7 Tips for the Perfect Byline

pen-paperAs online media and traditional journalism roles continue to evolve, the byline has emerged as one of the most effective ways to share a company’s message – particularly in the B2B technology sphere. Technology writers are inundated with pitches every day, and their newsrooms are often understaffed. Rather than spending extra time pitching, following up, arranging interviews and writing media briefs – only to end up at the bottom of their never-ending pile of story ideas – take the bull by the horns! Pitch and write a byline.

Here are seven tips to ensure your byline makes the top of the homepage.

  1. Pick the right outlet – Where are your client’s potential customers trolling for new ideas? That’s where you should be writing. Look at your client’s customer personas and step into their shoes. Research where they are they going on the web, and what they are reading. Develop a list of potential outlets.
  2. Ask for their guidelines – Most online pubs have a set of guidelines to which your byline must adhere: length, content, headshot, bio etc. Sticking to these guidelines carefully is the first step to success.
  3. Choose a noteworthy topic and take a stance – Keep an eye on your client’s industry for notable trends that seem to be generating buzz. When the right topic comes up, act quickly. Draft three to five bullets about the topic your client would like to write about and send them to the editor.
  4. Watch your tone – Read other articles on the website. What tone do they use? Is it playful like a blog, or more serious like a journal? Match the tone in your piece so it flows seamlessly with the other content on the site.
  5. Get a customer quote/example – Does your client have a customer who can offer some insight into the byline topic? Approach the customer for a quote or real world example to beef up your byline. This will give your byline additional credibility, and it can even start to build a relationship to create a customer case study later on.
  6. Insert messaging… deftly – The best part of a byline is the fact that you get to control your messaging completely. Be sure to insert some of your company’s value proposition, but do it carefully. First and foremost you want your byline to be a thought leadership piece. If it gets too salesy, you’re guaranteed a rejection. Check out this post for more tips on writing about technology.
  7. Link! – Don’t forget about SEO. Be sure you link to your homepage or a landing page on your site at some point during the piece. Just once – don’t overdo it.

What are some of your tips for the perfect byline? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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