What is a Byline?
A byline is a where the writer of an article is credited. In PR, bylines are an opportunity for clients to get organic media exposure through writing a piece in a magazine or newspaper, pulling from their industry experience and building the company’s platform in the process.
How a Byline Works
1. Find an Appropriate Publication
There are an ever-growing amount of publications in the United States, both in-print and online. This means that there are many options for where to place an article -- and get a byline in the process -- but finding the right publication is the trick. If your client is a tech entrepreneur, you don't want to pitch an agriculture journal.
2. Pitch the Article
Once you've targeted your appropriate publication, it's time to pitch the article. Assuming that you don't have an existing relationship with the editor, it's important to nail the "cold pitch." By making the case of your client's expertise and how a piece from them would benefit the publication (and its readership), you greatly increase your chances of landing the pitch.
3. Write the Piece
Finally, the fun (or hard) part. There are a few simple guidelines to ensuring that the draft submitted to the editor is pristine -- as, after all, they will do their polish of it once received. 1) If there are style guidelines, adhere to them. Most publications have their minute preferences on the style of their pieces. 2) Stick to what you know. Maintain the outline presented in the pitch, and make sure that the piece has a point -- and that it is made. 3) Have fun! Let the client write how they naturally would, and, with the above in mind, a great article (and byline) is in the making.
Byline Best Practices
1. Make the Pitch Topical
If there's some news event upcoming, or one that just occurred, and your client's expertise is related to that -- pitch that! Editors want content which is engaging, authoritative, and, most importantly, timely (i.e. "the news").
2. Know Your Audience
What's the publication's readership? If it's metropolitan, bear that in mind. If it's mostly suburban housewives, know this. It'll ensure a solid pitch and even better article.
3. Connect with the Editor
Once the article is completed and becomes a smash hit, keep in touch with the editor! Being able to bypass the "cold pitch" process and contacting the editor directly in the future will be much easier -- and, they'll appreciate when you consistently bring them great articles.