Ethical Quandary: Assistant, Blogging, and Logins

I’m wondering how to handle a tricky aspect of working with an assistant.

Hi, all. Sorry I haven’t been blogging here much lately, but I’ve been slammed trying to keep my head above water with my client projects. I’m working on a strategy to lighten my stress level (and reduce the near-constant sensation of being pecked to death by ducks) by considering hiring an assistant.

OK, assistants (virtual and otherwise), PLEASE don’t consider this an opening to pitch yourself in my comments! I need to think through some issues first, and here’s a biggie:

Posting to blogs takes an inordinate amount of my time — not writing the post, generally, but simply making the post — logging into a client blog’s back-end system and dealing with its formatting and other idiosyncrasies to make the post go live. This is especially time-consuming for one client’s blog, which relies on an entirely custom-made, clunky, and bug-ridden content management system.

One thing I’d like an assistant to do for me would be to take the post that I’ve completed and edited, along with illustration (if any), log in to the client’s back-end, and actually post the entry — and preview it to check it before it goes live.

I’m about the ethical and logistical issues. Here are the questions I’m pondering:

  • Should I get the client’s permission beforehand before giving my assistant access to the blog back-end?
  • Should I ask the client to set up a separate login for my assistant, or just give my assistant access to my login for the blog?
  • What questions or concerns are the blog owners likely to have about this, and how might I address them constructively?

I’d love to hear thoughts on this — especially from anyone who has outsourced blog posting (rather than writing). I’d especially love tips for training, oversight, expectations, etc. Please comment below!

5 thoughts on Ethical Quandary: Assistant, Blogging, and Logins

  1. In a previous job situation, I was kind of what you are describing as an assistant. Instead of blogs, it was the sending out or management of email campaigns for clients. The way we handled it was that we sent an email to the client (to the person we normally communicated with, not the ceo or admin or whomever) and said, “here is amy, who is helping me with a lot of the work we do here, including some of the work on your projects. she will be managing some of the email campaign work as well. so, she will have access to *insert platform or tool* and will also serve as another contact if you have questions or need help.” so it was presented as a win win, i have access but am helping them and they now have two people to contact when they need something.

    Good luck!

  2. I would like to contribute to your conversation by sharing my thoughts about your concerns.
    * Should I get the client’s permission beforehand before giving my assistant access to the blog back-end?
    Yes. In my experience when people work on a team for a client, the client is told who is on the team, how to contact them and any other pertinent information. Full disclosure is in line with “it is better to be safe than sorry.”

    * Should I ask the client to set up a separate login for my assistant, or just give my assistant access to my login for the blog?
    This depends on your comfort level. After you obtain your client’s permission to have your assistant help with this project, inquire as to their preference for logging in.

    * What questions or concerns are the blog owners likely to have about this, and how might I address them constructively?
    Blog owners want to know their blog will remain consistent, updated according to their expectations and the process will remain seamless and in the background for them.
    Assure them you will be thorough in your search for an assistant. Assure them you will be responsible for managing an assistant. In other words, you are your clients point of contact. You will disseminate information, assignments and establish deadlines for your assistant. Your client will remain your priority.

    Assistants are team members who contribute positively to the project.

  3. All you really need to do is to specify in client contracts that you and your staff will have access to and work on their accounts.
    If the client can easily set up a second login for your company, it would be useful to have a separate login for the assistant – that way you could see who did what, when, if necessary. But if your assistant is someone you know does a good job and you aren’t a micromanager, there would probably never be a need to see who was the last one to “touch” a page.

    Just be sure that YOU have access to all passwords for assistants, so you could change them if you ever had to let an assistant go.

  4. I would ditto what Janet suggests re: contracts and Amy’s suggestions re: emailing to advise that someone will be helping.

    Best of luck!

  5. Thanks for the advice all, especially Janet. I’ll be talking to my client tomorrow, I’ll mention it then. But this will definitely be a thing to keep in mind with future client contracts!

    – Amy Gahran

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