A recent report from Influence & Co. found that 97.5% of publication editors are planning to publish as much or more guest-contributed content in 2023 as last year. This means there’s even more opportunity to reach your target audiences with messages you craft and control, as well as insights and thought leadership on relevant topics.  

Contributed content, bylined articles, op-eds or guest posts are all pieces of content shared by news outlets that are written by a third-party source. Contributed content is a great way to control your message and position executives as thought leaders within an industry or on a particular trend or topic.  

Here are three best practices to follow when writing and submitting contributed content.

Be unique: Are you writing about a popular trend? If your perspective is too similar to others, it likely won’t be picked up. Think about how your insights are unique and different. Then, tie it back to your brand or organization in a clear, digestible way. Questions to ask during this process might include: Who is our audience? What’s missing from the conversation? What do I have to say that’s unique and valuable? How are my insights helping the reader? Why does it matter?  

Don’t self-promote: Contributed content drafted for third-party publications should share insights and perspective on the topic, rather than promoting your product or service. In fact, many publications don’t accept contributions with self-serving language. Instead, look for opportunities to link back to your website in a non-promotional manner, like to a recent study or to a blog post on a similar topic.  

Hyper-segment: Outlets like Business Insider, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal are often coveted placements for company leaders. While it’s possible to secure guest-authored content in these well-known publications, there are thousands of other publications you should consider for your contributed content. Hyper-local and community newspapers are ripe with opportunities for companies with a local presence. For example, we recently helped a client place 80+ op-eds with tips for its customers in newspapers across Colorado over an 18-month period. Additionally, consider trade media for sharing insights focused on a particular industry or audience segment – like this Pharmacy Times article we secured for a client spokesperson. While specialized trade publications have a smaller reach, you’re connecting with a much more relevant and valuable audience.  

Contributed content should have a place in every media relations and thought leadership strategy – especially as online media absorption increases and newsroom capacity decreases.