I had a great time the other night at the Talk is Cheap 2.0 conference put on by staff and students of Centennial College’s Centre for Creative Communications and Social Media Group.
It was nice to hang out with June Li, Elizabeth Cockle and Barb Sawyers. I also ran into Terry Fallis, who I met, heard and blogged about at last year’s event. Congratulations to Terry for winning the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
I saw two sessions. In a presentation about The Ethics of Social Media PR, Dave Fleet and Michael O’Connor Clarke, both of Thornley Fallis, did a great job of explaining things like astroturfing, although in some ways the discussion raised more questions than answers. The question I was most interested in was why is it ok for professionals to have a speech written for them, but not a blog post?
Their take on that was that a blog is meant to be a two-way conversation, and if one of those two people isn’t truly present in that conversation, it’s fake. They offered the point that when someone has a speech written for them, it is still them that is standing there delivering the words.
Speaking of speechwriting, I also bumped into John Watkis at Wednesday night’s event. John (who, incidentally, attended the same high school that I did) made a big impression on me when he spoke about speechwriting at a PWAC Toronto seminar last year.
Dave and Michael suggested that if you use a ghostblogger, you could include a disclaimer explaining that someone on your staff is writing the blog, but that you review and approve every post before it goes out.
What’s the difference between ghostblogging and what I do when I edit and clean up my clients’ blog posts before they publish them? Is there a difference?
I wouldn’t be comfortable blogging “as” someone else. That would definitely feel fraudulent to me. I agree that when someone reads and comments on a blog post, they should expect to be interacting directly with the blog owner.
But ghostwriting or editing a blog post that my client then goes ahead and publishes themselves, that’s different. That’s just one of the many ways I help my clients get their own great ideas out of their heads and into writing. It means they can make use of this fantastic marketing tool even if they struggle with writing, can’t find the time do it or whether they just need some help to clarify and polish their words.
The second session I saw was also really interesting. It was called Influencing the New Influencers, and was about how to “pitch” to bloggers to get them to review, endorse or simply talk about your product or service. The panel was moderated by Keith McArthur of com.motion and featured Brenna Flynn, also of com.motion and Eden Spodek of Bargainista.
Not surprisingly, they talked a lot about the importance of building a long-term relationship (“make friends before you need them”) and also about customizing your pitch to demonstrate that you’ve read and followed the blog.
Congratulations to the Talk is Cheap Team for another great event! I’m so glad I was there.
June Li says
Great to see you again also. I too enjoyed the questions from the seasoned PR professions in the audience at Dave Fleet’s and Michael O’Connor Clarke’s session.
There is a difference in “helping” with posts versus writing 100% “for” the named author.
Linda Dessau says
Absolutely! Thanks, June, see you soon.
Susan Raab says
It does seem that David and Michael were speaking primarily of personal blogs. A company blog can have many contributors. Let the ghostblogger post under her own name as a company rep and the problem is solved, no disclaimer needed.
It gets much trickier when the ghostblogger is sent out to post comments on other blogs. Even when she’s cut-and-pasting from a library of pre-approved messaging, if the client/content owner is not aware of the context in which the message is being pasted, it’s inauthentic.
I’m still chewing on that one.
Linda Dessau says
Great points, Susan, thanks for your comments.
All the best,