Last week on Kevin O'Keefe's Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin posted two separate posts on the issue of ghostwriting and lawyer blogs. The first: Are ghostwritten lawyer blogs unethical? explores the issue of whether lawyers who allow others to write blog posts under the lawyer's name violates the lawyer's ethical rules and responsibilities. It generated a number of comments.
That post was followed by another, "Why ghost blogging for lawyers is misguided," in which Kevin opines that
[G]hostwriting shows a lack of understanding of what blogging is all about and is not going to bring you the business development success you're after.
Rather than using a ghostwriter, Kevin gives a number of suggestions for alternative ways to make blogging work for your firm.
I've written about the issue of ghostwriting and legal blogs in the past, in my post, "Should you use a ghostwriter for your blog" and more recently on the Lawyerist blog: "Outsourcing Blogs and Social Media". In general, I'm not a fan of using a ghostwriter or oursourcing your social media and blogging activities. It's like asking someone else to go out and build relationships for you.
Can you use other experts to help you create an active and engaged blog? Sure. Last week's post on this blog was a guest post by Loretta Ruppert from LexisNexis. And you can certainly have others do basic research, provide ideas, and possibly even give you bullet points or a first draft of some blog posts. Experts may be able to provide you with suggestions of other blogs to follow or link to. But to be the most effective, (and the most ethical), a blog post with your name on it should be written by you, in your voice, and you should be the one engaging with your readers. And the same goes for social media.
If you do decide to allow someone else to engage in these activities in your name, the best bet is a disclaimer with full disclosure.
(To read another perspective on ghostblogging, see Jay Fleischman's post on Legal Practice Pro on Law Firm Blogs and Ghostblogging.)