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Four Tips to Ensure Your Bylined Article Gets Published

Newspaper headlines shown side on in a stack of daily newspapers

Submitting bylined articles to print and online publications can be a highly effective communications strategy, particularly for small or emerging companies that otherwise would receive limited press attention. But it only works if the article gets published. Too many companies spin their wheels drafting post after post, only to be rejected by editor.

Why? Most likely, it’s because the content isn’t up to par. While press outlets aggressively seek out industry voices to weigh in on the issues of the day, that doesn’t mean they’re desperate for anything with a CEO byline. Here are a few thoughts on how to make sure your article passes muster next time.

It’s Not About You

When you’re attempting to publish a guest post in a blog or print outlet, you need to focus on an issue that the entire industry faces. This can be a problem you see in the market based on your perspective as a company operating in the space (preferably one your product/service/whatever solves), criticism or praise of a news item or industry development, or analysis. Ultimately, your goal should be to provide context that is both informative and that puts your company in the best light. But resist the urge to discuss your product, or it’ll set off alarm bells with any editor considering the piece.  The last thing people want to print is corporate shilling under their banner of journalism.

Be an Authority & Advocate

You spend every day navigating the landscape of your market, trying to make your product the best solution to whatever problem exists out there. You analyze, you research, and you learn hard lessons. So write about that. A guest piece should establish you as an authority on the topic that your company is involved with. Cite the stats that you follow and inform your decisions. Even better, if yours is the kind of company that collects data and metrics that can be applied to further inform this topic, cite those stats as well. Doing so serves two important purposes.

First, it establishes you and your company as a good source for journalists looking for insight and analysis on the topic in question (both those working for the outlet you’re submitting your piece to, and those who will read it). Fostering this kind of relationship with the press will pay dividends when the time comes to release company news. Second, it allows you to influence the conversation about your industry in a way that casts your strategy in the best light.

Relevancy is Everything

Retail may be all about location, location, location. But in the world of press, it’s timing, timing, timing. Whether you’re proactively writing a post that socializes a point of view, or reacting to a story that impacts your company or industry, you need to be newsworthy. Generally, you’ve got about seven days to remain relevant before a storyline becomes stale and the window of opportunity closes. A proactive strategy would be to wait for a timely event, like an anniversary, a milestone, or a key date (such as holiday, new year, etc.). A reactive strategy is to quickly respond to a news item, either something written about your company directly, or one about a partner or other company in your space whose decisions affect you. Both are valid strategies, so long as the timing is right.

Hire a Pro

No, I’m not breaking my first rule above about not talking about yourself or your product. I’m saying don’t leave the writing to someone who either a) can’t write, or b) doesn’t fully understand the issues involved. If you have a PR firm, make sure they outsource these kinds of things to freelance journalists or have an in-house writer on the account. If your communications is done in-house, find an outsider who can bring a fresh perspective to the piece. You need someone writing this that has the reader in mind first, not your company mission. That’s critical, because you can’t have someone who drinks the Kool Aid drafting these or the editors you send it to will see right through it.

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  • Four Tips to Ensure Your Bylined Article Gets Published
    Four Tips to Ensure Your Bylined Article Gets Published
    Submitting bylined articles to print and online publications can be a highly effective communications strategy, particularly for small or emerging companies that otherwise would receive limited press attention. But it only works if the article gets published. Too many companies spin their...
    Read more

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