Profit by Publicity: Op-eds and Bylined Articles
Op-eds and bylined articles are opinion pieces published by newspapers and magazines that explain and discuss an individual’s viewpoints, observations, or experiences. They are also excellent (and free) communication tools for agents and brokers to establish or reinforce their expertise on residential and commercial real estate-related topics, and help position themselves as an authority on those matters.
These articles are also an excellent way to promote your name, expertise, credentials and contact information via the media.
For example, in 2005, Janet Leavitt, then a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker in Escondido, wrote a bylined article for San Diego Business Journal about the dangers consumers face when selling their homes without using a REALTOR®. The following copy was included at the end of her piece:
Janet Leavitt, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Prestige Properties in Escondido, Calif., San Diego County. She is one of only 1,500 Realtors worldwide designated as a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) by the National Association of Realtors.
The blurb also included her e-mail address, phone number and Web site.
It’s important to remember that most local newspapers prefer that submissions be made by people living in their readership area. Also, the space that publications reserve for these articles is quite limited, so you should read several issues of the publication to determine which topics they are most interested in covering, and ask them to send you a copy of their guidelines before you write or submit your article.
The best op-eds and bylined articles are those that:
1. Provide readers with a new, interesting, or unusual perspective on an issue, cause or topic.
2. Help to educate or inform the reader about a matter that concerns them.
3. Provide readers with information or lessons they probably would not receive anywhere else.
4. Help link the topic to local or national events, trends, or developments.
5. Are based on your experience, expertise or credentials.
6. Are written to address the needs or concerns of the readers of the publication.
7. Are usually 500 to 1,000 words in length (depends on the publication).
8. Are subject to editing and condensing with or without your approval.
9. Are submitted to one publication at a time for their consideration.
The best way to get an idea about the topics and issues that will make the best subjects for an op-ed or bylined article is to read through several recent issues of the publication where you'd like to have your article appear, pay close attention to what topics are attracting the attention of other news organizations, or try to get a sense about what the hottest topics may be during the next few days or weeks.
Once you’ve chosen a topic, however, don’t waste any time preparing the article and sending it to the editor: as with everything else, your timing can be crucial. Remember that nothing is as boring as yesterday’s news—or opinions.
For links to sample op-eds and bylined articles, go to www.ProfitByPublicity.com
Edward Segal, RCE, is the author of the Profit by Publicity series of live and online classes, audiobook and how-to-reference guide for real estate agents and brokers. Segal was the marketing strategies columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s StartUpJournal.com, a PR consultant to more than 500 clients and press secretary to members of Congress. He is now CEO of the Marin County Association of REALTORS® in San Rafael, Calif. Visit his Web site at www.ProfitbyPublicity.com
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