AskPat 720 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 720 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
Now here's today's question from Travis.
Travis: Hey, Pat. How's it going? My name is Travis. I have a question about ghost writing versus guest writing. I am noticing on your blog that you have by Pat Flynn and all of your articles. I was wondering if you have a ghost writer who writes them, and you just pass them ideas and if that is one ethical way to go about it. If an idea originates from you, is it okay to pass it off to a ghostwriter and still maintain that relationship and transparency with your audience? That also leads to my next question about guest writing. If you have a very personal relationship website where people relate to you versus just the information, if you bring in contributors and guest writers, is that going to affect how people view the content that's being written? Now I know on a lot of informational sites that mostly function as magazines and don't really have relationships, they have contributors and writers all over the place.
I was wondering how that relates to personal relationship sites where you are an expertise in something, and people read your content because they follow you versus wanting information that they could get by a simple Google search, and just pulling up a magazine site, and how to incorporate ghostwriting ethically and how to incorporate guest writing and still maintain that relationship. That's my question. Thank you so much for everything you do, Pat. Bye.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Travis. Thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it. I love where this is coming from because you always want to maintain that level of trust and authenticity with your audience. We'll get to guest posting, guest writing in just a moment, but let's talk about ghost writing first, having somebody else write stuff for you. I think there's a lot of advantages to that. However, you want to make sure it's done in a very authentic way. You always really have to listen to yourself because there's a line there. For many people that line is I could just have somebody write it for me. I don't even have to do any guidance or nothing. I can still have it under my brand because I'm going to approve it. As long as you have somebody approve it, I feel that that's the first level of authenticity. You don't want somebody to come on your own site and pretend to be you without you even knowing what they're saying. I think that goes without saying.
Now I believe that it is okay, because I actually do this, to have somebody help you write the content, but you have to not only approve it but guide them on what it is to write and hopefully have them be able to capture your voice. Every couple of months I have a post written by somebody on my team. However, it is dictated first by me. That dictation is then transferred over into written content, written form because dictation is very hard to get into your written form. They are completely different in terms of how they are both read. The transcripts for those dictations are sent over to my team member. That person then takes it and then turns it into something that is more easily readable on the blog. It still is posted under my name because it is absolutely my topic, my content. It's proofread and edited in a different way, but that's similar to how when I write a blog post I send it over to an editor who then edits it, updates it, makes it sound proper, and then we post it as me too.
You hear about these celebrities who come out with books that they say they've written when most of us know that they were ghost written and written by somebody else. How do they even have the time to do that? Again, it's totally up to you. I think if you at least always maintain a level of authenticity with your audience and don't pretend to be somebody that you're not, then you're always going to be doing okay. The ghost writing does come at an advantage though because you're able to get more done in a shorter period of time. I think that that's the most important thing to realize, that there are pros and cons to all of these things. As long as they're done in the right way with the right heart in it, and you're always approaching it in the right way, then you really have nothing to worry about.
I think where it can get sticky is if you say and you promise to people, “I totally wrote this myself, completely on my own,” when it wasn't really you that did that. If anybody asks me on any particular post, “Hey, Pat, did you write this yourself?” I'll either say, “Yes,” because most of them I do, or I'll say, “I actually had some help from a ghost writer who took some of my concepts in an audio file where I was dictating these things and actually turned it into something that was more easily readable on the site.” You think about it, celebrities. A lot of celebrities “write” books. They say they write these books when we all know that most of them actually have ghost writers.
For me, I was very happy that my first book I wrote completely on my own, no ghost writing at all although obviously I had an editor, actually multiple editors and proofreaders to help me turn it into something that was as error-free as possible and made sense for everybody. The next book, I'm considering using a ghost writer but in a similar way that I do with my blog where I'm dictating things, and then having somebody take those transcripts and turning them into something that's written which I did on my own on the first one. I actually started with an audio file too to create my first draft of my book, but it was very difficult to get from audio to written format. That took several months and a lot of stressful days and early mornings to make that happen. It did happen. I got through it, but in order to save time I think I might utilize the expertise of somebody else who can do that for me. We'll see. I don't know.
Now in terms of guest writing or guest posting, if you have a personal site where you're building this one-to-one relationship with your audience, it's totally okay in my opinion to have other people come on your site and write guest posts, sharing their own expertise, their own experiences as long as you approve and read those things ahead of time, so that your audience can still benefit from them even though they're not your writing, they're somebody else coming onto your site. Then that's okay. Where you can get into trouble is if maybe you have a relationship with somebody else, and they're like, “Can I write a guest post?” You're like, “Totally, I'll post it.” Then they share something with you. It may not be so good, but you post it any way because they're your friend. That happens a lot in the blogosphere.
You really want to make sure that any content that's posted on your site, your stuff or somebody else who's coming on a guest, you want to make sure it's top-notch and always going to be helpful. If they're coming onto your site you want them to talk about something that perhaps you can't speak on your own. That way you're endorsing this person and saying, “Hey, this person has a great story to share that fits along the lines of the lessons that I'm teaching you here, but they have a different angle, or a different perspective or an insider view of whatever it is that you talk about and teach.”
One thing you can do when you publish their blog posts or written content on your site is to always start with a paragraph that comes from you. This is something you'll see on Smart Passive Income, with every single guest blog post, is before that person's voice comes in in the blog, I will first do an introduction on certain concepts or ideas that's going to be spoken about in the blog post and then introduce that person and talk about my relationship with that person. It warms them up to the audience, the readers first before getting right into it. That's how I feel that you can still create that personal touch just like you would with a friend in real life. Hey, I have this other friend, and here's who they are. This is how I know them, and then they start talking. That's what it is in the blogosphere, and that's how you can approach it in a way where it can still feel personal, still feel like it's from you, but it's coming from somebody else who happens to have the floor for a little bit.
Travis, I hope that's helpful. Thank you so much for the question. I want to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com, and you can ask right there on that page. Hit the record button. Be happy to listen and try and feature your question here on the show. We get a ton of questions every single day, so we can't feature all of them, unfortunately. Hey, maybe yours will get featured, and you'll get a t-shirt just like Travis does today.
Thank you so much, I appreciate you, and here's a quote to finish off the day by Zig Ziglar. He says, “Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give them yours.”
I'm smiling right now. If you aren't, hopefully you are now too. Thanks. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.