How to Become a Forbes Contributor with Josh Steimle

Josh Steimle

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One blog post can be worth $3 Million.

Josh Steimle wrote that blog post as a contributor for Forbes. Writing for Forbes took his business from near failure to 1400% growth in revenue. The founder of MWI Digital Marketing Firm and Influencer Inc. joins Tom Casano on this week’s podcast to discuss how to pitch a publication, the two questions you need to answer to be a contributor, and why you’ve got to be an editor’s exotic animal.

1400% INCREASE IN REVENUE

Josh’s marketing agency was just on the verge of bankruptcy when he made his best business decision yet. He asked a friend in PR how to promote his business. She connected him with Fast Company to contribute an article. And then he asked to be connected with her own editor at Forbes.

The Forbes editor liked his writing and offered Josh a spot as a contributor. He wrote the same content he was putting on his blog, ranging from entrepreneurship, business and marketing.

Six months in, he figured out how to (ethically!) generate leads with the Forbes platform. In the next year, the leads turned to sales and revenue jumped to 1400%.

So, how did he do it?

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1400% INCREASE IN REVENUE

Josh’s marketing agency was just on the verge of bankruptcy when he made his best business decision yet. He asked a friend in PR how to promote his business. She connected him with Fast Company to contribute an article. And then he asked to be connected with her own editor at Forbes.

The Forbes editor liked his writing and offered Josh a spot as a contributor. He wrote the same content he was putting on his blog, ranging from entrepreneurship, business and marketing.

Six months in, he figured out how to (ethically!) generate leads with the Forbes platform. In the next year, the leads turned to sales and revenue jumped to 1400%.

So, how did he do it?

TWO QUESTIONS

There are two questions everyone has to answer before they become a contributor:

  1. Who are you and what’s your unique focus?
  2. Who’s your audience?

Your focus is whatever differentiates you. It’s how you provide value to people. It’s likely related to what you’re selling or your job.

Your audience is who buys the products or services you’re selling.

Josh made the mistake of not focusing when he first started writing. He wrote about anything from business matters to entrepreneurship. He didn’t deeply consider his audience. People liked it, but he got zero results.

“Then, I wrote a few articles about marketing. I gave tips away based on my experience,” he explains. “Once I started giving out those tips, that’s when the leads started coming in. I realized ‘Wow, I’m onto something here.’” Focus + audience = results.

THE THREE MILLION DOLLAR BLOG POST

“I can track almost three million dollars in revenue to this one post I wrote on Forbes.”

The article?

How to hire an SEO firm.

He wrote a valuable, experienced-based article in his key focus area for his target audience. People who were Googling ‘hire an SEO firm’ were finding his Forbes article. They liked it, they were looking for a marketing SEO firm, and they hired him.

“That’s the power of having a focus and knowing who you’re going after.”

PLAN YOUR CONTENT STRATEGY

Once you know who you are and who your audience is, it’s a lot easier to create content.

Figure out where your audience is hanging out. Are they on Forbes? LinkedIn? Twitter?

Based on that channel, create content in the way your audience wants to consume it. Create content that aligns with your focus. And write with your audience in mind.

IDENTIFY & PITCH YOUR TARGET PUBLICATION

Once you’ve started creating content on your own platform, you need to figure which publication you want to write for. The answer will be based on where you find your audience.

Then, who is the editor to whom you need to pitch at that publication? You need to find the contributor editor (not the staff-writer editor).

That editor is going to ask themselves: is this someone I really want to bring into my group of writers?

Their three top qualities sought after by contributor editors:

  1. Focus
  2. Expertise
  3. Low maintenance

“Think about the editor as a zookeeper that collects exotic animals.” He wants to collect what he doesn’t yet have. He’s got great writers on staff. He’s looking for someone with a specific field that the publication doesn’t yet have.

You’ve got to the be the exotic animal they’re missing.

PITCH ELEMENTS

Your pitch should be clear, concise, compelling.

A pitch to become a contributor at Forbes or elsewhere should include:

  1. An introduction
  2. Your focus and what you can offer the editor
  3. Your personal brand (you and your audience)
  4. Examples of your writing
  5. Your platforms (website and social media)

The whole pitch should be just two to three paragraphs. People who are not prepared have this big long rambling pitch that they send in and it’s all over the place. Good pitches are short and sweet.

FOLLOW-UP

Follow up by email a week later if you haven’t heard back. If you still haven’t heard back, follow up after two weeks. After three weeks, follow up one last time.

If you haven’t heard back after three weeks, “you’ve effectively gotten a no.” So, move on and target somebody else. You can try again after a few months have passed.

KEY INSIGHTS

  • Being a contributor can increase business revenue if you’re a targeted writer.
  • Define your focus and your audience. It is key to your writing and to win your pitch.
  • Editors are busy. Show that you’re unique, experienced, and low-maintenance.

JOSH’S TAKEAWAYS

  • Editors want what they don’t yet have. Explain how you offer something unique to the publication.
  • Build up your own website, social media platforms to reflect your focus to the editor
  • If you’re trying to get the editor to do something for you, do something for the editor. Show how you can add value.

More from Josh

Josh on Forbes

Josh on Entrepreneur

Influence Summit

2018-08-28T09:53:28+00:00