As public relations professionals, there are a number of different tactics at our disposal to help a client or company tell their story.
You can pitch a story to the media.
You can create a content marketing strategy.
Or, you can use one of my favorite tactics, which is write and pitch a bylined article to a publication of your choosing.
So you might be wondering: what is a bylined article?
Simply put, it’s an article, written by a thought leader, that usually carries with it the point-of-view of the executive who is writing the piece.
There are a number of different purposes it serves, but the main purpose is to position him or her as someone with an opinion who desires to put it out into the world.
From a PR perspective, it’s the best thing ever because, well, I won’t spoil it. Read on to see why bylined articles rock.
You Own It
It’s the worst-kept secret in public relations that the executive doesn’t actually write the piece. The PR person might incorporate common phrases the executive uses to ensure the piece retains the right “voice”, but aside from reviewing and approving, the head honcho has more important matters to attend to.
This means we can incorporate key messaging and soundbites to ensure the copy says exactly what we want it to say, without worrying about how a journalist might interpret the information given to them when they interview an executive.
It’s Good Practice
If you’ve spent time creating messaging to use on behalf of a company or an executive, a bylined article is a great place to practice incorporating the messaging into copy without it sounding forced.
Over time, you will become more adept at writing in the voice of the executive, which comes in handy writing quotes for press releases or media statements.
People Will Read It
According to the 2016 Mequoda Digital Magazine Marketing Study & Handbook, more than one-third of U.S. adults still read at least one digital magazine per month, which is a fairly significant number.
And if you’ve ever signed up for an account on a trade-specific industry website, you’ve probably received the hard copy of their monthly magazine in the mail, free of charge.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I still read those when they get sent to my house. If I read something particularly interesting, I remember who wrote it.
Puts The Company’s Name in Circulation
If your company is just beginning to tell its story, pitching a bylined article in an industry-specific outlet is a great way to get the company name out there.
And, editors love fresh voices with new viewpoints. If you can offer that, your chances of editorial success go up.
In public relations, one of the challenges we always face is setting proper expectations with the client.
You can go into an interview with a firm grasp of the direction it will take, but you never know the final outcome until the story runs.
With a bylined article, the final piece you submit is usually the way it looks in print.
If you can capitalize on this tactic, not only will you show your client you can tell their story properly, but you can use that content to populate other aspects of your marketing bundle, but that’s a post for another day.