As a freelance writer, I have probably composed articles, press releases, and blog posts about every subject imaginable. I have written car reviews, explained escort services, advised on proper handling of titanium alloys, broke down step-by-step dental procedures to put the audience at ease, and dozens more. In the hundreds of articles I have written that are currently online, I have bylines for maybe 10.
There are some companies I work for that I understand I probably won’t get a byline. For example, I work for CopyPress which is an amazing website. I am one of the cogs in their content strategy machine. I get the benefit of working with quality clients, writing quality articles and having a quality team behind me to make my writing the best it can be. I would guess only 5% of the articles I have written for them have my name on them.
Surprisingly, most of my bylines come from CopyPress clients. Usually when I land a new blogging client, whether it is for one article or months of work, they usually say they can’t give me a byline. Only sites where I am a regular contributor, such as Wedding Dash, or blogs I manage, such as Matrix Cloud Technology’s or Beyond Infertility’s, am I guaranteed a byline.
Why is this? Sometimes companies have figureheads they want to showcase as experts, but that figurehead does not have the time or writing skill to accomplish blogging. These cases I understand. I go into this situation knowing I am ghostwriting and will sign the NDA willingly. It’s when companies just have a blog they want content on that I don’t understand why freelance writers can’t have a byline.
When you give your freelance writer a byline, it makes your company seem larger and more successful than it is. Your company is such an expert in the industry that you have a team of writers in-house just to spread the wealth of knowledge your company has! The more bylines you have, the better your company looks.
Some clients think it is selfish for writers to want a byline. After all, we are getting paid to sit at home and write, why do we need to have our name on it? Here is why:
- We work hard to provide the best blog or article on your industry as possible. Either we are an expert writing about your industry or we worked hard to learn everything about your industry so we could write about it knowledgeably. We are proud of our knowledge and effort and want credit for it.
- We want to build our portfolio so we can write for more people. Having our name on the content we wrote for you would help us grow as a writer, making our work for you better in the future. Giving us a byline is an investment in the quality of your content.
- Since we work from home as freelance writers, many people we know don’t understand what we do. Pointing to your content with our name on it and saying, “See?” would make our personal lives a whole lot easier!
When our name is not on the work we created, we cannot take credit for it. Even though we know we wrote it, telling clients, “I ghostwrote this piece for Company A” doesn’t matter. We could say that about a random Forbes article to make ourselves look better, for all the client knows. Without bylines, we struggle to showcase our expertise without actual proof, hurting our chances for job security. When companies don’t give freelance writers bylines, their livelihood is destroyed until they have to go into a different line of work, eliminating that writer as a valuable content contributor to the website.
If you come from a company standpoint, please share your thoughts on why writers don’t get bylines in the comments below.