By Amanda DiSilvestro | Last Updated on July 15th, 2020.
When we say “top tier” we’re talking about Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and all of those publications that seem impossible to touch, yet somehow, every other company website you visit seems to have somehow been “featured in” them.
You want that stamp of approval, too, but what are the steps to make it happen?
In short, it’s important to go in knowing that it isn’t easy.
Simply pitching an article idea isn’t always going to cut it, and paying for a placement is (for the most part), a thing of the past.
Consider some of the following tips to help you find success.
Quick note before you begin: These tips assume that you are ready for the press. In other words, make sure that you have a solid story or story idea and you know how to pitch it.
Feel confident in what makes you unique or refine what you’re hoping to achieve from these top tier publications before setting out to get that mention!
Editors read – a lot. Even if you just posted what you thought was a humble blog post, if it’s interesting enough and it went viral, there may be a way to spin the piece into something bigger.
Editors love to see stories that are getting any kind of buzz and then piggybacking off of that engagement. When it comes to this tip, timing is everything, so don’t miss your opportunity!
The minute you start to get a flurry of coverage on your piece, start reaching out to these bigger publications (more on that later) to keep the momentum going.
In some cases, you may even get mentioned multiple places; especially if what you’ve written is a unique case study or piece of research.
Whatever you industry may be, make sure you’re following these big publications and sharing their content whenever you can.
Identify writers that you love in your vertical at these different publications, and start to share his/her content and tag him/her when relevant.
You don’t want to be too over the top and share something multiple times a time, but if you stay active with a few shares and tags per week, these people and places will start to notice.
Then, after you have established a following and are ready to reach out with your own pitch, you may have a leg up if they recognize you as someone who knows how to amplify a piece of content and stay engaged.
This strategy ties in a bit with the last point. While this one may sound obvious, many veteran writers out there will tell you this is the only way to get a publication to listen to you and take you seriously.
Many argue that this is more important than the actual content (although I’m sure these publications would beg to differ).
Whatever the reason, a recommendation can go a long way in getting your piece published.
These recommendations again come from trying to connect with influencers and writers, which involves doing your own research and “playing the long game” in terms of social shares, tags, and general conversations you may have.
This is probably the most difficult thing to accomplish, yet the most effective.
In my own personal experience, specifically for me with Entrepreneur and Inc. Magazine, editors want articles written by the CEO of the company.
There are so many writers out there these days building links, and it’s no surprise that it isn’t usually the CEO’s writing these articles, so this is one way that these larger publications can stand out.
As a writer, you can attempt to either pitch an article written by your CEO (and it actually should be written by him/her), or even better, coach your CEO on how to pitch the article on his/her own.
Simply being a part of different conversations in your community and at conferences in your industry can help get you noticed.
According to Forbes contributor George Anders, he “routinely asks venture capitalists, consultants, conference organizers, etc. who they’ve met lately that caught their eye.
The same holds true for college roommates, next-door neighbors, etc. Maybe 5% to 10% of their suggestions check out well, but that’s enough to generate a lot of story ideas.”
You have to do your research when it comes to writing for the big guys.
You must be a reader yourself and begin to understand which writers focus on which topics, and better yet, where the editors are and how they interact on the web.
The more informed you can be, the better your pitch will be, and the better chance you’ll have at success.
Pay attention to whether or not the writers you’re following actually work for that publication, or if they are simply guest bloggers who perhaps nabbed a stop on these publications long ago.
If the latter, you may be able to reach out via that writer’s personal website and hire him/her for their writing services. This will cost you, but it could be worth it.
Also keep in mind that part of this strategy might be listening to what the publications are telling you to do – some are very strict about not pitching editors and using their online system only.
You should respect this, which brings us to our next point.
Most of these larger publications do have applications you can fill out to become a contributor – this is also where you will learn whether or not payment is an acceptable way to get an article published.
Don’t be surprised if you get ignored the first few times, but it’s worth it to at least throw your name in the ring just in case.
Editors are supposed to look at all applications. Here are resources for some of the top tier publishers:
In the end, just keep in mind that it will take time to see success. I once had a writer tell me that he spent years connecting with an editor at Entrepreneur via social media, then sent he and his son courtside basketball tickets after meeting this editor at a conference, and only then did he get a regular column (true story!).
For myself, I sent a simple pitch to an editor there a long time ago introducing our CEO, and the rest is history.
Everyone has a difference experience when it comes to pitching the top tiers, but if you have a great case study or story that needs to get out into the world, then it’s nothing you can’t handle!