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Jump Scare: Let’s Talk About Ghostwriting

Published on November 1, 2023, 9:04 p.m.
by Ali Burleson.

Ghostwriting is a longstanding practice and can bring both negative and positive reactions from readers. It’s common in the public relations field, and as a PR practitioner, you may not be fully aware of the benefits ghostwriting can bring.

The key to reaping the rewards is maintaining transparency and a keen awareness of the ethical considerations of your audience. Allow me to uncover the layers of the connection between ghostwriting and public relations because it can be a powerful tool in amplifying your client’s message.

Out of sight, out of mind

Photo via Adobe Stock by Andrey Popov

If you’ve never heard of ghostwriting, it is described by Gotham Ghostwriters as “the act of one person writing in the name of another person, group, company, or institution without receiving a byline or public credit.”

Writing behind a mask is a relatively humble career because expert writers rarely receive praise or recognition for their compelling and impactful pieces of written work. The craft is often hidden in the shadows, but ghostwriters have the ability to adapt and convey different voices, styles and tones. The influence these writers carry is undeniably enriching the literary landscape.

Creep it real

As PR practitioners, we often curate press releases, media kits, social media posts and other written materials to effectively communicate our clients’ key messages to consumers and other key publics. With the help of a ghostwriter, clear and compelling writing can further enhance strategies in successful events, product-launching campaigns and so much more.

Some of your favorite literary pieces could have been written by a ghostwriter, and you wouldn’t have known otherwise. Notable

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celebrities, such as Michelle Obama, O.J. Simpson and more, have been transparent with readers, acknowledging the fact “ghosts” contributed to the memoirs published.

However, not everyone is forthcoming about ghostwriters who aid in creating written works for them. In a 1999 lawsuit brought by Scholastic Corp., it was up for debate if the renowned author R.L. Stine employed ghostwriters to write “Goosebumps,” which is a series comprised of 160 books. Stine denied using a second-party writer for any of the books in the series, but the case shook the literary world.

A collaboration with ghostwriters should adhere to laws and regulations, encompassing copyright, intellectual property rights and contractual commitments. Furthermore, consumers analyze the messages they receive. Mistrust can hinder credibility and lead to the downfall of an organization or company.

To avoid unethical implications, a client should consent to the use of ghostwriters. Neither the client nor the consumer should be led to believe that the attributed practitioner crafted the content.

Let’s give ’em pumpkin to talk about

As practitioners, we often have our irons in a few different fires because we are multifaceted. Employing ghostwriters can be time efficient when we need to focus on many other aspects like media relations or strategic planning. These writers do more than put the pen on the paper; they are captivators. They know how to entice your audience while maintaining a consistent message that encompasses the voice of your brand.

Photo via Adobe Stock by VadimGuzhva

“Too often, writing is assigned to a junior staffer or intern, or rushed through because your PR and marketing staff is juggling too many different duties, with writing seeming to be the lowest priority,” Jones PR said. “But when you use great writers … you can ensure that the resulting articles not only meet [our] five criteria for quality content, but also fit your brand and the voice of the named author.”

A collaboration between ghostwriters and PR practitioners can bring efficiency, quality content curation and success. Don’t be scared, give it a try!

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