What is Ghost Blogging?
Very simply, ghost blogging is when your blog is written for you by someone else. It’s just like ghost writing, but specifically for a blog.
The only part of this that may be even vaguely controversial is when you put your name to blog posts that are actually written by someone else. For some strange reason, certain people seem to think this is unacceptable, but frankly if you’ve paid someone to create a well written and informative blog post, and you’re happy with the post, then you may as well have written it yourself!
And many if not most business owners don’t have time to write their own blog, so they either get an employee or service provider to write for them. Then again, the only part that could be even vaguely misleading to any reader is if the content has your name on it, but wasn’t actually written by you.
But again – if you approve the post, then it’s pretty much the same as the tens of thousands of ghost written books out there (because most celebrities don’t have the time, interest, or skill to write their own autobiographies!).
What Are The Benefits of Ghost Blogging?
Well, simply put, it gives you all the benefits of regularly blogging, without having to take time out of your busy day writing the content yourself.
And if you’re not yet sold on the benefits of regular blogging, they include:
- Making your company website look much more credible.
- Positioning you and your business as experts.
- Helping reassure visitors about your company, making them much more likely to become customers.
- Regular blog updates gets visitors coming back again and again.
- Great content gets other sites linking to you, driving more traffic and helping push you up the search results.
- Great content gets shared on Facebook and Twitter.
- The more good content your site has, generally the more traffic it gets through the search engines.
So effectively — a regularly updated blog with quality content helps attract more visitors, and helps convert more visitors into customers. Frankly, the only downsides of blogging regularly are that it takes time.
Your Name or a Pen Name?
One decision you need to make is whether ghost written posts will be published in your name, or under an employee name or even pen name?
If under your name and you’re going to review every post written, then that can work well.
If under your name, but you won’t be checking posts before they’re published, you’ll want to make sure you’re entirely happy with the quality of the work of the person writing your post.
And different blog post topics can be more or less sensitive to legal and regulatory issues of course, which is another point to keep in mind regarding this process.
What About Writing Posts Yourself?
Writing posts is time consuming, there’s no way around that. Even just writing 500 words a day can take 30 minutes each day which comes to 15 hours of extra work a month.
That’s assuming you want to write something interesting, readable, and up to date. You can rush through 500 words in ten minutes, but chances are it won’t be fantastic, and could even potentially reflect badly on you and your business.
Or if you have an assistant perhaps you could dictate to them, and they transcribe what you say and turn that into a post, which may work faster. Or there’s even software like Dragon Naturally Speaking which transcribes (generally with quite a few errors) what you say, but frankly this can still be a slow process as you have to think about what you say, and then edit before publishing.
I do find such software helpful sometimes, but my articles when using dictation software tend to turn out quite stilted, and it’s really not a fast process I’ve found, although less tiring than typing out everything by hand.
Deciding on Topics and Keywords
Researching relevant market topics and keywords, and deciding in which order to publish them in articles can also take a while.
This becomes easier the more you do it, and ongoing forward research and planning make this easier, but if you’re looking for your blog to be handled in an entirely hands off way, you may also be looking to outsource the research and planning too.
Generally the process for writing blog posts goes:
- Researching/understanding the market.
- Researching keywords and topics.
- Grouping keywords/topics into possible articles.
- Choosing the approximate length of each article.
- Coming up with article titles.
- Creating the article content.
- Editing and finalizing the article.
- Finding one (or more) suitable images for the article, and making sure you have the right to use them.
- Submitting the article to the blog, and either making it live immediately, or scheduling it for a future publishing date.
So as you can see, even for short blog posts the work can be significant. So if you are busy with other aspects of your business or are looking for a hands off approach to your business, then the more steps of this process that can be handled for you, without you worrying about quality at any step of the process, the quicker and easier your blog can fill out with fantastic content.
Deciding on Article Length
This may sound like a minor issue, but article length is actually very important for a number of reasons:
- It’s widely thought that Google gives priority to longer pages over shorter pages. Largely due to the fact that a long page generally means more useful and interesting content, plus the longer the page the more time (on average) visitors will spend on it, which is another sign of quality to Google.
- It’s an extreme example, but can you include more interesting information in 200 words, or 2,000 words? Longer is better for that reason, as long as you stay on topic and the content is interesting and easy to read (short paragraphs, lots of sub headings…)
There’s a lot to be said for keeping every post on your blog over 800 or even 1,000 words, without having a hard limit on maximum length. Or you can have a variety of lengths from 300 words to 3,000 depending on the subject of the posts.
‘News’ type posts are generally quite short, even 300 words or so. Whereas in depth tutorials and resource level posts (also known as Pillar Articles) can be many thousands of words. Variety is good in this way, but it is suggested you lean towards longer, again remembering to keep things easy to read.
Structuring Blog Post Titles
The title is one of the most important things about your blog posts. This is what will entice people to actually read your post, and can also be instrumental in people sharing and linking to your content.
A boring post title, however interesting the content, means the post is unlikely to be read much, if at all. Whereas an interesting, enticing, and even timely blog post title make it much more likely the post will be read and shared. You can actually take this too far, and make your post title many times more interesting than the post itself. Or even worse your title promises the moon, but the post content doesn’t actually deliver.
For more details on ideas on structuring post titles see this post.
What About Pictures?
Really, every blog post needs a picture these days, whether it’s a photo, vector art…
A great looking picture makes your post look a lot more interesting and makes it much more likely to be read. It’s worth spending a few minutes finding a suitable picture, or asking the person looking after your blog posting to add at least one great picture to each post.
Generally the picture is included just below the title of the post, and then often other pictures are included throughout the post.
You can take your own photos of course, or there’s plenty of sources for paid pictures including:
And there’s also a ton of sources of free to use pictures – here’s just a few:
What Are Your Outsourcing Options?
If you’re not writing blog posts yourself, nor an employee looking after them for you, then you’ll be looking to outsource either the entire research, planning, writing and publishing process, or perhaps just parts of the process.
So if you’re just looking to outsource the writing you could use our article writing service, or there’s plenty of other options too including oDesk, eLance and many other marketplaces for writers. The consistent problem with outsourcing writing is that it can be very hit and miss finding high quality and reliable writers. Plus you often have to spend a lot of time recruiting and managing writers, and more often than not, sooner or later they disappear on you due to lack of interest with the work, or personal circumstances.
That’s specifically why we offer our blog writing service that can look after every aspect of the work for you so that all you need to do is approve our posts and publish them, so you get high quality content without any of the usual hassles of managing and working with writers.
Getting Your Ghost Blogging Under Way
Hopefully this article has been helpful in helping you decide whether ghost blogging is right for you, and helped give you an understanding of what’s involved with the process.
As you can see, there’s a lot of pros and cons to the many different ways to approach your blog, but one fact stands out – not blogging regularly and with high quality content is detrimental to your business. Your competitors are blogging and attracting more links and traffic to their sites – you should be too.