Modern Ghostwriting for the C-Suite Requires Authentic Voices

March 1, 2018

Most PR professionals spend their careers ghostwriting for internal or external clients. We may not think about it that way — we’re simply drafting a memo to employees or writing the president’s message for an annual report.

But the fact is, few executives reach the C-suite because of their writing skills. They get there for other reasons — great ideas, appetite for risk, deep understanding of customers, technical prowess, etc.

As PR professionals, it’s our job to help executives communicate their ideas, plans and priorities in their own voices. Some executives are eloquent writers and inspiring speakers, comfortable with employees and investors alike. But even such gifted communicators can’t possibly create all of the content demanded today. Customers want to know more about the people who lead the companies they patronize. Executives seek to amplify their own voices through “thought leadership.”

Communication tools have exploded in number, but executives remain short on time. Unless we’re willing to give up social media platforms, turn down keynote speaking opportunities or scrap the company blog, demand for executive communication will outstrip their ability to meet it without our help.

But a countervailing force — the desire for authenticity — means we can’t just pump out executive messages written in our own voices. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, CEO credibility fell 12 points from the previous year, to 37 percent. In this low-trust environment, communication from the C-suite must be authentic.

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