Three Ideas for Contributing a Bylined Article to Your Local Press

Contributed articles are simple and cost-effective ways to promote your services, advocate for your library, communicate a message, and build brand awareness. Theyre often used by corporations or public interest organizations to present a point of view, but they can also provide helpful information for your community.

The first step is to develop an idea for the article. For example, you may want to promote your services for job seekers, and a how-to article would be a perfect fit for this. You can write about the best practices for finding opportunities in the hidden job market.

The next step is to determine the publication that you want to pitch and contact the editor. If he or she likes the idea, you can move on to writing.

Articles can vary in length from 500 words to more than 2,000. The editor can provide guidance. Ask if you can send images or graphics to accompany the article.

Here are three ideas for crafting a contributed article:

  1. How-to. Walk through the steps of creating a prospect list for entrepreneurs or how to borrow e-books from the library.
  2. Trends. Take advantage of bigger news events or trends to advocate for your library. For example, share your results of Snapshot Day in the context of the Pew survey results.
  3. Case study. Profile one of your patrons: the entrepreneur whose business is now a success or a writer who used the library for research on a new book.

Keep in mind that both print and online publications accept contributed articles. The added benefit of contributing to an e-zine or blog is that you can promote it on your own Web site.


About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.