You've probably noticed that to a large degree, content keeps magazines and websites in business. To be sure, both need subscribers and readers. Both also need a way to get found, whether online or offline. And of course, both need a revenue model so everyone can get paid. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if we're talking about Cat World, Camping Life, or Construction Claims Monthly, all need content.
And that's where you come in.
You need publicity. You need credibility. And one of the best ways to generate both is to write a bylined article that gets published in a publication read by your market. It doesn't matter if the article is printed on recycled paper or zipped from server to server in tiny data packets. It just needs to be read by the right folks.
Today, I'll explain why you should be writing bylined articles and give you a quick “how to” guide so you can hit the ground running! Fair warning: we're going to move quickly!
What Exactly Is A Byline?
A byline is a short bio. It introduces you as the author of an article and explains why you're qualified to write it. It's usually two or three sentences, and appears at the tail-end of the piece.
For example, suppose you just wrote an article about claims strategies for Construction Claims Monthly. Your byline might say the following:
“Tracy Johnson is a claims strategist who helps clients avoid making costly and time-consuming errors in their contracts. She has more than 15 years experience in construction contracting, and owns Contracts & Claims, Inc.”
If the article appeared offline, your website address would be included. If it appeared online, a link to your site would be placed in the byline.
What A Byline Does For Your Business
Your byline does lots of nifty things for your business. Most importantly, it positions you as a leader in your field. Once people read your article, they realize you know what you're talking about. You gain credibility in their eyes. That makes them more likely to trust you, like you, and hire you – or buy your products.
The byline is also a great publicity tool. While you're building credibility and authority, you're also getting the word out about your company. Moreover, you're doing it in a way that showcases your expertise, not just by telling folks you're an expert. You're proving it! Imagine having bylined articles published in the top five publications read by your audience. That's great publicity.
It also gives you an opportunity to market your skills, knowledge, and products. Your article could introduce a problem that lots of folks deal with, but few talk about. After describing the problem, you could present the solution followed by a byline that highlights your expertise in the matter.
For example, you might write an article explaining how certain types of vague contract language tend to muck up construction claims, resulting in higher costs. Your byline could position you as an expert who goes to great lengths to design contracts that are crystal clear.
Why You Need To Start Writing Bylined Articles
The reason you need to start writing bylined articles is it's a simple method to improve visibility and a lot of your competitors aren't doing it. They're focused on search engine optimization and social media marketing. Few of them realize that a well-placed article in a niche magazine or trade journal can bring in a lot more business than ranking well for a high-traffic keyword. And the folks who do realize it think it's too much work.
That's a great opportunity to swoop in and swipe the low-hanging fruit. In this case, that means competing with fewer people to get your bylined articles placed.
How To Get Started With Your First Bylined Article
1. Identify 5 magazines, newsletters, or trade journals read by your market.
2. Visit their websites and locate their writing guidelines. While you're there, look for the names and contact details of the publications' editors.
3. Send story pitches to the editors. Your pitches, or “queries,” contain the gist of your stories and explain the relevance to that specific publication. If editors like your ideas and have room to run them in their respective pubs, they'll give you the green light.
4. Once you have been given a green light, write your articles and submit them to the editors. Make sure your byline is clear and concise, and positions you in the best possible light. Include a link to your site.
5. Once your articles are published, promote the heck out of them! Post them on your site (check with the editors to make sure this is allowed.) Let folks know about them on Twitter and Facebook. Post images to the published pieces on Pinterest. And add a note to your Google+ account. Write a press release to announce being featured.
You're now a published author. Make the most of it!
This PR strategy is easier than you might imagine. Anyone can do it, which is odd since so few people do. The good news is that that means less competition. By this time next year, you could have several high-quality articles generating publicity, credibility, and sales for your business.
Have you ever written an article for an established publication? If so, tell us about your experience. Was the editor easy to work with? Were you able to leverage your article for extra publicity? Give us your take in the comments section!
Christine O'Kelly is the co-founder of Online PR Media, the press release distribution site that supercharges traditional media press releases with multimedia, social media, and search engine optimization. A recognized expert in SEO press release strategy and distribution, Christine teaches marketers, advertisers, and business owners how to gain more online visibility and publicity for their businesses. For a FREE copy of Christine O'Kelly and Tara Geissinger's e-book, “The Results Driven Press Release Formula,” visit: http://www.onlineprnews.com/how-to-write-a-press-release