Bylined articles (or, even better, a regular column) in well-known target media sites are an attractive PR tactic for many businesspeople, and for good reason:
- Bylined articles help grow your personal brand
- It assists in growing awareness of your business and services
- It helps position you as an ‘expert’ on the topics you write about
- Linked back to your website, they can increase the Google ranking of your site
- They help cement your credibility and that of your business
- They help back up your credentials and impress customers – many businesses add published stories to their websites and marketing collateral
- It can often be the first step towards regular speaking engagements or your own book!
Are bylined articles for me?
Article contributions are not for everyone. You do need to enjoy writing, have a flair for it, and have a strong opinion on a topical issue in your industry. You also need to ensure you have the time to write them. Yes, you can get your PR agency to edit them, but the content and opinion needs to come from you, as the media are often interested in knowledge-driven, opinion-driven pieces by qualified individuals. Don’t expect the media to pay for an article – paid articles are usually reserved for high-profile people whose presence in the media helps lift the media profile too and attracts eyeballs.
Which media outlets to target
Your PR agency should target the media outlets whose readership matches your own target audience. For your own benefit, the media should also be open to listing a brief author’s bio and website link alongside his/her name. And know the media outlet: your articles will need to match its focus, tone and style.
What to write about
Think about why you want a published article in the first place. If it’s to generate leads, it might be a good idea to share strategies and tactics – linked directly to your customer benefits – about your goods/services. Perhaps add your own case study example at the end, showing how you did it. It might sound like you are giving away too much, but this kind of free prescriptive information (ie, value to readers) is what the media is looking for if they are to give you editorial space.
If the purpose of the article is to grow your profile as a leading expert in your field, then focus on thought leadership articles. Know the topical issues that are being reported on in your industry – and stick to issues within your industry. The media won’t consider you qualified to speak about an issue that you don’t specialise in through your work or business. To get interest and cut through, have a well-qualified point of view that is a bit different from the mainstream.
Whichever type of article you go for, it’s important that you don’t blatantly promote your business in it. It’s not an ad, and many editors will reject an article that is promotional. Your brand is promoted through the bio and web URL – and perhaps your photo – that runs after your article. It’s a worthwhile tactic for your PR agency to include in their program for your company.
The Ideas Suite is a Sydney PR agency that has tried, tested and honed media strategies for a range of brands for 10 years. We have a deep understanding of the angles, themes, topics and types of spokespeople that get cut through in the media. Talk to us about securing a good media presence for your company.