Write for Entrepreneur.com, Fortune.com, Inc.com & Huffington Post to Establish Credibility & Build Your Email List With Lain Ehmann
Welcome to yet another edition of the Real Fast Results podcast! Today you’ll have the chance to learn more about how you can further build your platform and your fan base as an author, speaker, content provider, coach, or even a consultant. No matter what it is that you do, it’s important for you to have a community of people that know, like, and trust you.
People aren’t going to buy from you unless they have faith that you know what you are talking about and that you can help them. Something that you can do, in order to establish more credibility and a bigger audience base, is to start writing for major business-related publications, such as Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, Huffington Post, etc. Today, our special guest is Lain Ehmann. Let’s see what she has to say.
Today’s Promise: Stand Out To Editors
I would say that our promise today is to give you the best possible chance of getting a piece of your own submitted, and hopefully picked up, by the editors of these publications. We can’t guarantee anything because it’s in someone else’s hands, but we’ll help you cut through the masses and make your pitch or submission stand out to these editors.
Authority Bling: Establishing Credibility
If you are a coach, a consultant, an author, a speaker, and you want to raise your visibility, you want to build your platform up higher, having that “seal of approval” from Entrepreneur.com, from Fortune, from Success, that helps establish you and helps your audience trust you. I call it “Authority Bling,” when they go to your website and they see “As Seen on Huffington Post” or “As Seen on…” whatever the magazine would be for your particular industry. It conveys authority to you, based on the trust that the viewer might have with these other magazines.
If you can say, “I’ve been on Oprah,” that right there is like your “Golden Ticket”. Also, you can bring in new viewers because if your piece is on one of these publications, websites, or print editions, people can find you that way as well. So, there’s a “double bang for your buck” there when you have that authority conveyed upon you. People will see that and come back to you. In my experience, the ones that I write for, do give you the opportunity to plug yourself in somehow, whether it’s saying “Bestselling Author of…” or “Find out more at…”.
The Process Of Getting Published
The process of getting published now has never been easier; when we’re talking about getting published in a publication like Entrepreneur or Inc. When I started, I actually was a journalist for many, many years, before I established my online business, and before that time, you had to send in a pitch. You had to type it up on, sometimes a real typewriter, print it out, propose your article, send it to the editor in an envelope, with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and they usually would just say, “Not interested,” stick it back in and send it back to you.
This was a process of 6, or 8, or 12 weeks, and it was excruciating! The idea now that I can email someone and get a response in a matter of minutes, sometimes, is just incredible. Also, they aren’t limited by the print publication. Most of the publications that we see now on the newsstand at Barnes & Noble, or we subscribe to in the mail, have print editions, but they also have unlimited space online. So, it’s so much easier now than it was 10 years ago. I just want to tell people that this is the Golden Age of being able to be published in these publications because they do need this endless stream of fresh content.
I was a journalist. I established an online business. Now my specialty is in content strategy, particularly focusing on launch periods, so helping people gear up for launching a class, or product, or membership site, or whatever it might be. In order to provide more value to my clients, I wanted to get published in these magazines, so that I could tell them how to do it. Also, to raise my visibility as well.
Step 1 – Referral
There are five steps, and I’m an author, so I love alliteration. The five steps all begin with “R.” The first step is to get a referral if you can.
Just like anything else, if you can get a referral, if you can get somebody’s name, that’s going to put you a step up. It’s not necessary, but just like with anything else in business, if you can open that door before you step through, it helps a little bit.
Step 2 – Research
The second step is to do your research. This is a great opportunity, and you don’t want to just throw something at it to see if it sticks. You want to practice due diligence to make sure that you’re leveraging the opportunity correctly. That’s why I suggest that people do research.
Know that if you’re in the business market, how Inc.com differs from Entrepreneur, differs from Fortune, differs from Forbes. How do those interact with each other? They each have their own angle. What is it? What kind of piece would belong in Entrepreneur versus Inc.? You look at them, and they look very similar, but there are nuances, and knowing that is really going to give you a step up.
Step 3 – Relevant
After you’ve gotten a referral, if you can, and you’ve done a little research to know where you fit well and what the differences are among those publications, you want to make sure that you propose something that’s relevant to that publication. For instance, Business Insider is an online publication that’s pretty high-profile. They have a very specific spin on things, and something that would go in Business Insider probably would not appear in Fortune Magazine. Or, if it were the same topic, it would be a completely different angle.
You want to make sure, if they cover from A-K in the alphabet, you don’t want to suggest something that is RST. You want to keep it within their area, and you want to make sure that what you propose is relevant to them and to their readers. What I suggest, also, is when you’re contacting them, you let them know that you have done your research, and you can even say, “I have a piece that’s similar to the piece that you published on [XXX Date], but it’s different because I took this angle on it.”
Step 4 – Remarkable
That leads into the fourth “R”, which is remarkable. It’s got to be relevant, but it’s also got to be remarkable. You don’t want to propose something that they’ve already covered, and you don’t want to propose something that’s just “ho-hum”. You know, it’s just another article on “10 Ways to XYZ”. You want it to be very different. You want it to be remarkable in some way, but still relevant.
Let’s say that you’re a triplet, and you’re in business with your siblings. That would be remarkable. Not only could you talk about how family dynamics work within the business world, or the entrepreneurial world, but how you would do that when you’re a triplet. That’s a little bit unusual, but I think it shows you what I’m talking about. You’re looking for a unique spin. You want to find something that only you could write about for whatever reason.
There’s a really popular author who has written several books on what it’s like to be a doctor. He’s got a unique spin on it because he’s not just talking about the medical world from 10,000 feet. He’s talking about it like a guy who is actually talking about people. That’s just another example of finding a unique spin. What is the book, what is the article, what is the blog post? What is the one that only you can write and make yourself stand out that way?
Step 5 – Respected
You have the referral, the research, making it relevant, making it remarkable, and then the fifth piece is to make sure that you present yourself as a respected expert. They want to know that you know what you’re talking about. When an editor gets an inquiry, or a pitch, or an email from you, whatever you want to call it, he or she knows, “Oh my gosh! Dan Hall has been in business for X number of years and has produced 16 different podcasts, and he’s interviewed people like this, this, and this.” He or she, reading that, already knows, “Hey, this guy knows what he’s talking about.”
So if you see these as hurdles that you need to jump, it’s just one more. The question is going to be in their mind, “Okay, this is a great story, but does this person have the authority that our readers are going to want to see.” You’re going to position yourself that way.
If you’re writing about business, you’re going to talk about how you’re experienced in the business. If you’re writing about health and fitness, you want to talk about that you ran a gym for ‘X number’ of years, or you’re a personal trainer, or you’re certified in whatever it might be. Again, you’re just showing your expertise.
How To Get A Referral
Ask People. If you’re in a mastermind group or some kind of networking group, ask people, “Hey, do you know anyone who has written for these publications,” or “Have you written for them,” or “Do you know anybody that works for this magazine,” or “Do you know anybody who has experience with publications?” The person you know might not know anything about it, but they might know someone who does. You know how interconnected we are now. Everyone is just a few steps away from everybody, so ask within your network about that.
Find out who is working at that site via LinkedIn and see if there’s any connection that they have. LinkedIn shows you graphically. If you type in “Arianna Huffington,” it will tell you if you have connections with Arianna Huffington, and if so, how many steps are within the two of you.
That is invaluable because you can actually see the connection. And, even if you don’t have a direct connection, maybe you have someone who works in advertising at Entrepreneur. You have to dig into it a little bit, but there’s always the connections there.
You might have to take more steps between than someone else might have to, but they’re there. Also, a lot of journalists and editors are on Twitter. That seems to be their preferred social media platform. So, track them down and start to follow them and create your own connection. That’s always the best. I think if you could directly connect with this person, and they know who you are without a referral, that’s even better. There’s always ways to establish that.
Tips: Research And Relevant
I think that #2 and #3 really go together. The ‘research’ and the ‘relevant.’ Based on the research, you’re going to figure out what’s relevant and what isn’t. It’s not complicated because you can go on their websites and see what’s there. Entrepreneur.com shows you the top 50 most popular posts. So ,you can see right there, not only what they’re covering, but what people are reading.
They are going to want you to emulate exactly what their success formula is. If you know any post that is about financing gets a lot of views, and any post about business etiquette isn’t very popular, then you don’t want to submit the business etiquette piece, you want to submit the financing piece. That’s because you want them to say, “This is exactly what we use. This is exactly what I need.”
It also helps a ton, when you are proposing your topics. I actually propose them as an article with a headline, and if I see that 9 out of the 10 top posts are, “16 Ways to,” or “14 Steps to,” or “6 People Who,” I propose them with a number. Or they all have a name of somebody important, or they all have to do with contrast. It’s like becoming a detective. You’re solving a puzzle, “What do these have in common?” And, “Can I do that similarly, yet pivot it a little bit?”
Also, look at the sections that they have. Maybe they have a section on business start-ups. Maybe they have a section on relationships in the workplace. If it’s health and fitness, maybe there’s a section on weight loss, strength training, or whatever it might be. Look at how they set up their publication.
The more they know about it, the more you can say, “This is going to fit here.” The more they are going to pay attention because a lot of people won’t go through that process. They will just blindly send the same piece to 40 different magazines. This is what distinguishes you as somebody that’s really serious about winning, about getting the assignment or having your material published.
Some people have recommended sending in ideas. I have not gone that route. Throughout my career, I have had much more success by saying, “This is something that’s ready to go.” I’m confident in the research I’ve done, and the writing style. I know they publish pieces 500-600 words long, and I’m not sending them a 1,000-word piece.
I’m looking at all of those things, so I know that it fits, and it’s so much easier for them to say, “Yes, I want that.” Instead, they would say “Okay, send it back in,” and you go through this other loop of writing it. That just delays the whole process. I would rather have them give me a yes or no, and I’ll try again if it doesn’t fit.
You should also understand that if they do say no, you still have a piece of brilliant content that you can use in any way. You can put it on your own blog. Maybe do a little tinkering and ship it to another site. So, it’s all about leveraging and thinking about re-purposing and repackaging if your first attempt doesn’t work out. That pretty much covers it. You just want to make sure that it fits within the scope of what they’re covering.
That covers the relevance step too, because through your research you’ll see what they’re covering, how long their articles are, and the sections. Then, you can just make sure it fits. If you can’t figure out which section of their website your article would fit into, that would be a good indication that your article isn’t right for that publication. You should also try to make sure that the article you publish is relevant to your business. You don’t want to propose something that fits their site, but has very little to do with your business either.
You will want to be able to benefit from someone reading your work and actually taking action on it. I could probably get something placed on a health and fitness website, but is that going to benefit my business? It possibly could, but I would be much better off spending that time and energy where my target market is hanging out and talking about the topic and the pain points of that target market versus just trying to write for anybody and everybody.
One of the things that I’ve noticed, as I’ve worked with some of my clients to help them place articles, is that you can be a respected expert, but if you don’t have publishing experience as well, sometimes that is the missing piece. Just like I was saying, it’s like, “If I can’t get published in Entrepreneur, do I just give up?” No. Get published in a smaller magazine, or post it on your blog, because being able to say, “I have a blog, and I’ve written it for 16 years. I get 10,000 views per month,” or whatever it might be, it shows that you are a person of authority and established in terms of having this history behind you.
The editors are going to go through a lot of effort to work with you and teach you how to submit to them, and once your piece is accepted, they get you into their content management system. They want to see stuff from you again. They don’t want the “one hit wonders”. They’ll take them because they do have a need for content, but I think they’re much more interested in establishing a relationship with someone that’s going to send them something every month or two. If you just come out of nowhere, give them one piece, and disappear, that’s okay, but they would much rather work with someone they know they can depend upon and develop that relationship.
Showing that you have a history of publication, whether it’s in big names, or on your own blog. Just showing that you have that history of writing as well, will also help make you stand out from the crowd. I think they have limited expectations when it comes from wanting content from you on a regular basis. At this point in my career, none of the ones that I’ve written for so far have said, “We want a piece from you every week to stay in our system,” or anything like that. What I have seen, with both Huffington Post and Entrepreneur, I am now an approved writer for them, so I can put whatever I want, whenever I want into their content management system.
If I have an idea today, I can have that in Entrepreneur’s system waiting to see. I asked the editor, “Do you want to see my ideas before I put them in?” He’s like, “No, once you’re accepted, just go ahead and put them in there.” That’s fantastic. That’s wonderful to have this opportunity and the door’s wide open. Other magazines do it differently. Success.com still wants to see an article idea, but now that I’ve had several pieces accepted by them, the door is definitely more open. You know, I get to use my key versus having to wait in line and that kind of thing as well. So, it differs from publication to publication.
I know that Ramit Sethi, who is a very big name online, who does the Zero to Launch and I Will Teach You to be Rich, has a new site coming out. I can’t remember the name of it, but, I was talking to one of my clients, and they wanted a commitment to be one of their featured bloggers. You would have to provide X number of articles, in a certain format, over X period of time. So, it varies from publication to publication.
It’s not an easy process, and it is going to take some time, but it is pretty straightforward. Just like anything else, if you’re willing to do that background research, it’s really going to set you apart from everybody else that’s not doing it. Just make sure it’s worth it for your business, and make sure it’s something that you’re not doing just for ego and really think that it’s going to benefit moving your business forward. There are so many opportunities for us to get our names out there. Make sure it matches your skills, and your interest, and your audience, and I think you’ll be good.
Check Out This Step By Step Video That Lain Originally Made For Me But Gave Me Permission To Post Here
Connecting with Lain
If you are diggin’ on this stuff and really love what we’re doing here at Real Fast Results, would you please do me a favor? Head on over to iTunes, and make sure that you subscribe to this show, download it, and rate & review it. That would be an awesome thing.
Of course, we also want to know your results. Please share those results with us at http://www.realfastresults.com/results.
As always, go make results happen!