Behind a confident politician or an accomplished author oftentimes stands an individual hidden in the shadows, given the name of a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter is a professional copywriter who creates content and then attributes it to someone else.

Face the facts… the public relations profession is full of ghostwriters. We are hired to clearly and accurately represent our clients in the media and in their respective industries. We leverage our clients’ expertise and thinking, utilizing those thoughts and concepts as the strict framework of a particular writing assignment.

Is it ethical?

While we have creative freedom in word choice and overall presentation for our clients, we walk a thin line in ethical considerations. As Voltaire once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” When public relations professionals are given guidance from a client on an assignment – such as a guest article or blog entry – it is how we use that framework that makes the difference.

Many argue undisclosed ghost blogging, tweeting or Facebooking is unethical. However, if a public relations professional does the job right, understanding a client’s organization inside and out, there shouldn’t be a question of whether or not the organization is misleading the public.

Is it fair?

The work of public relations professionals is published all the time, without credit. Yeah, you can post a link to your New York Times video piece on Facebook and show your mom the op-ed piece you helped create for the Dallas Morning News, but it’s not the same as seeing your name beside it in print, right?

Fortunately, it’s not fame or recognition that drives public relations professionals; it’s the positive impact our work has on our clients and their businesses. It’s rewarding to know that we aren’t just copywriters creating content… We are communicators making things happen.

What do you think?

FULL DISCLOSURE: Fellow ghostwriter and colleague, Kara Fordyce,
also contributed to this post.

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