Impact Insights Blog

Why You Should ‘BY’: The Case for Bylined Articles for Businesses

January 5, 2022

Filomena FanelliNewsrooms are shrinking by the day. In fact, PR professionals outnumber journalists at a five to one ratio, according to 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In my own local media market, the list of news outlets gone-by year over year reads a bit like tombstones I visit from dear loved ones who have crossed over to the other side, fondly remembered and sorely missed.

More people pitching media, fewer people to receive the pitches and professionally write the news and more businesses competing for far less column space add up to a challenging situation. Fortunately, savvy public relations experts know the best ways to make the most of the conditions and to work with the fantastic media that still fight the good fight. (Thank you, journalists!)

If you’ve ever stumbled across an article in your favorite business journal or website and noticed it was written by a guest author that could have been you – after all, you have a company like theirs and plenty of smart things to share, too – you’ve experienced the magic of a good bylined article. These pieces are not written by on-staff reporters or editors, or even freelancers, nor left without attribution; instead, they are indeed contributed and bear the name of the person they are by, thus the name ‘bylined article’.

They are also not Letters to the Editor, which are shorter and usually used to express a quick opinion, give thanks or make people aware of an issue, nor Op-Eds, which are strong opinion pieces that typically run alongside Letters to the Editor and require a zesty or even controversial point of view. Bylined articles often express a viewpoint, backed up by facts or data, or offer tips and insight on a topic, such as ‘Five Public Relations Trends to Watch in 2022’ or ‘Things Employers Should Consider During the Great Resignation’.

There are some clear benefits to putting your name, or byline, atop an article:

  • Doing so builds your thought leadership in a category, positioning you as a credible go-to expert in your field or an authority on a trending topic, for news stories going forward and for speaking engagements.
  • Not a whole lot of people take the time to write bylined articles, so doing so puts you at an advantage in terms of getting coveted column space.
  • Contributing an article helps get you on the radar of media at that publication and other news outlets.

Here are five things to know if you’d like to leverage bylined articles as part of your public relations efforts:

  • Read the publication you’d like to write for. Get familiar with the news outlet, checking to ensure they take submitted columns and what the general style, length and writers’ guidelines are. Most publications have a typical length, whether it’s 600 to 800 words or a minimum of 1,200 words. Not sure? Copy, cut and paste a few examples of articles you see into a Word document and hit ‘review’ and ‘word count’ to establish a baseline length. Also take a look at the end tag – the one or two sentences at the end – to see if there’s a pattern. Some outlets like contact information, some prefer a website and others want the author’s name, title and organization name and nothing more.
  • Make sure your idea hasn’t already been used in the place you’re pursuing. You want to ensure the angle or information is fresh before you proceed.
  • Cite or link to research, data and statistics to give the article you’re sending along a bit more weight. Notice how I start this piece off – by the way, this is a bylined article – with information on shrinking newsrooms and the increase in number of public relations professionals trying to get their attention.
  • Pack some punch when you write. Begin with a memorable, tight headline and then, if the copy is dense, break it up with short, snappy subheads or bullets to help make it reader-friendly.
  • Have another set of eyes review your submission before you pitch it to the outlet. Adhere to the Associated Press Stylebook guidelines, the gold standard for most news outlets, so that the person on the decision-making end isn’t overwhelmed with the need to edit or proofread your work. If it’s not ready to run, it may never run!

Last, but not least, should you have the privilege of securing a bylined article, be sure to thank the publication or editor who accepted your submission and then do them one better: share the story. Link to their site, tag them and know that when you help news outlets get more clicks, whether via social media, an e-newsletter or otherwise, you’re driving traffic to their work, as well as yours. That appreciation for media goes a long way and helps you become a partner in supporting journalism.

About the Author:  Filomena Fanelli is the CEO and founder of Impact PR & Communications, Ltd. (, an award-winning public relations agency based in NY’s Hudson Valley, with a presence in NY, NJ, CT and FL. Fanelli can be reached at 845.462.4979 or at

A condensed version of  this article originally appeared in the Westchester & Fairfield County Business Journals.