Recognition goes a long way when you’re a freelance writer.
The next project often hinges on the quality of the work you’re doing now. But, if readers — including those scoping you out for a partnership — don’t know you’re the wordsmith behind the text, how can they reach out?
Today I’m making a case for getting a byline.
What’s a byline?
It’s the name you use when writing, whether real or fictional. It’s the name you’re building your writing business with and using when networking with potential publishers. Your byline is your professional writing identity.
Writers: Having your name attached to the work you do is critical for building your business and connecting with your audience with an authentic tone.
Publishers: Offering your writers bylines means they will likely share the content across social media and add it to portfolios, giving your clients and outlets more visibility.
Bylines are a win for everyone involved.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper. Writers, next time you’re negotiating a deal, ask about the byline. Will it be yours? Someone else’s name? Or, will the piece publish with no name at all? Why does this matter? Here are my thoughts.
1. Bylines link you to topics.
When a publisher is seeking people to write about their business or service, they’re looking for writers currently crushing it in the subjects and ideas that matter most to them. If your name isn’t on the things you write, these connections can’t be made.
2. Bylines show your activity.
Most publishers want to work with those who are actively in the mix of words each day. If your last bylined piece is tagged with a date of six months ago, a publisher might assume you’re no longer writing and move on to the writer with bylined content that’s published in the last few weeks.
3. Bylines build your reputation.
If you notice a writer popping up in your feed over and over again with great insight on a specific topic, you begin to trust their thoughts and research. Ditto for publishers looking to hire a writer. Linking your name to what you do bolsters your enthusiasm and credibility.
4. Bylines grow your portfolio.
Some writers only include bylined content in their portfolios, due to contractual obligations. If much of your work doesn’t carry your name, your portfolio will begin to look thin and outdated. Ask for bylines, my friend!
5. Bylines work as referrals.
More than once I’ve received emails that start out something like this. Hey, Angela! I just read your article on XYZ over on the ABC blog. I loved it! Would you be interested in doing something similar for…. Without a byline, this type of interaction can’t happen.
How do you feel about bylines? Writers, do you ask for a byline? Publishers, do you have thoughts either way about bylines? I’d love to know what the writing community thinks about this topic. Me? I’m pro byline!
Never miss a post from Web Writing Advice. Get email updates once a week by subscribing HERE. As a thank you, I’ll send you my free e-book, 18 Ways to Increase Online Writing Productivity and Earnings.