

You did not convince me – if the brand is the individual then they go together and by putting false ingredients in the mix you cannot tell me it is still the original brand – and ghost blogging is doing just that. If Coke changes the formula they tell you and we voted to not like it. If you start ghost blogging then just tell me – I will tell you whether it is an issue or not – but not telling me – bad idea.


March 31, 2009 Dwight Zahringer 2

Great post Michael. When we build sites we always recommend a blog too as a component to any site. It is important for customers to understand that Google does appreciate new, fresh content on a regular basis and that social bookmarking components do build links, which help rankings.

I also always consider the aspect of selling a blog every time we build a personal project.


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