Marketing Bootcamp

5 Steps to Write a Winning Bylined Article

Bylined articles are a great way for an individual to bring attention to their organization and establish credibility in their field. After all, who doesn’t sit down with their morning coffee and read a few things before starting their day?

Here are five ways to write a winning bylined article:

1. Come up with a catchy headline.

The headline is often the reason audiences will read an article. According to Copyblogger, eight out of 10 people will read a headline, but only two out of 10 will continue on to read the body. Translation: the headline is crucial to getting audiences to read an article.

Related: Strategic Tips for Writing Contributed Articles

Think about the use of puns, numbers or questions to create a catchy headline, and brainstorm as many different options as possible. Try to come up with one conveying the topic of the article in an interesting way. Use the headline to speak to audiences and grab their attention.

For inspiration, check out this blog post about the psychology behind headlines. After all, it doesn’t matter how good an article is if no one reads it.

2. Know the outlet.

Really know the outlet and what kind of bylined articles they publish, and tailor the article for the outlet’s needs. Most websites will have guidelines as to what they expect from guest posts or articles. Look for those and use them when writing the piece.

Or, if the article is already written, research what outlet would be the best fit. Keep in mind things such as who the best audience for the piece is and what outlets cater to those audiences.

3. Don’t be too wordy.

Every outlet will have a different word count, but aim for 500 to 700 words. Every word should count because the average reader has an attention span of about eight seconds, according to Statistic Brain. That means the more succinct and meaty the piece, the better it will do.

Related: The 4 Most Persuasive Words in the English Language

The introduction should especially be very clear and get the point across in the minimal amount of words, simply because the introduction sets the tone for the whole piece and tells the reader what it’s about.

4. Research what’s been covered before.

Researching what’s already been published about the topic is the first step to writing any article. Just because an idea may seem good or relevant to an organization doesn’t necessarily mean an article should be written about it. It may have been covered before and it will be hard for a new piece to cut through the clutter and bring new insights to the table.

Knowing what’s been done can trigger ideas about a new way to approach a topic. Is there a fresh perspective to be offered?

5. Support writing with research and statistics.

Make sure the article is a mixture of original insights, expertise and statistics. Use research, studies and figures -- all of which are available online. Incorporating this information will back up a viewpoint to prove it’s credible.

If possible, use research from within the past few years, making sure it’s from a credible institution (Google Scholar is a good place to start, as well as the Pew Research Center), and always remember to cite any sources used.

There’s no way to guarantee an article will be published or read. However, by using these tips, individuals and organizations can create winning bylined articles that will stand a chance of cutting through the Internet clutter and reaching audiences.

What are other ways to grab reader attention and write a winning article?

Related: 4 Hacks for Writing an Article That Sounds Genius (And Actually Is)