The wide acceptance and use of byline or contributed articles continues to grow thanks to the vast amount of content online outlets need and still shrinking news staffs. Almost all online outlets accept some form of written thought leadership and PR professionals that don’t take advantage of this opportunity are missing the chance to demonstrate their company’s expertise and position on marketplace issues.
While some dismiss much of what is ghostwritten by PR professionals (thanks to a few bad apples – every profession has them), I wanted to offer our own byline best practices.
1) Always start with a thought-provoking premise. Ideas that are counter to traditional opinion or practice are valued.
2) Stay away from direct or even lightly veiled sales pitches. Media outlets – and the people who follow their content – appreciate some “how to” advice (especially in the industry trade media), but make sure it offers some commentary on why things should be done one way over another.
3) Don’t regurgitate PowerPoints. Bylines need to include unique market perspectives—not just the marketing talking points.
4) Try to extend thought leadership opinions beyond your niche market. While execs are likely to have a lot of thoughts about their own market, stretch your expertise to complementary topics so the guidance doesn’t appear so one-dimensional.