Don’t Just Rely on Advertising — Educate with Bylined Articles
Bylined article contributions are one of the quickest ways to establish your company or organization as an industry thought leader. Without a word of advertising, they showcase your intellectual wealth. Best of all, the third-party clout of media exposure ups the ante on credibility and industry leadership. How can you climb on board? Follow these few simple steps to unleash the power of bylined contributions:
1. Understand the format basics
Approximately 800 to 1,200 words in length, bylined articles usually appear in trade publications or industry blogs. Articles “by” a specific author should never be sales-oriented or self-promoting. Instead, they focus on topics of high interest to the publication’s readers from a vendor-neutral perspective. The goal of a bylined article is to inform, educate, tackle hot issues, or solve problems. Journalistic in nature, they help position your employees as industry experts, while avoiding the negative responses consumers may have to advertising.
2. Identify expert voices within your organization
You have the talent in your company: executives, managers, and other leaders who have specialized talent and impressive experience and are respected in the industry. Bylined articles are the perfect format to build their thought leadership profile. They get the byline — the article is attributed to them. Unless they have in-house writers, most companies and organizations prefer to focus on running their business and hire ghostwriters who transform notes, outlines, and reference material into the readable, polished prose that editors love to receive. The professional writer receives no credit, of course.
3. Choose topics that dovetail with your expertise
Although editors are put off by contributions that read like advertisements, they appreciate relevant pitches and pitch-perfect copy. Select topics that appeal to your target audience: focus on what you do best and draw on your expertise. You probably have more than one potential target audience, so figure out which you’re writing for. Then answer the burning questions: What does this audience care about? What do they need? What problems do they face? Can we help them become more successful?
Make sure the topic is relevant, timely, holds widespread interest, and is written in a style that keeps the reader engaged. In a very real way, bylined articles appeal to their readers’ intelligence on a level that “push” advertising could never do. If readers find your article compelling and helpful, they will easily connect the dots between the content, the author, and your company.
4. Start with an interview
Once the perfect topic has been identified, the writing process usually begins with a writer interviewing the in-house thought leader. In addition to recording the expert’s ideas, the writer observes the person’s tone and personality and studies written documents to get a sense of the person’s writing style. The writer also gathers facts, statistics, data and that support the expert’s views. The writer then develops the materials into a powerful, well-organized article that shares the expert’s thoughts and insights on the topic with readers.
5. Write with a professional touch
Editors of trade publications and blogs crave articles that address hot topics or their readers’ other concerns. They also want articles that are journalistic and objective and don’t read like an academic paper. A well-crafted bylined article must be clear, thoughtful, and engaging. Yes, some experts can produce professional-grade articles, but they often don’t have the time to write an article themselves. That’s why most by-lined articles are professionally written.
6. Make them part of your overall content-marketing strategy
Bylined articles help build your brand because they work well with other content marketing formats. You’re probably already using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to increase your audience. Use these platforms to promote and distribute bylined articles. Not only will you increase the audience for bylined articles, you will also keep your feeds updated with fresh, relevant posts.
A bylined article can also form the basis for longer, more in-depth content pieces: white papers and e-books. White papers (10 to 40 pages) and e-books (6 to 12 pages) cover sophisticated issues, offering clear-cut solutions to common problems that your customers face. To learn how to reach your customers through a great bylined article, sign up to gain access to our free platform and get a free custom quote, no obligation.