How to Become a Forbes Contributor- Our Insider Secrets

How to Become a Forbes Contributor- Our Insider Secrets

In this podcast, we teach you how to become a Forbes contributor. If you’ve ever wanted to become a guest contributor to top-tier publications like Forbes, we give you our insider secrets in this edition of The Otter Show. Also, learn how to get started writing for your own blog and increase your SEO, which all gets you the results you’re looking for in terms of coverage. We’re also still looking for a clever name for this podcast, and there’s a special offer for those of you who can come up with one at the end of this episode.

Jack Shell 0:00
Jack and Dr. J. And we’ve yet to come up with a catchy title for the otter PR podcast. Welcome. And thank you for listening jack shell publicist, otter public relations in Florida, a leading PR firm, with our founder Jay Feldman, the co founder with Scott Bartnick. But he’s our co host again this week. And boy, oh, boy, Jay, we get this question all the time. Because one of the biggest things that we do is we work with lots of thought leaders and entrepreneurs who want to get their name out. The best way to do that is to become a contributor to a publication like I don’t know, Forbes, but that doesn’t necessarily come so easy. And I’m gonna learn about this, just like you who is listening to this podcast right now. Jay’s got the inside track.

Jay Feldman 0:51
It’s gonna be fun episode two as well. And we’re hitting some really fun topics. And you know, as a leading PR agency, there’s a lot of different strategies that we have to use in order to get our clients media coverage. And like, you know, as a publicist, everyone’s first question as a client, how do I get into Forbes? How do I get these top tiers? And they don’t even know what that means. I can’t even contextualize it

Jack Shell 1:12
before I worked here. I didn’t know what that meant. That’s funny.

Jay Feldman 1:16
I’m glad you learned. And yeah, you know, getting into Forbes, getting into these top tiers is great. It’s great to get mentioned, it’s great to have a subject matter expert byline there. But what’s even better, and especially on a long term standpoint, is actually writing for these publications. And people think that it’s out of reach, it’s something crazy that they aren’t going to be able to do. But it’s a strategy, as you know, that we apply to our clients at otter all the time. And it’s really easy to replicate, as long as you have expertise in something right. And you don’t even have to be a good writer to do it. Know exactly. And that’s the magical part about it. especially nowadays, yeah, being able to kind of outsource the writing, it’s really just getting your ideas out onto paper, and you can even outsource the ideas sometimes. Sure. Now, people think this is so hard to do, like, why would Forbes want you writing for them? And that that is the case, you know, if you’ve never written anything before, and you’re a nobody, and you don’t have anything to share, then you write for Forbes isn’t gonna let you right there. Yeah, there’s not letting anybody in that club? No, no, it is it’s a club. It’s an elitist club. And it’s becoming harder and harder to get into. But there’s a lot of loopholes, there’s ways around it. And there’s ways to build up your portfolio do tell as a contributor before going to Forbes and saying, hey, you need me, you need me writing for you and, and actually making that happen. And we’re going to talk about some of the strategies that we use to get our clients in the door. We’re gonna

Jack Shell 2:43
have Forbes begging for you to write for them before this podcast is through begging, if you

will listen to the guarantee, the editor in chief there is going to come groveling at your force your doorstep, otter PR,

what do you have for me this week?

Jay Feldman 2:58
Alright, so how do you actually, you know, become a contributor? Yeah. Where do you start? Give us the story? And that’s usually the The question is, well, how do I go from from this to that? starting from zero? Yes, you, you’re going to need to show them you can write and that you can drive traffic and views. That’s what they essentially care about. They want to let you into their club, if you can bring an audience to them. So having an audience to begin with helps a lot. But you don’t need it. If you can prove that you write content that brings in traffic that ranks well, then you’re going to have it in so you need to figure out first where you’re going to write and contribute. Your first one is not going to be formed to tell you that

Jack Shell 3:36
No, probably not. You know, I’ll be lucky to get my article published on some guy’s blog.

Some guys blog. There you go.

That’s a great place. Really? Oh, wow. Okay, so we’re getting somewhere, then. Yeah,

Jay Feldman 3:47
no, you think I’m kidding. It’s your own blog. Oh, okay. Or you write for a lot of these open source publications like medium where anyone can sign up and be a contributor. And those articles medium as, as a publication as a media channel actually has really good SEO, what is medium? So It’s an open source blogging platform, essentially, you can go on you make up make your account. And now it’s kind of like you have your own website and your own blog. Why would I ever having to do any of the heavy lifting, designing your own site, and you get to kind of ride on the back of the work they’ve already done on their Seo? So if you are able to do the keyword research, produce a good piece of content, there’s a good chance that article is going to rank and drive

Jack Shell 4:29
traffic and keyword is the key word here.

Jay Feldman 4:33
Yeah, exit now, exactly. You can’t understate the importance of doing the due diligence beforehand. Yes,

Jack Shell 4:39
knowing what your SEO keywords will help you get better results in search engines, search engine optimization. For those of you not in the know SEO.

Jay Feldman 4:48
That’s correct. And when you’re approaching someone like Forbes, an editor, or you’re applying for one of their counsel positions, which we’ll talk about later on. It’s important for them to know that you know how How to do that keyword research and you know how to keyword optimize an article, they care about one thing and that’s traffic, they want traffic to their outlet, if you’re putting together a piece of work that you’ve researched that keyword, you know what it’s going to rank for. And you’re able to apply that keyword and that keyword density appropriately. And let them know, this is what I’m trying to rank this article for. We expect it to drive this much traffic that’s get this much search volume every month, then they’re gonna want you writing for their publication. But it’s important to learn how to do that there’s a couple of really good tools SpyFu, I use Rank Tracker, SEO tools where you can dig into these keywords and figure out what you’re going to write about based on that.

Jack Shell 5:38
Wow, this is very fascinating stuff. So the keywords that you come up with, you put them in the article, and then boom, the search engines can find this story and the more that it gets hits, Am I understanding this correctly? The higher it ranks in the search.

Jay Feldman 5:56
Yeah. And piggybacking on something like for feel so smart. Forbes has really high domain authority, Google knows that they are a credible, authoritative source, anything that they publish is important.

Jack Shell 6:09
What else is a credible authority? So Wikipedia? So we rank things on Wikipedia, it comes up immediately, do you type in anything.

Jay Feldman 6:17
So we rank a lot of media sites and publications based on a metric called domain authority or page authority, okay. Whereas Forbes is like a 95, out of 100. Wikipedia is a 100 was the highest authority website on the internet. And you can put anything on Wikipedia. You can, but there’s editors that will tear it down. there anyways, the reason I made this point about SEO research and things like that Is it really is important not just to know how to write, but to know how to get traffic to what you write. And if you publish it on your blog, chances are, it’s not going to get any traffic be right because you have no domain authority. Google knows that your blog is not important. It’s not going to show that article.

Jack Shell 6:55
You’re one of a zillion blogs out there. And sorry, Charlie, and but being able to show that

Jay Feldman 6:59
you can do this and explain to an editor that you can do this is very important. That’s that’s one of the key things that they look for, in addition to you bringing your own audience saying, Listen, I have a million followers on social media, whatever I publish, I will be sharing that article on social media to drive new traffic to the publication. So that’s another way that you can offer value to that editor other than I know how to do SEO research. It’s I’m bringing this massive audience to everything that I write.

Jack Shell 7:23
So start organically start your own blog, learn about SEO, learn about what keywords would help propel your article in terms of social media and search engine optimization. And then the more you write, the better the writer you become. And then you’re on your way to contributor ship that Forbes automatically do you get

right there. Yeah. And we’ll get into that.

I’m going to start writing right now. Jay? Yeah, please

Jay Feldman 7:49
do. And I hope everyone’s taking some notes here. Because a good place to start is exactly that getting things published on really easy. Easy wins. Okay, medium, mom blogs, or dad blogs, whatever. Make your own blog. It’s not that hard nowadays, things like thrive global.

Jack Shell 8:07
What is that the average listener,

Jay Feldman 8:08
it’s owned by Arianna Huffington, same owners have Huffington Post, but it’s a much more open, open source kind of free blog publication. They don’t accept all content. And they don’t accept all contributors. But it’s a very easy place to start. Even when you haven’t published anything. If you write something and submit it there, there’s a pretty good chance that now you can be a contributor at thrive global. This was the first application that I ever started writing for. And a lot of those articles actually do really well. They generate good traffic,

Jack Shell 8:37
Google Dr. Jay Feldman, it will break the internet. Please don’t

Jay Feldman 8:42
do anything other than thrive global. There’s some other really strong places to start business to community calm is a good one. USA wire is a good one. Mentors collective is a good one. And if you apply to any of those outlets, let me know we’ll get you in the door. But just start publishing, it’s good to have five to 10 pieces of work with your name on it on different publications before you approach some of these more top tiers. And now we’ll get into how to actually get in with the top tiers. Once you’ve done all the the initial hard work, you learned how to write where to publish, you know how to drive SEO traffic to these articles. You’re either bringing your own audience or you’re doing some really good keyword research. Now you’ve got all these pieces in place, right? How do you actually take that and then start writing for things like Forbes entrepreneur, Inc, Fast Company?

Jack Shell 9:32
Tell me Jay, you’re ready. Yes, I ready. If you don’t have a piece of paper and a pencil out right now you’re gonna want to get this and take notes.

Jay Feldman 9:42
Alright, so here’s the secret and each outlet has their own, you know, secret in and not everyone does this, but a lot of them have clubs, special clubs, really? Yeah. So Forbes, for example. Start with that one. Oh, this is like the council. So right. We’re gonna run through all of the clubs that are leaves that are really powerful.

Jack Shell 10:01
Is there any kind of initiation for these clubs or

Jay Feldman 10:05
yet and they’re they’re actually exclusive Believe it or not. Wow, okay. Yeah, you get a jacket with a crest. I’ll make one for you. Okay.

Jack Shell 10:14

Jay Feldman 10:15
So the Forbes has when they called the Forbes Council, yeah. And these council members are highly successful entrepreneurs, CEOs are subject matter experts in various topics, big shots, big shots with something positive to share with some sort of subject matter expertise. And there’s a formal application process that you can go through. But as long as you meet some minimum requirements, believe it’s like a minimum, I don’t want to cite the numbers, but they want to know how much you do in revenue per year, they want to know what your subject matter expertise is, they want to know what you want to write about. And they want to see examples of stuff that you’ve written before. So through this application, you get are accepted to the Forbes Council, you pay a small initiation fee, I think they just changed it from like 1000 to 1500 bucks for the year. So relatively speaking, minuscule compared to the value that you’re going to get, chances are,

Jack Shell 11:04
you’re probably applying for a Forbes council position, you might even have 15 $100 laying around,

Jay Feldman 11:10
I hope so right? Because the you know, the benefits from that you get from it in terms of branding, in terms of authority and credibility, being on that Council and being published in Forbes, not just being being featured in Forbes, but doing the publishing on Forbes, gives you a whole other level of you know, power and respect. And you’re able to publish every other week, think it’s twice a month, wow, as much as you want forever, you’re not gonna get kicked out of this council, you do have to keep paying the initiation fees. But then moving from a council member to full time, maybe not full time contributor, but contributor status is much easier.

Jack Shell 11:46
And that’s where the big bucks start rolling in it,

Jay Feldman 11:49
they actually recently stopped paying as well as they used to, but I mean,

Jack Shell 11:52
overall, your ROI will will come to benefit you

Jay Feldman 11:56
much more freedom to post whatever you want without very close watch from an editor, which is a lot of power, and more more frequency. And you can even have your own column and start to earn money contributing for Forbes. But the key is to get in the club, show that you can produce quality content that drives traffic. And that’s the key thing here. Make sure that your content is driving traffic. And then you ask your editor to consider you to be a full time contributor.

Jack Shell 12:22
A lot of these people that you see on television news programs started out doing just that. They were guys that were writing for blogs, and they wrote their own blogs and their blogs got picked up by bigger news organizations because the SEO traffic help drive their their stories in Google, what have you. And then boom, huffpost picked him up, boom, Yahoo picked him up, whoever and now look at them. They’re all over the TV. They’re all over CNN, MSNBC, they’re there on Fox Business. And that’s what our goal is here to get our clients in front of those same cameras, that the same people that you’re watching on a nightly basis are in front of as well. Exactly. It’s all about the ability to drive traffic. And that’s how it’s done. That’s how.

Jay Feldman 13:04
So Forbes specifically, that’s a question we get all the time. But there’s a lot of other clubs, per se, where you can do the same thing. And if you’re denied from Forbes, there’s other opportunities to go out and apply for other ones, prove that you can drive traffic and then go back to Forbes. Well,

Jack Shell 13:20
you know, vice versa. Let’s say Forbes is a little you know, out of reach for some folks, what’s another good one? So

Jay Feldman 13:25 that’s my kind of preference for contribution. I contributed regularly, a lot of our clients are contributors, entrepreneurs, and we’re tight with the the editor in chief at entrepreneur. Yeah, we know these guys. Yeah. So anyways, entrepreneurs is called the entrepreneur Leadership Network, and you can Google it, and you can apply directly on that form. I believe the qualifications are a little bit less stringent than they are in Forbes. But they give you pretty much the same ability, it’s 1000 bucks a month, 1000 bucks a year 15 or 1500 bucks a year, I think they may have changed it recently, too. And I pretty much have a ongoing stream of articles being reviewed by an editor and published Wow, without hardly any changes being made. It’s it’s a really strong opportunity.

Jack Shell 14:07
And you know, for what you can’t write, we know people that can write it for you, you can see ideas. We have an incredible writing teams here at otter PR that can put your ideas into fantastic paragraphs that people will enjoy reading. And then organizations like this will enjoy publishing which will then get you out there. And that’s the whole name of the game.

Jay Feldman 14:28
Absolutely. And yes, there’s the Do It Yourself version, which is you’re listening to this and you want to save a few bucks and try and try and do this on your own which is totally

Jack Shell 14:36
possible. Yeah. Good. It takes a lot of work. Yeah, you got to do the writing.

Jay Feldman 14:39
Got to learn how to do the keyword research. You have to make the connections you have to do the applications. And it’s it is a lot and you don’t have those friendships that we’ve got. That helps you Yeah, the Editor in Chief An entrepreneur can certainly helpful, but that’s the entrepreneur route in is to the entrepreneur Leadership Network. And then there’s another one it’s actually really interesting where I was denied because I believe it’s on both Founder of a PR company and they thought I had malicious intent or wanted to do promotional thing. All

Jack Shell 15:04
these people don’t know who they’re dealing with here. Dr. Jay Feldman for crying out loud. I

Jay Feldman 15:09
don’t know what they’re missing, right. But the other really, really strong one that I’m going to go back for one day is the young entrepreneurs Council.

Jack Shell 15:17
And that would be a good one for you. And Scott. Yeah, absolutely. It’s the under 40.

Jay Feldman 15:20
There’s a minimum revenue requirement. But that gives you the ability to publish on ink and on Forbes, as another big and one of the big in this.

Jack Shell 15:31
Yeah. I mean, you got Forbes you got ink. What else is another one? I mean, in that in that same tier,

Jay Feldman 15:37
so you’re talking about Fast Company, Fast Company, one, accept a lot of guest contribution, they don’t have a club that I know about. But they do if you were to submit a finished piece of work to with one of their editors, there’s a good chance that they end up doing a guest post by you, they’ll get your name, they’ll put it there, they’ll say desk contribution, they’ll publish your work. So Fast Company TechCrunch is another popular one that everybody wants to be seen in. So those are five there’s probably 20 of the top top tiers that people you know really want to become contributors at Rolling Stone actually just opened up one what Yeah, Rolling Stones got a club. Now, get out of here. It’s open to pretty much any lifestyle influencer musician, but they’re also very selective, really. And it’s a relatively new thing. So for anyone listening right now, if you think you might have a lifestyle following and already have some some strong backing and experience in the writing world go apply for Rolling Stone, these things only get harder with time.

Jack Shell 16:35
And that’s such a broad topic, lifestyle, but boy that you can write about anything and become a thought leader really in any kind of category. And we’ve discussed this on last week’s podcast. And of course, we’re we’re kind of experts around this topic here at otter public relations, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. This is how you get your name out there.

Jay Feldman 16:53
Yep. And it’s really just about building an online presence, establishing credibility and driving traffic to whatever your company or endeavor is, which is and this is the best way to do it, in my opinion. Wow,

Jack Shell 17:05
this is fascinating stuff. I’m learning things I hope you listening are also learning stuff here. And if you have any questions about how to get yourself published, how to get your name out there, you just vitesse at otter you everything you need to know about what we do. We have videos all over the internet to I mean, aside from this podcast that you’re listening to, we’ve got videos on YouTube, we got a tic tac channel, we’ve got anything that you want to learn about PR, we give you the dirty secrets, you can do the work yourself, it may not be that easy for you. But when you hire us, we make it easy. We give you that we hold your hand for the whole process.

Jay Feldman 17:41
Yep, absolutely true. And if you want to try to do it yourself technique as well and you’re starting from scratch, and you want to find a publication to start contributing for reach out to us we’ve got a couple free ones where you can start contributing your knowledge sharing your thoughts and expertise on things like USA really strong publication really going to ground you and give you some bargaining once you go approach editors at Forbes

Jack Shell 18:05
and such every journey begins with the first step. Absolutely. JACK. I

Jay Feldman 18:09
think this was a fun one. Yeah, I

Jack Shell 18:11
agree. I learned a lot and I hope you listening also learned a lot. I mean, your first step in this journey is to contact us in otter PR everything is right there on our website otter PR calm you can see Jays handsome face our co founder Scott Bartnick equally handsome face, learn about all of us publicists and find out all the amazing things we do to get your name and your word out. And there are many roads to success and avenues that we can take you down. And it just starts with a phone call and an appointment with this guy right here. He’s got the answers and what he doesn’t know. You know, we provide do so it’s a big team effort around here. I’ve never worked with a more collaborative group of individuals in my entire life. And, you know, we’re always working together to make sure that our clients are happy and getting the public the publicity that they deserve.

Jay Feldman 18:58
Yeah, very important. And if you’re listening to this episode, or have listened to the last episode, and found value in it, I’m gonna do something as a co founder of otter and I’m gonna do a free feature article for you if you subscribe and drop a review on this podcast nice, like brand new could really use the help. So if you found any value here, please leave us a review, hopefully a five star one and then send us a screenshot or you can send it to us on Instagram. And we’ll do a free feature article for you and one of our one of our partner publications.

Jack Shell 19:28
And if you can come up with a clever name for it. We’ll give you two articles about that.

Jay Feldman 19:32
Sounds good. We’ll name it on episode. Yeah, it’s true if you if you come up with the name.

Jack Shell 19:39
I just threw this out there. Jay is probably gonna have a fit after this whole thing is over. Well, I didn’t tell you that I’ll back you up on. Always a pleasure. This has been fun. Thank you for listening and or even watching and we’ll be back again next week with more inside tips on the public relations world from Jay Feldman and myself jack shell. Thank you We’ll see you next time.

Tags: contributor, forbes, publications, write for forbes

Meet The Host

Picture of Jack Shell

Jack Shell

Jack Shell is a seasoned media professional with over twenty years of experience writing and has been an air personality on some of America’s biggest radio stations. He is a creative mind, a voice-over talent, a writer, a gourmet cook, and daddy to two cats.

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