By Sophia Moriarty
Writing a bylined article can seem like a daunting task but it’s a crucial aspect of building your author reputation as an expert in your field and increasing exposure to new audiences. It’s also an extremely useful exercise as it gives you the opportunity to apply your expertise to new and timely subjects. Some authors have even been inspired to write a whole book stemming from one successful article!
Here are some key tips to keep in mind as you begin writing bylined articles.
- Read other articles from your target outlets. This will give you a sense of the type of topics they cover, the tone of writing they prefer, and who their readers are. It can also help you think of ideas for your own article. Make sure you’re reading articles from the section you’re looking to get published in.
- Listen to what the editors want. If an outlet’s submission guidelines specify that they’re looking for “600-800 word articles written in a conversational tone,” do NOT submit a 3,000-word research paper, as it would not be the fit for this particular outlet. Submission guidelines exist for a reason. The editors know what their readers respond to and that’s why they ask for certain content. Submitting an article outside of the given guidelines result in a rejection, and may make future submissions difficult.
- Make sure the article you’re writing is (somewhat) unique. While it’s true that there is nothing new under the sun, you’ll want to do a little bit of Googling to make sure the article topic you’ve chosen hasn’t been written about 20 times in the past month. If it has, chances are the editors will know that and won’t want to publish it.
- Choose a topic that is both timely and relevant to your background and expertise. If you or your publicist has already gotten a specific topic request from an editor, that’s great! Your only job now is to make sure you deliver content on that topic. If the topic hasn’t been selected by an editor, it’s important to choose a topic that is timely – it’s something people are or will be talking about soon – it’s relevant to an upcoming holiday/season/event, or it predicts trends or provides a unique take on a current trend. You’ll also want the topic to be relevant to your expertise as credibility and credentials are paramount. Editors want to publish content from experts, so the more closely the topic matches your expertise, the better.
- Yes, you can use ideas from your book. Before you go through the painstaking process of coming up with an article topic out of thin air, use your book as a starting point. Think of how you might take some of the main concepts from the book and apply them to a relevant and timely issue.
- Don’t make the article self-promotional. Writing an article is an opportunity to provide valuable content that will increase your exposure and help solidify you as an expert in your field. It’s not a vehicle to plug your book, your company, or your latest project. The editor will publish a byline along with the article that usually includes a short bio with a link to your website (or other site of your choosing). But the article itself shouldn’t be promotional in nature.
Crafted thoughtfully and strategically, a well-written bylined article can be an excellent tool for getting your name, expertise, and book in front of an audience that might have otherwise not seen your work, ultimately leading to a stronger brand, bigger following, and well-rounded book marketing plan!
6 Tips for Crafting a Strong Bylined Article