by Sandra Poirier-Diaz
If your goal is to sell books or attract new business, then bylined articles are a great way to reach your target audiences with a controlled message showcasing your expertise.
First, what is a bylined article? It is an article, written by you, and is published in a magazine, newspaper or online outlet. Full credit is given to you as the author, along with a nice blurb about you, your book and your business (if applicable).
Placement of your article gives you credibility, continues to establish you as a leader and expert in your field, differentiates you from your competitors and opens new opportunities for you. These may include opportunities for regular article submissions, expert commentary, consulting projects, speaking engagements and invitations from publishers for your next book. All of these have happened for our clients, including an author who shared he received more than $500,000 in new business as a direct result of just a few months of media exposure.
Once you have written the article, you (or your publicist) pitch it to targeted media for placement. Often your photo or even book cover may accompany the article.
Here are some tips for writing a bylined article to increase the chance for placement and attracting readers:
1. Pick a topic with valuable information for your audience. The article cannot be about how great you are or how wonderful your book is. Although that might be the case, you need to select a topic related to your book and expertise that will inform, educate, or inspire readers. The goal is to give readers insight to your thoughts, ideas, and advice and to entice them to learn more about you, your company (if applicable), and to buy your book.
Here are examples:
Business relationship author wrote an article on tips to remember people’s names, target was general business audiences,
Author with a specialized target audience wrote an article on the Tax Benefits of Oil Investments
A successful woman CEO and author wrote an article: Women You’re Unique. You Lead Differently from Men, and that’s a Good Thing—Especially in the World of Business!
2. Include lessons learned/case studies. Showcase your expertise by including case studies where there was a real life challenge and how your advice resulted in a positive solution. Readers will learn from the lesson and you will shine as an authority. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at the chapters in your book and isolate one point to write about. Again, the goal is to entice people to learn more about you.
3. Know your media outlet. If you have a particular magazine, blog or online site in mind, read the type and style of bylined articles they publish. If your relationship self-help book can be useful to teens, women and newly divorced women, write an article specific to one audience. Don’t make it generic. If your entrepreneurial book can be of use to specific industries, write an article just for them—the family business, a graphic designer, a financial planner, etc.
4. Choosing the right article headline. Again, look through your favorite magazine or online sites for article headlines that grab your attention. Use active, not passive words. Highlight benefits, not features.
Examples of weak and strong headlines:
Fabulous Diet Tip that Makes a Difference!
or better ....
5 Ways to Visibly Reduce Body Fat in 30 Days
Use Back Up Storage Drive With 1TB of Memory
or better ...
Never Lose Another Computer File Again
Investing Your Money For the Future
or better ...
10 Tips to Save NOW for Your Toddler’s College Education
5. Know the length of an article. A good rule of thumb for the length of an article is between 700 and 1200 words. Again, if you have a specific outlet in mind, check specific submission guidelines for the outlet.
Using your published article. Once published, showcase your articles as part of your resume, in your brochures, as handouts in your presentations, on your website, etc. It gives you credibility—as featured on HuffingtonPost.com, as featured in TIME magazine. Plus, online articles never go away and will turn up when people search for you online. Although bylined articles take care and thought in creating, the benefits of showcasing your book and expertise are priceless.
Sandra Poirier-Diaz is president of Smith Publicity, one of the premier book publicity and book marketing firms in the industry. Since 1997, Smith Publicity has implemented more than 1,000 promotional campaigns. Clients of Smith Publicity have appeared on virtually every major radio and television show, and been featured in top publications across the world. For more information please visit www.smithpublicity.com or Sandy@smithpublicity.com
Image courtesy of Leo Snyapse.