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Byline Or Ghost Writer? Which Is Best For The Site?


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#1 AbleReach

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 09:05 PM

I'm working on three sites that are associated with braille. Two are my mom's, one is a joint project that is mostly my baby.

The site I'm writing about today is a new one that is focused on my mom's braille transcription business. I've been working with her to create a content development strategy for her sites. I want to see some action in the braille transcription site's blog once a week, starting tomorrow. We already have drafts of enough content to get us through the first couple months on that site.

I'd counted on posting as "Perkins the Braille Dog" or as a ghost-writer for my mom. I hadn't considered posting as myself.

My mom offered me a byline, which is very sweet but gives me pause. I like to think I'm pretty good at getting her talking about user needs and her concerns, then taking that information and turning it into components of a web presence. I'm not convinced that giving me a byline would be good for the transcription site, because, though I have topically relevant opinions, ideas and enough information to be (hopefully!) interesting to her niche, I am by no stretch of the imagination braille literate. On the other hand, I'm notorious for sitting on the sidelines and thinking "Who? L'il 'ol me?

What do you think?

#2 copywriter

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 06:26 AM

I wouldn't consider it from a personal standpoint. I'd look at it from a business perspective. Will you benefit in essentially branding yourself as part of your mom's site? If so, take the byline. If not, ghostwrite for your mom and put her as the author.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 06:52 AM

Have you thought about coauthors?

#4 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 12:56 PM

I use pseudonyms on some blogs just to help me distinguish between the voices of my different article styles. Nom de plumes have a long and glorious history. Do what you think is best for the content. You can either be a writer-of-many-topics or you can out yourself later at an appropriate time.

#5 AbleReach

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 05:38 PM

A genuineness for the site's branding is more important than branding myself. Projects for family who are clients may come from an "emotional bank and trust" relationship, but they're still client projects.

I went ahead and used my own name in today's post, because the post is mostly about an area of expertise that is natural for "Elizabeth Able." I think it's going to be a case-by-case thing.

EGOL, what do you mean by co-authors? How would that be different than ghost writing? For posts written by both of us that don't come from an "I" voice, maybe we need an "author" that is the same as the name of the business.

#6 jonbey

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 05:40 PM

Yeah, why restrict it to one or the other. Different people for different needs.

#7 tam

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 08:20 PM

This is kinda morbid, so I apologise in advance, but I'd recommend against writing from a pets point of view. I've seen far to many blogs do that and then have to deal with the death of the pet. If the blog or site belongs to the pet you are left in the position of how do you continue without them. There just isn't a neat way of doing it and several unsettling options - it's cute getting a newsletter written by a dog, it's a little bit disturbing when they announce their own passing but continue to send them (yes that really happened).

I guess on who to be when writing, I would think about what your answer will be when a customer or potential customer is chatting and asks about the person on the blog. If you write under Jo Blogs, are you comfortable explaining that actually that person doesn't exist they are just made up. If someone asks your mum about a post you ghost wrote will she be comfortable pretending it was her.

I don't know what your own related project is about, but would it harm you to be associated with your mums business or for her to have you as a 'guest' poster? I don't think it matters that you don't read braille as long as you don't pretend that you do in the posts.

#8 EGOL

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 09:37 PM

EGOL, what do you mean by co-authors? How would that be different than ghost writing? For posts written by both of us that don't come from an "I" voice, maybe we need an "author" that is the same as the name of the business.

Co-authors would be two people signing as authors of a single article. Lots of published documents have multiple authors.

hmmm..... the "I" voice....

.... you could search the thousands of pages on my sites and not find more than a couple personal pronouns.

#9 AbleReach

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 10:06 PM

Tam, Perkins the dog is an older gentleman, on his last legs already. "Perkins" the mascot will be around for a long, long time. No worries there. :)

#10 JPRoss

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 10:27 AM

I write under several names depending on the content. I like having a coupe ghost personalities :)

#11 Doc Sheldon

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:25 AM

The one aspect I don't see anyone raise is that of credibility for your Mom's site. Presumably, she is known, and has her own credibility within the niche. So a byline with her name might carry a bit more weight with her readers. Perhaps you are also well known in that niche, I don't know. If not, however, it's something to consider.

If credibility isn't a real concern, then I tend to lean toward Michael's notion of a handful of pen-names. It gives you an opportunity to employ different styles, while also leaving readers with the impression of a more robust contributor network.



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