Bylined Articles

Coming Up With Topics for Bylined Articles

You've decided to pursue bylined articles as part of your company's PR strategy. The only problem is that you have no idea what to write about. How do you come up with topics for bylined articles that impress editors and get published?

It sounded like such a good idea to include writing byline articles in your business' PR strategy.

Bylined articles are a cost-efficient and effective way to raise your profile and position yourself as the next big thought leader in your field. Plus, you get your name in print - what more could you ask for?

Now that it's time to write your first article, you can't even come up with a topic. There has to be something you can write about that will impress your editors and charm your readers, but how do you find it?

Don't give up yet! Fantastic article ideas are all around you. Although you don't know it yet, you probably have dozens of article ideas waiting to be developed. You just need to know where to look for them.

To get you started, here are five good ways to brainstorm topics for bylined articles:

  • Tap into your expertise. The reason you're writing a bylined article is because you are an expert in your field. As the expert, what are your primary concerns about your industry? More importantly, what are your target audience's concerns? Tap into your expertise to develop article topics that only you can write.
  • Inventory previous writing. Even though you didn't publish it all, you've written reams of content over the years. White papers, press releases, even business plans might contain threads of ideas that could easily be converted into a bylined article topic.
  • Survey the publishing landscape. Another way you can stir up article ideas is to leaf through several issues of the target publications in which you hope to publish your bylined article. In addition to generating ideas for topics, the exercise will give you a sense of each publication's unique tone and submission requirements.
  • Talk to your audience. In most cases, the audience for your articles will be your customers or your peers. Rather than blindly flailing around for article topics, ask your audience about the articles they want to read. You'll get ideas and a great narrative to use when you approach editors.
  • Ask editors. If you're really stuck for an article topic, contact editors directly and ask them if they need specific articles written for future issues. Most editorial calendars are scheduled months in advance and editors are usually open about the kinds of topics they would like to see. The only caveat is that if you do it too often, editors may get the sense that you aren't the expert you claim to be.

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Have any good ways for coming up with bylined article topics that we forgot to mention? How do you come up with topics for contributed articles? We welcome your comments, questions, and advice regarding choosing topics for bylined article submissions.

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