Ghostblogging: One speechwriter’s cautionary tale

Thinking of helping the CEO start a blog? Do yourself a favor: Read this first.

When I was asked to ghostblog for our CEO, I said yes. As a speechwriter, I find that saying yes is usually the best approach with executives, after which I retreat to the glow of my computer monitor and try to figure out how the heck I’m going to do that, whatever “that” may be.

I did some research and attended a day long seminar on corporate blogging and quickly discovered that within the “blogosphere”—I didn’t realize that in addition to taking on a new task, I was moving into a new, virtual community—you just don’t write someone else’s blog. While no one is surprised that executives have speechwriters putting words into their mouths when they speak in public, folks in the blogosphere are appalled when they discover that it’s someone else’s fingers on the keyboard when an exec is writing in public.

But our CEO and the public relations folks here wanted it to be her name on the blog.

That was okay with me. I already was used to writing in her voice for more formal pieces, and this would actually be an opportunity to write in her more conversational voice that I knew so well. After all, a blog is supposed to be chatty, almost stream of consciousness, and it’s a great forum to comment on things that are happening and what others are saying and doing.

Well, not so much.

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