August 1, 2011
With the increasing fragmentation of media and the ever shrinking budget for journalists comes a great opportunity for media coverage for those businesses who take the time to explore it.
Online and offline publications looking to fill their growing pages are more interested in bylined articles.
Bylined article submission should play a part of every PR strategy but requires an extra layer of effort past drafting and pitching news releases. Bylined articles are simply articles written by the business on non-promotional topics and placed in their target media. Bylines are great for positioning of executives as thought leaders in their space. The gotcha here is that bylined articles can’t be self-promotional pieces where basically the author is telling the audience to buy his or her product. That is an advertorial. And that is where the landscape starts to blur.
Publications have long accepted advertorial submissions as part of a pay for play model. Normally advertorials are accepted with the purchase of a certain level of advertising. As such, advertorials are part of an advertising strategy and not a PR strategy.
Bylined articles have to more closely follow the editorial calendar of a publication and are subject to edits. That’s right, edits. And here is where things can get stickier.
Submit an advertorial and you’re pretty much guaranteed that it will run as submitted. Submit a byline and you have only slightly more control than submitting a news release. Editors still reserve the right to edit your byline for content or overall length. Further, they exercise control of the publication date, more so than the advertorial which usually runs when the ad is placed. That’s why building and maintaining a strong and respectful working relationship with editors is important and requires an investment of time and effort.
Does that mean you shouldn’t run the of submitting bylines? Certainly not. Just set your expectations.