Why You Should Wax On: Using Op-Eds and Bylined Articles to Build Your Brand

Why You Should Wax On: Using Op-Eds and Bylined Articles to Build Your Brand

One of our founder’s favorite sayings is, “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” 

There’s good reason. Most business owners dream of the exposure that is the by-product of media mentions and feature stories on their organization. It can, in fact, be a prayer answered, since the right press can lead to a spike in sales, an increase in awareness and connection to new customers.

However, news coverage is not always as simple as it sounds. There are fewer reporters these days. Through 2024, newspaper reporter positions are projected to decline by 28 percent and editor jobs by 34 percent from their 2014 level.

So, what’s a business to do? Consider thought leadership, which likely involves writing about what you know and sharing your area of expertise. If you’re ready to try this media-winning tactic, here are a few tips, which appeared in full in the August 17, 2018 issue of Westchester County Business Journal:

Do your homework. Carefully research what publications accept guest columns and/or op-eds and note how submissions are considered, including the correct point of contact for proposed pieces.

Beware word count. Follow editorial guidelines on length, style and tone to increase the odds that the submission will be accepted.

Proofread…and then proofread again. Guest columns need to be as well-written as the rest of the publication’s content. Edit for clarity and consistency and check grammar, punctuation and spelling and, whenever possible have another professional review the material to check for typos and clarity.

Ask what’s in it for the reader. This question can guide the content and ensure its integrity to the person who matters most, the reader you are hoping to reach. Always ask, “What will the reader get out of this?” and let that perspective be your guide.

Create a clear call to action. Consider what next steps the reader will likely take and make certain you point them in that direction. If it fits with the style of the publication, include a brief bio at the end so readers will know how to get in touch if they have questions or want to learn more.

Merchandise the material. Having a story placed in a news outlet is wonderful, but it’s what is done afterward that matters most. Ensure your target audience sees the placement by sharing it on your social media platforms, tagging the news outlet and hash-tagging key terms to widen the reach. Post the news to your website or blog, link to the story in your company’s next e-newsletter, email the piece directly to your network and proudly display your op-ed or guest column in the office so visitors can see the coverage.

One last tip: Show gratitude. It’s a privilege to share your expertise with a news outlet’s readers, so a thank you or kind words and a friendly tag when sharing on social media go a long way.

Want to learn more about executive thought leadership and how to get it right? Feel free to reach out to Impact PR & Communications’ CEO and founder Filomena Fanelli at filomena@prwithimpact.com

A version of this article originally appeared in Westchester County Business Journal.