Please visit our bylined articles page to initiate an order or learn more about this solution, including pricing.
How do I order a bylined article?
What is a bylined article?
A bylined article is a journalistic article that appears in a third-party publication (usually an industry trade publication, blog, or website) with the name and affiliation of the author in a “byline.” Most publications rely on staff writers to write most of their articles and only occasionally publish contributed content such as bylined articles. However, some publications have large sections dedicated to bylined content. Bylined articles are most often attributed to a senior executive with the intention of positioning that individual — and his or her company — as industry experts. Bylined articles typically run between 800 and 1,000 words.
Bylined articles are also referred to as:
- Guest posts
- Contributed articles
- Op-eds (or “opinion editorials”)
- Sponsored posts or native ads (when the bylined article has been paid for by the company)
While bylined articles can elevate your brand status and position your company as an industry leader, they must be written in an objective, journalistic style. As with a standard news article, the body of the bylined article never mentions the author's company or product(s).
What are the benefits of a bylined article?
Publishing a bylined article in a third-party publication or site can have significant benefits for your brand, including:
- Increased brand awareness: Providing exposure to your company and its offerings
- Enhanced credibility: Building your reputation among your target audience as a knowledgeable and trustworthy member of your industry
- Thought leadership (for the author): Showcasing the author’s expertise
- Thought leadership (for your brand): Demonstrating your company's industry authority
- Repurpose content: Once published, bylined articles can be reprinted and distributed at conferences and trade shows, displayed on your website, or incorporated into marketing collateral
What should the article be about?
The most successful bylined articles take a stand on a timely topic of interest to a specific industry audience; they are never about a company. Readers are turned off by overt self-promotion, and publications are quick to reject articles that cross that line. Your articles need to address important issues or trends related to the services or products you provide. They can also offer solutions to problems that your customers or prospects are facing, but the connection to your company should be implied and not stated.
When you order an article, you are welcome to suggest a topic or angle. The Prose team can also pitch relevant topics to you.
While bylined articles allow room for creativity, they tend to follow prescribed patterns. The five most common structures below are based on our professional experience with media channels. The Prose content brief gives you an opportunity to select the type that best fits your needs — or describe a different type.
1. How-to article
One of the most popular formats tells the reader “how to” solve a common problem. Your products or services have a clear but implied connection to the solution, indirectly validating your company’s value and raising brand awareness.
2. Opinion article
Like a traditional newspaper Op-ed, this article offers an opinion about a relevant industry issue. This approach is especially effective if the opinion is slightly controversial or presents a fresh angle on an old issue.
3. Trend article
A variation of the opinion article, the trend piece shares a high-level or visionary perspective on a pressing industry issue. This format often provides an opinion, clarifies facts, or predicts future industry behavior.
4. Research article
This format is ideal for summarizing original, proprietary research that your company has conducted, and sharing the data and analysis with your readers.
5. Case study article
Case studies tell a problem-and-solution story where your products or services are integral to the happy ending. The promotional value is high because you can refer to your company by name. At the same time, this format is one of the most challenging to craft. The article has to focus on your story without being about you, and the problem addressed must resonate broadly. To give an air of objectivity, case studies will typically mention “lessons learned,” acknowledging obstacles or failures your company encountered on the path to success — thorny territory for many clients.
Can Prose write in the “voice” of a particular person?
Yes. The art of ghostwriting goes beyond the art of writing in the voice of your brand to capture the voice of a particular individual as well. Click here to learn more about how Prose can capture someone's unique voice and style.
Do I need to attribute the article(s) to the original writer?
No; bylined articles are ghostwritten. As the sole copyright owner, you can attribute them to anyone you want. Most brands “credit” an executive at their company who has expertise in the given topic or who can benefit from exposure.
You may attribute all bylined articles to a single individual, or attribute different articles to different individuals.
To what extent will the article feature us? Will our company be mentioned?
As a premier form of content marketing, bylined articles promote your company in a powerful but indirect way, primarily by displaying the expertise of your executives. The only exception to this rule is the case study format. To even consider publishing your article, most media channels prohibit using the name of your brand anywhere in the piece. The byline is the appropriate place for the company name and website.
What does an actual “byline” look like?
A byline typically states the author's name, his or her title, and the company's name. Many media channels will also include a link to your company's website or social media accounts.
According to your preferences, Prose can include the byline in your article draft, or you can determine authorship later. Either way, the publication that accepts your article may make further edits based on their preferred format.
Bylines often appear at the end of the article. Prose prefers this format because it allows for a brief bio that can serve as a company “plug.” For example, this might appear at the end of a bylined article:
Bill Gates is founder, technology advisor, and board member of Microsoft Corporation in Seattle, Washington. Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Some publications prefer to place the byline at the beginning, beneath the article title. For instance:
The Future of Cloud Computing in Philanthropy
-- By Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, Seattle, Washington
What's a sponsored post? How is it different from a bylined article?
A sponsored post or “advertorial” is a combination of an editorial and a paid advertisement (this method is also known as “native advertising”). Like a bylined article, an advertorial is written to look like straight journalism and integrated into the body of the publication as if it were a regular article. Unlike a bylined article, however, media channels charge a fee to publish sponsored posts, making them much easier and more straightforward to place than a regular articles. Publications that accept sponsored posts do so openly, identifying the article as a “sponsored post” to alert readers to the fact that the media placement has been purchased. Other common labels are “Sponsor-generated Content” or “Advertisement.”
For a good discussion of sponsored posts, check out this New York Times article.
Are sponsored posts controversial?
Native ads are a hot topic in media today. Publishers and brands are still figuring out how effective sponsored posts are, what to call them, and how to strike the ideal balance between paid and unpaid content. Many industry experts see them as next big thing, while others are taking a “wait and see” approach.
Nevertheless, sponsored posts are everywhere. It seems that almost every publication now accepts native adverts, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, Huffington Post, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
With sponsored ads still in their infancy, the market is open for brands like yours to jump into the game. Experimenting with sponsored ads can give you a “first mover advantage” over competitors who are still unaware or hesitating. Readers today are arguably more receptive to sponsored posts than they may be in a few years. As with most other forms of advertisement, readers may eventually catch on and begin to filter out these articles.
What are the pros and cons of sponsored posts?
As you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of sponsored posts, here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Top publications = wide exposure. Some articles have a low chance of being accepted by a premier publication when they are pitched the traditional way. Sponsored posts give you the pick of the litter — and the opportunity to receive wider exposure.
- Reduced pitching costs. Because it is much easier to get placement for a sponsored post (and in many cases, placement is guaranteed), they require little or no pitching time.
- Faster. Traditional pitching can consume considerable time and effort, and results aren’t guaranteed. Sponsored posts are often immediately successful because the process is largely transactional.
- Greater certainty. With traditional pitching, acceptance is never guaranteed. But with a quality sponsored post, acceptance is almost certain. You know in advance how much it will cost to publish the piece, which outlet it will appear in, what the timing is, and how many readers it will reach. In short, you know exactly what your dollar is buying, making it easier to calculate ROI.
- Ability to self-promote: For best results, Prose recommends that your sponsored posts follow the style of traditional bylined articles — meaning educational, not promotional. Your readers will take the content more seriously and be more likely to share. At the same time, paid articles do allow more room for direct promotion than bylined articles. For instance, you can mention the name of your company and allude to some of your products or services. Just keep in mind that credibility falls as self-promotion rises.
- Advertising costs: Paying for a sponsored post is essentially buying ad space. This cost is largely based on the size of the readership.
- Slightly reduced credibility: Given its “Sponsored” label, paid media can fall short of the credibility boost associated with third-party publication. As such, it carries the risk of being read and shared less frequently than traditional posts.