Topic: Social Media

Ghostwriting An Internal Ceo Blog

Posted by mktggal on 25 Points
Working on project for a CEO blog on our Intranet blog. there's debate about ghostwriting. I've read a lot of stuff about ethics related to CEO ghostwriting when it's an external blog to customers, consumers, etc. But what about an internal blog?
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  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    I'd say it's questionable if the CEO represents that it's his blog and then has someone else do most/all of the actual writing. It could be seen as something of a lie to the target audience.

    If the CEO doesn't have enough value for the CEO blog to write it himself/herself, then maybe it's not that critically important for your internal audience.

    Of course, if the CEO actually writes the blog, there's nothing wrong with someone else editing and polishing. It's just that if there's a ghostwriter you're basically telling the people in the organization that the company doesn't value honesty and openness. Not something I'd recommend.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Dear mktggal,

    The boss gets to make the rules and the boss gets to break the rules.

    Personally, I think the CEO ought to be writing his or her own blog.
    Even if it's only 250 words twice a week.

    The trouble with this is that although most CEOs THINK they can write, many can't. They may also have things to SAY, but those things may not be things that anyone wants to read.

    If the CEO's NOT writing what they're putting their name to it
    can read or sound a little odd if word gets out or if it's common knowledge that the CEO's not writing their own stuff.

    Having said that, presidents and prime ministers have people
    who write their scripts, so what's the difference between that
    and someone writing a script or a blog entry for the head of a company?

    I agree with Michael: if the company does not value and openness, what does it say about the organization?

    Gary Bloomer
    Wilmington, DE, USA

  • Posted by excellira on Accepted
    Answer this question:

    What would the employee sentiment be if they discovered that the blog entries were written by a ghostwriter?

    If the answer is negative the blog can be treated as any other communications. Perhaps the CEO can dictate their concepts to their AA who can then refine and post it.

    This will help to ensure that it gets done and that the details will be completed by someone with more time (theoretically anyway;-).
  • Posted by SteveByrneMarketing on Accepted
    Hi Erin,

    Adding to the good input from above, I propose an alternative format.

    Have the CEO and professional writer select an appropriate subject and then record (audio) a Q&A on that subject. Then the professional can reduce to writing a blog entry in the Q&A format, send to the CEO for final edit/approval, and there is complete integrity in the process.

    hope this helps,


  • Posted on Accepted

    There is no issue with ghost writing, if you reveal the details. For example. your CEO can reveal that the thoughts in this blog post are mine and it was written by you.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    For the sake of transparency, have the CEO write their own material. As Michael mentions, having someone improve the grammar makes sense. But the point of having a "CEO Speaks" is to hear the ideas from the CEO, as if they're in the same room with you. Have the writing reflect their speaking style - it'll make it more transparent.
  • Posted by telemoxie on Accepted
    I guess I am wondering what the real point of this question is. Is the primary point of the question to help a CEO accomplish their objectives? Or is the primary purpose of this question to help a potential ghostwriter market their services?

    If I were an employee, I would prefer brief, occasional, heartfelt comments written by my CEO to some charade. If my CEO does not care about communicating with employees, why did the pretense of an insincere blog?

    if I were a potential ghostwriter, I might look for opportunities to suggest topics and directions for a CEO. For example, a weekly tribute (written by the CEO) about exceptional performance by an employee could increase morale and productivity. A brief comment written by a CEO directing managers to a particular article can help lead the company in new directions, and certainly a ghostwriter can help find potential topics. An occasional comment by the CEO emphasizing the company position on sexual-harassment policies might avert future lawsuits. And so on.

    Are you a ghostwriter looking for work? I have some other ideas... contact me via e-mail if you like.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Hey mktggal! I'm unsure if it's already been decided that the CEO will have a ghostwriter for the blog, or if you are considering it as a possibility.

    As others have said, the CEO gets to make the rules, but it wouldn't look good to employees that someone else was writing for the CEO, if that wasn't disclosed.

    So if you're going to use a ghostwriter, I would clearly disclose that, and I would encourage the CEO to at least check the posts before they are posted. Often times, the CEO that wants to use a ghostwriter, will be more likely to handle more/all of the writing him or herself, as they become more familiar with the process.

    So make sure you disclose, and everything should be fine.

  • Posted on Accepted
    mktggal- Has the CEO been sending out emails or the like internally that have been written by him/her or is this something new that is being implemented? If they have been communicating with employees and now are going to have a ghostblogger, this can have a negative effect as employees may not take it as seriously.

    Depending upon what the purpose of the internal communication is ghostblogging with disclosure is generally ok as really does anyone ever believe that the CEO wrote the article or email even if they have?
  • Posted by Louise on Accepted
    I think it's highly unlikely that a CEO of a large company would write their own internal blog, apart from the skill required there is a huge time constraint.

    I think a more practical or feasible scenario is; the content is written for him/her based on a discussion/interview/presentation, and published only with his/her agreement.

    Let's face it, few CEOs are answering their own emails.
  • Posted by mktggal on Author
    Thank you all so much for your feedback. It is very helpful stuff to chew on as we move forward. No official decision has been made, as I'm putting together the plan. My guess is there will be some mixing of the executive with those of his "lieutenants."

    I really like the audio Q and A idea. I'm also very interested in doing vlogs, as I have a lengthy video production background. Still, just like the issue of getting an executive time to write a blog, time to record him could be even more challenging. We'll see! Thanks again!

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