Five Steps to Ghost Writing the Perfect Byline

A byline article is a great opportunity for a client to tell their story. They can use their own words and voice and are typically positioned as an industry thought leader. Often written by public relations professionals, these articles are published with the client’s name. For PR pros, that means delivering a well thought out and written piece. Luckily, with a little planning and attention to detail, your byline article can be perfect. Here are a few tips to remember:

  1. Research: This sounds simple, but there are many factors you need to consider before writing. Reading past interviews of your client is a great way to get a feel for how he or she communicates and will help you to determine the right tone. Reviewing approved language on the client’s website and in their marketing materials, such as brochures and case studies, will help you accurately describe things like the company’s mission, products and more. In addition, make sure you research the publication in which the byline will be placed. This will help you understand how the publication wants pieces written.
  1. Plan and Outline: Creating an outline for your byline before you begin to write will not only help with time management, but it will also strengthen the structure of the piece. In the outline, you can include statistics, facts, key statements and more. The more detailed your outline is, the easier it will be to write the article. If you need to interview your client (which is always a great idea), this helps keep you on track.
  1. Write: With your research completed and a strong outline in place, you can get started writing. Research shows the best time to write is first thing in the morning, so make sure you carve out some time at the beginning of the day. Take time to stop and read what you have developed every so often to make sure you are on track. Also, give yourself time to write a good first draft – some people can do it in one sitting; others need more time – fine what’s best for you.
  1. Review and Edit: One of the most important steps in the byline writing process is editing. You should review your piece at least three times and always have a colleague review it as well. This will help you catch and correct issues or errors before sending the byline to your client for review.
  1. Get Approval: Having your client’s approval to send in the byline for publication is crucial. Not only does this step allow the client to be aware of exactly what you are submitting, but it will give them an opportunity to make updates or changes to the piece. In addition, make sure that your client approves the piece in writing before you submit to the publication. When submitting the piece, make sure your client’s name and title are included and accurate.

Following these steps can help you write a great byline on behalf of your client. Your client will appreciate it and you will feel confident each time the opportunity arises!

By Maggie Markert