Writing comes naturally for some entrepreneurs.
But for many business owners, the idea of writing and publishing an article seems as unrealistic as walking on the moon. That's too bad because bylined articles are an under-utilized, but highly effective way of generating publicity for a small or medium-sized business.
The simple truth is that writing and publishing a bylined article doesn't have to be difficult. Almost any entrepreneur can do it if they avoid a handful of bylined article mistakes that commonly disqualify articles for publication.
Here's our short list of common mistakes that are made by people who submit contributed articles for publication:
Too self-promoting. A bylined article is not the place to shameless promote yourself, your company, or your products. In fact, many trade publications have policies that restrict you from mentioning your company or your products in the body of the article. Instead, use the opportunity to subtly establish yourself as an expert in your industry and ask if you can include a link to your company's website in the writer's bio section at the end of the article.
Targeting the wrong publications. In the bylined article game, where you publish is almost as important as what you publish. The idea is to strategically target publications with the right focus and broad readerships. For example, if you're trying to impress vendors, target the publications vendors actually read – not the ones you think they should read.
Poorly written content. Notice how we said where you publish is almost as important as what you publish? That's because the quality of your writing counts. The fact that you're an expert in your field won't compensate for inferior composition. If you lack the time or ability to create a well-written article, hire a professional copywriter to do the writing for you. Your name will still appear in the byline, but your article will be much more effective.
Not following submission guidelines. Every publication has submission guidelines. Submission guidelines describe the kinds of articles the publication is looking for and the manner in which they prefer to receive them. The publishing industry frowns on authors who refuse to follow submission guidelines, so it's in your best interest to do your research and closely follow each publication's policies.
Failure to leverage publishing credits. After your article is published, the magazine or journal will own the publishing rights. Even so, you can leverage the article to promote your company by purchasing reprints or by setting up a link to the article on your company website.