Don’t overlook this viable media tactic: Bylined/op-ed article

In June, I wrote about the importance of developing a communications plan and including key tactics in it for both traditional and non-traditional media. While there are numerous PR vehicles that organizations can implement as part of their strategy, it’s worth remembering a tried and true PR tactic that often gets overlooked – the bylined/op-ed article.

I would agree that sending out press releases and pitching targeted story ideas to the media (particularly as an exclusive) are powerful media tactics – especially when your strategy is on target. Yet with these tactics, you are banking on the editor/reporter to “bite” and write about it within the timeframe your client expects. However, in the instance of a bylined/op-ed piece, you are submitting a finished article to the media that is authored by a key spokesperson in your company and that hopefully has a longer shelf life.

Developing a bylined/op-ed article requires a sound strategy, and there are numerous benefits. Bylines and op-ed pieces allow you to position your company as an industry thought leader, differentiate your company from competitors, take a stance on issues important to your company and its mission, and communicate and control the message you want to deliver.

Many media outlets – including local community papers – accept and publish bylined/op-ed articles as a way to add perspective to their publications. Submitting one is rather easy: most newspapers have a general editorial e-mail address. The address is typically listed in the editorial section of the newspaper or online under the “contact us” section. If you can’t find an e-mail address, give the newspaper a call and ask there preferred method for receiving an op-ed.

Recently, we have found that even if the print addition is too “full” to accept an op-ed piece, the publication will often publish it online. There is still a benefit to this as you can re-purpose it across your social media networks and share with your company’s key constituencies, business partners, etc.

In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to provide a few examples of bylined/op-ed articles that GroundFloor Media has secured for its clients. Two of these were developed in direct response to published news (child poverty rates and an obesity survey) and one was part of a larger media strategy to support a client’s annual event.

Tennyson Center for Children: The Denver Post

LiveWell Colorado: The Denver Post

The Colorado Health Foundation*: The Gazette

*Additionally, The Denver Post, Summit Daily News and Fountain Valley News ran the piece.

~ Jen Wills