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.

Why Persistence is Public Relations’ Most Valuable Skill

While public relations may seem like a dazzling profession full of glam, glitz, and celebrities, PR pros understand how truly grueling the work can be. At times, PR can involve a lot of teamwork, determination, and patience, but most importantly, it involves persistence.

 

It’s easy for someone to write a press release about an upcoming event or initiative or even to create a landing page online for blog content. But to really drive results, PR experts understand how crucial it is to be persistent in your efforts – from media relations to content creation and social media, it takes more than distributing one press release every six months or posting one Tweet each week to really drive results.

 

When it comes to conducting media relations or PR campaigns, persistence is particularly important. In order to successfully conduct a media relations campaign, simply writing a release, publishing it on the company’s press page and hoping media will pick it up will likely will not cut it. Brands should consistently test out new story angles and hooks, follow up with media regularly – sharing additional information to pique their interest – and always be on the hunt for a new media contact who might be interested in sharing your story.

 

Besides that, media relations involves a lot of other tasks that require a persistent mindset. For instance, we hear “no” more times than we can count when reaching out to media with story ideas. PR pros invest a lot of time researching the perfect journalists just to find out they’re not interested in your topic. We also hear “maybe” a lot, which can often turn out to be dead ends. The trick is to not get discouraged, but rather see it as a challenge to overcome.

 

The point is a good PR pro understands you can’t take no for an answer. When one door closes, we find a way to open another. By researching additional contacts, sending out new pitches and continuing to persevere, we’re able to secure the results our clients deserve.

 

A young professional starting out in the world of PR might be surprised at just how much patience and perseverance the job takes. However, when you’re passionate about your clients, you don’t just give up. Instead, we work hard to find new opportunities, review past failures and keep trucking forward.

 

Public relations can be an extremely valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. Whether a company is well established or just starting out, it can be very beneficial to position your brand to the public in a proactive way to ensure your brand is well recognized. After all, behind any public relations campaign is a well-crafted strategy, precise messaging, and a whole lot of perseverance.

 

If you’re interested in learning how our team’s tenacious efforts can generate results for your company, contact Lauryn Gray, lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today!

Consuming Media: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers

The ultimate goal of a #PRpro is securing stellar media coverage for our clients; however, that coverage can be less impactful if it’s not reaching the targeted audience. In a world increasingly influenced by technology, it’s important to remain knowledgable about how audiences are consuming media and staying informed.

 

We’re taking a closer look at how millennials and baby boomers consume media differently. Learn how it affects our strategies for telling our clients’ stories to the most influential audiences.

 

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964 and know sticking to their roots, are surprisingly open to new formats. In fact, research shows TV hold the top spot for Baby Boomers. More specifically, 51 percent of those older than 55 are found to rely on traditional news sources, including broadcast media.

 

While Baby Boomers are adopting social media sites like Facebook more and more, they are more likely to go straight to the source. They visit news outlets directly to stay informed, spending 20 plus hours a week consuming online content. If that doesn’t say how tied Baby Boomers are to traditional media, then knowing 92 percent of them continue to listen to the radio for news updates just may convince you.

 

So, if a client is trying to reach the highly respected Baby Boomer crowd, it’s evident that traditional media is the way to go. Leveraging local broadcast media can prove highly successful, especially in the early hours as the masses consume the news of the day before heading out to work. Don’t let the word traditional stray you away from online hits though, as an online article can garner thousands of eyes as the Boomers browse news sites throughout the week.

 

Millennials

Millennials, born between 1982-2002, are changing the way younger generations stay informed. Studies show millennials rely heavily on trending articles and major headlines on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. According to Business Insider, 64 percent of people ages 18-24 say digital outlets such as online news sources and social media serve as their main source of news.

 

As for traditional media, only 24 percent of millennials ages 18-24 and 29 percent of millennials ages 25-34 turn to broadcast television to get their news. Only 5 percent of those are turning to radio and print to stay informed. Instead, millennials are utilizing local and national news sites to dive deeper into major headlines found on social media sites. In comparison to Baby Boomers, millennials are twice as likely to opt in to retrieving information from social media and word of mouth than traditional news sources (cue the group text gossip).

 

That being said, when working with clients targeting younger generations, we often gear our strategic execution toward securing media opportunities that will surface across social media platforms. While traditional outlets still garner high viewership, online hits support the research and prove to produce valuable results for client coverage. It’s important to look at online mentions when securing opportunities, in addition to utilizing social channels to increase exposure by posting client-oriented coverage.

 

The way each generation consumes news is constantly changes, dictating how we approach our strategies in the public relations industry. As the latest-and-greatest tech updates continue to revolutionize our world, it’s crucial that we do our due diligence and capitalize on the appropriate opportunities that will effectively produce results for our clients.

 

Interested in reaching these audiences online? Request a consultation with us today!