How to Ensure Your Byline Pitch Gets Noticed

Let’s talk about bylines.

A pillar of public relations, the epicenter of a great thought leadership campaign, the distinguishing mark of an established brand – okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but it’s true – bylines are a great way to make your client stand out amongst the competition.

I’ll be honest, when I first started as an intern at Dittoe PR, I had no clue what a byline was. After all, there’s a lot of PR lingo that gets thrown around in this industry. I remember frantically typing “What is a byline?” into Google after seeing the phrase assigned in my intern project list. You can imagine my surprise when the results were “a line in a newspaper naming the writer of an article.” That was one of my projects for the week?

In reality, I learned that in public relations, a byline is a fancy term we use for a contributed guest article from a respected member of an organization or industry. A byline can serve as an alternative to a traditional interview-to-story coverage and gives media outlets quality content to add to their publishing queue. Yes, a byline can mean an author line, but save that for your award-winning novel – A Brief, Written History of Public Relations.

After outlining the topic with the client, researching supporting third-party data and drafting the content itself, we do what we do best – pitching! Consider the following four tips when pitching your client’s next byline for maximum ROI.

Find the right publication and contact.
Finding your perfect byline match is a lot like finding your match IRL, too. It takes a little bit of timing, a lot of interest and of course, heavy research. When preparing to pitch out your byline, take a closer look at your targeted publications. First, ensure the topics they cover relate to your client. Additionally, are contributed guest articles frequently shared on their website? A helpful tip, if the publication has an “opinion articles” section, or if a piece is drafted by someone other than an employee of the publication, it is most likely a byline.

Once you’ve determined the proper publication to pitch your byline, it’s time to find the right contact. Typically, digital and managing editors of the publication are best to pitch bylines. Reporters and freelancers are not normally going to accept third-party content, so there’s no need to add them to your pitch list. Click around the website too – you can typically find editors’ contact information listed under “about us” or “our team” tabs.

Accessorize and personalize.
So, you’ve got the perfect contact – now what? Journalists are bombarded with hundreds of pitches a day; it’s important to make sure your pitch stands out amongst the typical plug and chug emails. When drafting the perfect pitch, there are many different paths you can follow. Try accessorizing your pitch with relevant, timely statistics – relating to your byline, of course – that would catch the editors’ attention. If your byline is on the topic of vendor risks, did The Joint Commission recently publish survey results on healthcare compliance? If your byline is about retaining younger employees, has Gallup shared a new poll on generation Z and millennials in the workplace?

In turn, personalization is key. Your pitch could have all the bells and whistles, but if it’s not personal, it won’t receive a second look. At Dittoe PR, we’ve been known to creep on some editors for a perfect story. Follow the publication and its editors on Twitter and call attention to a few things they mention. If their bio says they are cat lover, lead with the fact that you love cats, too!

Provide an outline.
After accessorizing and personalizing, consider adding an outline of the byline to the editor to facilitate their understanding of the article. We never want to give away too much in our pitches, but a brief outline of the byline topic and supporting points will also make certain your pitch is noticed. So many pitches are the simply blocks of text – beef your pitch up in a more dynamic, eye-catching way. For example, if I were to provide an outline of this blog, I’d say:

I’d like to offer a contributed guest article by critically-acclaimed Dittoe PR class clown and Account Coordinator Natalie Weber, covering four things to consider when pitching bylines, including:

  1. Finding the right publication and contact.
  2. Accessorizing and personalization.
  3. Providing an outline.
  4. Knowing the rules.


Know the rules.
Finally, each publication has their own set of “editorial guidelines” one must follow when submitting a byline. These guidelines may include word count, exclusivity rights, relevant topics, author bios and more. Before you share your byline, ensure your article has followed all the outlined rules.

Once you’ve got these basics down, your byline is sure to catch the attention of your targeted publication. Just remember to close with, “Any interest?”

Speaking of which, any interest in discovering how thought leadership can amplify your brand? Contact Lauryn Gray or request a consultation to learn how we can help maximize your PR investment.

How to Successfully Work Remotely

WFH. These three letters allow employees to move from the desk-bound constraints of a 9-to-5 office and give them the freedom to work from the comfort of their own home, a coffee shop, a collaborative working space or anywhere in between.

In recent years, the option to work elsewhere has seen a surge in popularity. According to a survey by AfterCollege, 68% of millennial job seekers say an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers. Furthermore, a survey from OwlLabs found that employees who work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive at work, resulting in 25% less employee turnover than their non-remote work offering counterparts.

Here at Dittoe PR, we offer the opportunity for our team members to work from home a half-day each week. Whether that’s a morning where getting out of bed just isn’t going to happen, or an afternoon where a change of scenery is crucial, this perk encourages us to take some time and work from wherever makes us happy.

Wherever you choose to set up shop, consider these four tips for the most productive outcome:

Dress for success.
Trust me, I know how incredibly tempting it is to throw on pajamas or sweatpants when you’re working from home. However, when you wear pajama pants to bed and sweatpants to lounge on a Saturday afternoon, you’re not in the right frame of mind to physically work.

Mind follows body! Separate your work outfits from your weekend outfits, and dress for the job you have. If you’re in clothes you’d go to work in, you’ll be less inclined to lay down on the couch or zone out for an hour or two.

Set up a workspace.
Similar to dressing for success, it can be tempting to wake up in bed, open up your work laptop and stay there until night falls. There’s a reason our employers keep us upright facing a screen at the office. Get out of bed (it’s harder than it sounds), situate a new desk space and work in that location. Find a place just uncomfortable enough to keep you focused.

Establish clear boundaries between your workspace and your home life. This separation reduces unintended stress and will provide you with enough energy to not only finish your work but keep you from hating your bed or couch when your day is done. No one wants that! 

Reduce distractions.
Sure, your office has its fair share of distractions. When you’re at home or elsewhere, however, those distractions are heightened. Think about it, if you’re at home, what else is there? Dishes to be cleaned, a comfortable couch with Netflix calling your name, Instagram notifications on your phone, that leaky faucet you swore you’d get fixed…the list goes on.

In short, multitasking doesn’t work. The American Psychological Association found that switching between tasks results in a 40% loss of productivity, especially when those tasks involve combining your actual work with scrolling through your Twitter feed. Treat your home – or wherever you choose to work from – as your own office when working remotely. You wouldn’t turn on Game of Thrones in the middle of a meeting, would you? Okay, don’t answer that.

Make a to-do list.
Even if you’re not a fan of the coveted to-do list, making one for your day at home will ensure you stay on track. Utilize Dittoe PR’s favorite list-making app Todoist, or simply put pen to paper with all the tasks needed for the day. As always with to-do lists, if you aren’t able to cross everything off, that’s okay! It’ll still help to keep you on track and remember what needs to be done the following day.

Schedule a few breaks, too. You don’t want to experience burnout at home of all places. If you plan your to-do list hour-by-hour, incorporate brief 15-minute breaks to allow your mind to recharge. Go outside, take a walk, walk your cat, walk your turtle, follow your hamster in its little ball, anything to boost your energy levels in between tasks.

When you spend your time wisely and efficiently, it’ll be like you never left the office. Now you’re ready to go forth and WFH, WFCS (work from coffee shop) or WFWYLHD (work from wherever your little heart desires)!

Interested in a career that lets you work remotely each week? We’re always accepting applications for consideration. Send your resume, cover letter and three writing samples to Ashley Eggert at ashley@dittoepr.com.  

How to Prepare for a Post-Grad PR Job

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not talking about a certain red and green holiday, I’m talking about graduation! Earning your college degree, decorating your cap, walking across the giant stage, taking countless photos with your friends and family, the crippling anxiety of starting your first real-world job…okay, maybe that part wasn’t so great.

Going from college life to the real-world can be tough. There should really be a “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your First Job” book on the shelf. Personally, I was a mixed bag of emotions when it was time for graduation. While I was excited to see what this new chapter had in store for me, I was absolutely terrified about what being a “real adult” actually meant.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – I didn’t have a job right out of college. It took me three months post-grad to find an internship in this industry (thank you, Dittoe PR). If you find yourself in a similar position, it is okay! You’ve got this. 

Whether you’re still in college and planning ahead for graduation or you’re a recent grad still looking for the perfect fit, with these four tips in mind, you’ll be a #PRpro come your first day of work.

Create a 90-day plan.

90 days might seem like a lifetime, especially when you’re starting your first post-grad job. However, the first 90 days are crucial to both you and your employer. By planning out your goals for the first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job, you’ll have created your own vision of what success looks like in your role.

Include smaller goals within your first 30 days, such as getting to know your co-workers or understanding your company’s vision. By 90 days, your goals can shift – how will you step up in your new role during this period? With goals set and visions in mind, you’ll be able to track your progress every step of the way. Thinking in the short-term keeps long-term stress at bay and makes everything a little more manageable.

Fun fact: At Dittoe PR, our fabulous office perks (half-day work from home, flex hours and unlimited vacation) start at 90 days!

 

Get skilled.

As PR pros, we’ve got a myriad of tools to help us throughout the day. Take some time between graduation and your first day to familiarize yourself with a few of PR’s most beloved measurement tools such as Critical Mention or Cision. You could even take a few weeks and earn your certification in Google Analytics – you know your PR professor would want you to!

Try to learn a few additional skills that will help you stand apart from your peers, too. Consider navigating through a design site such as Canva or teaching yourself Adobe Photoshop. You might not have needed these to land the job, but they’ll certainly come in handy throughout your career and show your employer that your love of learning did not end with your diploma.

 

Research. Research. Research.

You probably (hopefully) looked into your new company prior to your initial interview. However, just because you’ve been hired doesn’t mean you should stop researching your new digs. Prior to your first day, be aware of your company’s mission, their current clients and what they’re all about. This will no doubt impress your new leaders during the orientation and onboarding process.

Dig through the company’s “about us” tab for a glimpse into the organization. If the company has a blog section on the website, read a few of the recent posts to gain additional insight into their work culture before you step in on your first day. You should also follow the company on any and all social media platforms, engaging with their content to better understand just who you’ll be working with on a daily basis.

 

Live it up.

You’re hired. You just got your first post-grad job, so enjoy it! Bask in this moment – a college degree took you three, four, maybe even ten years. Celebrate your incredible accomplishment with friends and family before your first day on the job. Your loved ones will be sure to help boost your confidence and spark your joy prior to starting your career. In short, it’s okay to be proud of yourself! I promise.

Now, as they say in cliché movies and TV shows, go get ‘em tiger!    

 

Interested in becoming a PR pro with Dittoe PR? We are always accepting applications for consideration. Send your personalized cover letter, resume with references and writing samples to Greta Snell at greta@dittoepr.com.