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Ghostwriting for law blogs?

Can a law firm hire someone to help the firm publish content to a blog? Some call this ghost writing and say it defies the essence of blogging. Others acknowledge, that having someone help write content for your blog makes your blog more meaningful for your target audience. The thought is the blog will have more content and be perhaps better written.

I am of the latter school of thought. A a good lawyer or practice group blog needs to have content written by the lawyers themselves. That’s the stuff that gives the firm and lawyer a personality plus demonstrates their expertise. But basic legal information, not commentary or analysis, and bare news & legal updates on the niche topic add depth to the blog. These items could be added to the blog by a third party without diluting the integrity of the blog publication – the third party is acting merely as an aggregator content. LexBlog offers it as a service to its customers.

Paul Chaney, head of Radiant Marketing and President of the Professional Bloggers Association, is in agreement with me and shared his thoughts on Ghostwriting blogs.

As blogging becomes more and more mainstream, you’ll see more blog publishing networks like Weblogs Inc being created. Case in point, Creative-Weblogging. Other content-centric websites, including major ones like CNet, will create their own networks of blogs, for which they will have to find freelance writers. In those cases, the blogger will get the byline, so no ‘ghost writing’ there.

In addition, corporations, and perhaps more particularly SMBs, will find themselves needing to outsource blog writing. Again, a case in point, Christine Halvorson at Stonyfield has started her 5th blog! At some point, she’s going to have to call in the Calvary.

Yet another example, Kevin O’Keefe at LexBlog hires writers to supplement content creation for his clients. In that case, the writer would not get the byline, so yes, in effect, they are ghost-writing.

There’s something else that needs to be considered. Blogging is changing. The way blogs are written is changing. It’s no longer just the ‘lone wolf, voice of one crying in the wilderness.’ Content is being created around a given topic or niche that is more ‘objective’ in nature.

Consider what I do with The Diabetes Blog I write for Weblogs Inc. Yes, I attempt to give it my voice, and inject my personality, but much of the information is very objective. I simply report on news and information about the disease. I’m not a physician or an expert on the topic. I’m a ‘gister,’ as Tris Hussey put it, or an aggregator of information on the topic.

Of course, that’s not too far afield from what blogging has always been. Now, I’m just being paid to use the techniques and skills I’ve developed in writing my own blog and doing the same thing for another…while making some money in the process.

If that feels like a feigning or bastardization of what blogging was meant to be (the lone wolf idea), I don’t see it that way. I see it as another evolutionary step in the morphing and maturing process.

I fear the ‘blog police’ will be after me on this one but bottom line, I am after helping people. If lawyers share legal info with the public via a professional marketing blog, they should be hailed has champions. If these champions hire someone to help get more legal information to their blog, more power to them.

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