Business owners are always looking for ways to get their brand and business visibility. Press, media mentions, and other forms of traditional PR have helped businesses for hundreds of years. Having your company seen in publications online with millions of readers is an effective visibility strategy.
Large publications such as Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fortune, SUCCESS Magazine, Fast Company, O Magazine (and more) offer the opportunity to instantly raise brand awareness and credibility for businesses that are featured in these publications.
Getting featured in these large publications may be a goal that has been on your list for some time. You may have even contacted a PR agency that offers that service. It’s not uncommon for PR agencies to charge $10,000 (or more) for a feature in a tier-one publication. Ouch.
We’ve helped over three thousand writers, teachers, speakers, consultants, agency owners, and online entrepreneurs get published and featured in over a hundred large publications. We’ve been published and featured in over eighty ourselves. We are also editors at the Good Men Project.
Before you invest with any PR professional offering “get featured” services, there are some things you should understand about getting featured in large publications. You should have the whole picture to make an informed decision.
The good news is that you can get featured in large publications and do it yourself if you’re willing to put in the work. If you’re a busy business owner that would prefer to invest in having someone else pursue this for you, at least have the complete picture before paying an invoice.
Six major publications (Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company, and SUCCESS Magazine) get over five-hundred million monthly visitors. They have tremendous traffic and a readership that includes corporate executives, organizations, entrepreneurs, and people looking for help in areas of their life.
When you get featured in large publications, it creates social proof and brand credibility that your ideal potential customers understand. A large publication feature can help you:
- Build your email list.
- Sell more books, products, and courses.
- Create lead generation for your coaching program or fulfillment services.
- Book paid speaking gigs.
- Book corporate consulting gigs.
- Make an impact on millions of consumers.
Part One: Understand Who’s the Best Person to Pitch at a Large Publication
On large publications, you’ll find staff (editors, staff writers, journalists) and “contributors.” There’s a difference in what each of these roles can and cannot do on a large publication. If you pitch the wrong person, all you’ll hear back is crickets.
The staff (editors, staff writers, journalists) of a large publication gets a paycheck directly from the publication and has a vested interest in putting out great content that helps the publication grow. It’s their job to find and publish good content from outside experts, and offer analysis of what’s happening in the world.
99.9% of contributors to large publications don’t work for a publication. They tend to be entrepreneurs and writers who contribute content to a publication to build their business. They see the value in publishing content on a large publication and reaching that publication’s audience.
Most large publication content comes from outside contributors — not staff. For a large publication, having contributors submit content is a great way to get quality content without having to pay an employee. For a contributor, publishing content on a large publication is a great way to build your audience in a place that already has an audience.
You can pitch a large publication’s staff (editors, staff writers, journalists). Since they have a vested interest in good content, they’re always receptive to good angles on a possible story or feature that has clear takeaways for their readers. However, staff gets pitched thousands of times each week. It’s tough to break through all the noise.
With a pitch to the staff of a large publication, your angle would have to tie into a trending story or source of ongoing news. A pitch about a general story (or your story) that doesn’t tie into anything newsworthy is likely to get ignored. The staff of a large publication is looking for page views and trending topics that people are searching for.
To get featured, and do it quicker, the most effective option is to pitch a “contributor.” Contributors produce most of the content on a large publication, and they don’t work for the publication. You can reach a contributor quickly and grab their attention far easier than you could with staff.
Contributors don’t have a vested interest in publishing newsworthy topics. They publish articles in large publications about everything and anything. You can approach a contributor with your story, something interesting in your life, or someone you know would capture their attention.
You can find a contributor’s contact information much easier (usually on their personal website) and have a pitch in their inbox today (wait until you’re done reading this post). It’s a smoother approach to getting featured in a large publication.
Part Two: How to Pitch a Large Publication Feature
Before you run off and start pitching contributors, there are a few more things to understand. A contributor’s primary purpose for creating content for large publications is to help build their business. For this reason, most entrepreneurs and PR agencies approach contributors in a way that’s not relevant or appealing to them.
A “good story” or the fact that you’re a rock star isn’t what appeals to a contributor. They ignore those pitches because they don’t see a mutual benefit. Remember, a contributor’s goal is to use large publications for lead generation and build their business. Featuring someone doesn’t necessarily help those goals.
We get approached every day by people or organizations that want us to feature them. As you contribute to publications, you will get these messages. The approach is:
“I see you wrote this article about a certain topic. I want to let you know I can be a resource, or I can help you with a follow-up article.”
That approach doesn’t work for a contributor because our main goal is to build our audience and business. If we wrote an article about a particular topic, it was for a purpose. A “follow-up piece or another resource” is not the best approach for most contributors. If you want to get featured, you have to approach a contributor in a way in which they can see benefits for the feature.
BUT, you can’t offer to pay for links, mentions, or features. That is ILLEGAL and a publication will blacklist the contributor (and person that paid). NOT worth it.
Does it happen? Sure, but the large publication eventually finds out. Don’t risk your reputation for what feels like a quicker way to get featured in a large publication. Don’t fall for promises from PR professionals that seem too good to be true — they usually are. Most large publication contributors won’t risk the multiple six-figure opportunities that large publications provide for the chance to get a quick couple of bucks.
You can’t pay and a great story or angle will not get a contributor’s attention. A stronger approach would be to offer value a contributor understands.
Part Three: How to Pitch a Feature That Gets Accepted on a Large Publication
There are some LEGAL ways to offer a mutual benefit to a contributor of a large publication in exchange for a feature. Consider using any or all of these strategies to get featured on a large publication.
1. Offer to promote the featured article to X number of people on your networks.
If you have a following and or a decent email list, you can offer more exposure for the article, and by extension, that contributor. More exposure and page views for large publication articles are always good.
When a large publication article does well, the contributor gets better placement and more opportunities to contribute. That helps the contributor get more opportunities to grow their business. They will be responsive to that offer.
For example, Entrepreneur .com has three types of contributors. “Writer”, “Contributor”, “VIP Contributor.” Kimanzi is a “VIP Contributor” at Entrepreneur. He’s been writing articles there since 2014. He’s on their homepage of Entrepreneur dot com right now.
To get from writer to VIP contributor at Entrepreneur dot com, your articles need to crush it every time they’re published. You need some viral ones. The articles need exposure. That is why an offer for more exposure to more people (through your networks) is an appealing offer.
When you offer the chance to give a contributor more reach for their articles, that helps them go up levels at a publication. This approach appeals to contributors — especially if you have a large network.
2. Offer to run paid advertising to the featured article.
The same principle applies here. When you run paid ads to a contributor’s article, it gives more exposure to the article and contributor. A small investment in ads goes a long way. And, this is ethical because you’re not paying for the feature. You’re offering a way for the article, contributor, and large publication to get more exposure.
Even large publications like it when someone is willing to pay for advertising to increase the reach of an article. You don’t have to offer to spend a thousand dollars. A few hundred bucks can bring a lot more exposure to a large publication article, and by extension, you and your business in that publication. It’s great brand credibility.
3. Offer an in-depth look at something a contributor wrote about in the past.
If a contributor wrote about building funnels, offer a glimpse into one of your successful funnels. If they wrote about mindset challenges, offer them the opportunity to see content, studies, case studies from an expert (or from you) on mindset stuff.
Give the contributor what they might not have access to. Share content and information you don’t share publicly that could help strengthen their article.
4. Pitch newer large publication contributors.
Seasoned contributors create content based on a content plan. We know what we’re going to write about. A newer contributor probably doesn’t have all that figured out yet. When you can offer ideas and angles that lead to several pieces of content for a contributor, they’re going to be willing to listen.
Find the contributors to large publications with only one to three articles published. They’re about to enter their contributorship journey and will be hungry for new good ideas. Offer them content by featuring what you teach.
Show them a specific angle that aligns with what they write about. Don’t make this about you, your book, your course, or whatever. Neither staff nor contributors will care about any of that. Make this about how featuring you, around some specific angle, leads to value for the publication’s audience.
Focus on the value, takeaways, and how your expertise fits. This is always about publishing interesting stories, but the article has to have practical takeaways for the reader. Help a newer large publication contributor craft that angle for an article and you could get featured on a large publication.
Part Four: Get to Work
You can approach the staff at a large publication with a solid story or angle for an article. But, a better approach is to pitch contributors to get featured. Look for the “contributors” on any large publication that you want to be featured in. That’s what the “Get Featured” companies and some PR agencies do.
PR professionals have relationships with contributors and they approach new contributors. You can approach contributors and be featured on a large publication with the right approach, and without paying someone else.
- Go to a large publication that you’d like to get featured on.
- Search your topic in the search bar.
- Look at the articles that pop up.
- Identify which articles were written by contributors.
- Go to that contributor’s personal website.
- Do your research on what the contributor covers.
- Get their contact information on their personal website.
- Send the contributor an email pitch (social media pitches tend to get ignored) using one of the approaches we listed.
When you approach contributors, lead with the value that would appeal to them. You can and should get featured in large publications and use them to build your business.
What is one large publication you’d like to get featured in?
If you’d like to know the exact steps and process, plus get ongoing support and lots of templates, check out our Published & Paid community.