Like any industry or business, public relations has it’s own lingo. A lot of it comes from the journalism world — which makes sense since the two are so intertwined — but often the definitions are slightly different. So the next time you hear a term you’re unfamiliar with and perform a search to find more information (i.e., What is a byline?), make sure the definition comes from a PR firm or PR-focused media outlet.
Now that you mention it, what is a byline?
In the newspaper industry, the byline is the name of the reporter or columnist who authored the article or column. Yes, literally it is the line that says “by (insert reporter name)”. Complicated, right? Well, in PR we typically refer to articles written by account executives on behalf of our clients as byline articles or more simply, bylines. It’s another way to describe ghostwriting. PR executives write on behalf their clients (think CEO or other subject matter experts) giving their clients full credit for the article and then work to have the “byline” published by an appropriate media outlet.
Very simply, t’s our goal to “get a byline” from our client (i.e., by Ms. CFO) published by a well-respected media outlet whose subscribers and website visitors fit into our target audience.
Here’s a timeline of how byline placement works:
- An account executive writes a byline on behalf of the founder and president of a technology company.
- The byline is approved by the client.
- The account executive pitches the completed byline to business and marketing publications as a content submission.
- Once picked up by a media outlet, the byline will “run” (be published) providing an additional method of media coverage for the client that also promotes the founder and president of the company as a subject matter expert.
Why are bylines important?
Remember the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.”? Would you rather read an article on entrepreneurial success written by a successful serial entrepreneur or a business reporter who interviewed a couple of entrepreneurs in various stages of their careers? People want to connect with content. Bylines provide an opportunity for SMEs in every topic and at every level of understanding, to share their thoughts and findings with an extremely engaged audience. The audience is more likely to inquire for more information, and even start conversations on the byline topic via comments or social media.
A well placed byline can set apart a thought leader and a brand from the noise around them. In many cases, it can open the door to future bylines and even a recurring column or guest blogging gig.
Interested in learning more about bylines? Contact us to learn how these articles can be part of your PR strategy.