In January we mentioned widening the breadth of your public relations strategy by creating media materials beyond the press release. One of the Skogrand PR Solutions recommendations was to use bylined articles to increase media coverage. Additionally, the use of thought leadership is a growing trend for public relations, becoming an integral part of strategy.
Thought leadership involves experts tapping into their talents to generate a conversation about a problem on the minds of their target audience. Outlets often feature articles written by experts to add a skilled perspective on industry issues. These articles written by industry experts help establish credibility with a large audience and can draw awareness to your business.
So how do you go about generating thought leadership?
Find your target publication
Start by determining whom you are trying to reach. If you are interested in reaching a general audience, try searching local outlets. If you are looking for an specific industry audience, try searching for more niche publications. It’s very important to consider your audience when selecting publications.
Next, do research on each potential outlet you find:
- Do they accept bylined articles?
- How have they used bylined articles before?
- Do they fit your needs?
- Whom is the appropriate contact to reach out to?
Send your pitch email/call
Craft a small elevator speech on your qualifications and ask if there are any opportunities to write a bylined article for that outlet. Send your pitch to the editor via email or call him/her over the phone. When speaking with the editor, ask about potential opportunities, policies and guidelines (e.g. word count, exclusivity) required by the publication.
Begin to write
Once you secure your placement, pick a topic that is relevant to the industry. Sometimes editors may request you to write on a specific topic but if not, try writing about a current issue or trend in the industry. Offer your perspective and suggestions regarding the issue. At this time it is OK to mention how your expertise could help someone in this situation but it’s important not to overpromote.
Typically, bylined articles are written after connection with the editor is made. However, if you are familiar with the outlet and the bylined guidelines it is OK to pitch the editor on a pre-written article. Skogrand PR Solutions client Jim Zuehlke of Cardinal Board Services took the pre-written approach with his Business Forum piece on risk in the Star Tribune’s Business section.
Promote your piece
After your bylined article runs, feel free to promote it with your network. Buy reprints, embed the published article on your website and promote it on LinkedIn.