Ghost writing has been around for a long time. Big-time professionals often don’t take the time to produce the content—they may come up with the ideas, proofread and present the content, but they are busy and the mundane tasks of sentence structure and editing are often handed off to someone else.
1. Business Letters
You’ve seen it on Mad Men—company secretaries often respond to clients and other business professionals for their bosses. Some bosses will proofread, while others fully trust their secretary to get it right. The CEO I worked for sometimes wrote his own articles and then had me proofread and edit them, or he would ask for a specific article or letter to be written for him (and then he proofread it before sending).
2. Company PR
Most Public Relations Officers do the PR management for the company. This means writing press releases and preparing high-ranking businessmen for addressing the public. Even though the company head or manager might put their own name on a major announcement, the PR team is behind it and considering the outcome. This form of ghostwriting doesn’t give the PR professionals any credit, even though they are clearly a part of the office team.
3. Presidential Speeches
Did you know that there is a position dedicated to presidential speechwriting? Whether the president needs guidance or a written speech to work with, it’s a longstanding tradition for the president to get help with his public statements. According to a PBS News Hour interview, presidents all the way back to George Washington used speechwriters for aid in their writing, and the first president to use a consistent aide with the speechwriter title was Calvin Coolidge.
Besides the countless company jingles that are written and used without acknowledgement, a lot of popular songs are ghostwritten by someone other than the performing artist. Sometimes popular artists even ghost write songs for other popular artists.
Sometimes a ghost written song is turned down by one artist, only to be made incredibly famous by another. “Umbrella” was passed from Brittany Spears to Rihanna, while “Baby One More Time” was passed on by TLC and picked up by Brittany. Did you know that Whitney Houston picked up her No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 (“How Will I Know”) in 1991 after it was turned down by Janet Jackson?
5. Corporate Blog Posts
Most companies promoting their brand name with a blog use employees or ghostwriters to do the writing. NikeBlog publishes its blog posts with a tag name of Sir Lucas Leftfoot and Urban Outfitters merely assigns a city (rather than an author) to each blog post. The blog posts serve to give the brand a face, not promote specific employees. This is why so many companies choose to outsource their writing assignments to freelance content writers rather than hire a full time employee for that position or heap the writing workload on a busy employee.
Time-Saving Professional Content Services
This is why blog posts, white papers, website content, newsletters and other forms of content are often ghostwritten; a head honcho doesn’t have time to write, rewrite and edit—business leaders need to pass on menial tasks to skilled professionals to keep every part of their business top notch while they are busy running the company.
Alethea M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.