The Power of Byline Articles

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During my career as public relations counsel, a significant number of financial advisers asked to be featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or Fortune magazine. Although, these are premiere and well-respected names in the U.S., my recommendation to them has always been to first target the community weeklies and daily publications to become an expert source and contribute articles or columns. Why? A significant number of advisers have a local client base, not a national one. Focusing on big media outlets, which are harder to crack, requires a significant investment of time and concurrently can be less effective in attracting local clients.

There are several key reasons why advisers should begin their media exposure with a byline—an article that is not written by a reporter but by an expert like you. First, if you already have a client’s newsletter, you can rework its content to create a byline article that meets the editorial requirement of a local newspaper or magazine. Second, a byline article enables you to demonstrate your expertise, focus on clients’ challenges, offer proven solutions and tell stories by using examples and anecdotes—that’s what readers will remember.

Here are a few tips you can follow to place a byline article in your local paper or business journal:

  • Establish the Topic. Write about the core problems your clients are currently experiencing and articulate the solutions you are providing to them. Make sure you offer tips and guidelines for the general public and do NOT exceed the 500-word mark. This is the typical byline length.
  • Study the Local Publication. Create a list of potential publications where you could contribute an article. Understand their format and ascertain which ones feature byline articles.  
  • Contact the Publication. Reach out to the editor. Be patient, it may take several phone calls and e-mails! E-mail a topic along with your tips and guidance for his/her readers and offer to write an article or an ongoing series of articles to cover financial topics. Provide the editor with your background, a short bio, your contacts and Web site address. Follow up with a phone call to go over the idea and find out deadline and other editorial requirements.
  • Establish a Relationship. Seek to meet with the editor for breakfast or coffee to establish a meaningful relationship, so that you are perceived as an expert, trusted source.

Byline articles are great sources for topics to be addressed at organizations of local investors, such as AAII chapters. In addition, bylines are a powerful marketing piece that can be mailed to current and prospective clients, posted on your Web site, given out at seminars and sent to current clients as a referral tool for passing on to others. Finally, a byline can also be part of an overall marketing or press kit, which you can mail to other local publications to provide tangible proof of your media experience and expert source status.  

By seeking to be featured only in the mainstream media, you can miss a great opportunity to reach your real target market of local clients and referral resources. By offering your expert advice through a byline article in your local publications you will reach people who desperately need financial advice after the hard times we have experienced, and who may be looking to entrust their life savings with a recognized, trusted professional.

Are you writing or have you written bylines? What has been your experience?

Claudio PannunzioClaudio Pannunzio
Blue Chip Public Relations
Greenwich, Conn.

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