Over that past few years my advice has been regularly featured to millions of people all over the world in places like:
I'm not just listing those links to show you how much of a big shot I am (although my mom thinks so).
I mention them because after writing for so many big outlets, I've learned a few things about how to actually get their attention and how to craft pieces that SPREAD.
Let me take a step back a minute and explain.
The reason I've been able to get my work into so many different online platforms is because I’ve followed a detailed and exacting strategy to best determine which outlets to approach, how to find the right editor, and how to construct the perfect pitch.
Having done this for a few years now, I have a pretty impressive library of tested scripts and hacks, and today I want to share them with you.
Because getting in popular media outlets is one of the "golden tickets" when it comes to growing your audience, driving customers to your business, generating publicity and building authority in your space.
It’s been a game changer for my company Rich20Something and is the number one reason I got a book deal from a major publisher, set to publish on May 2nd. (Shameless plug!) It’s called Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start An Epic Business, Score The Life You Want, and some of the strategies you learn about today are adapted from the book.
Before we dive into the tactical stuff, first I want you to think about the power of exposure and publicity.
What could it mean for you and your business?
For me, it changed my entire worldview and literally redefined my expectations of what running an online business meant. So, what does exposure afford you? A few things come to mind:
- Validation that you’re not crazy and people care about your mission (hey, it gets lonely out there!)
- An ever-growing email list and constant engagement over social media (it’s really cool to see complete strangers from across the world talking about your work and connecting with your message)
- An audience of raving fans who actually CARE about your opinion and WANT more of your work
- The ability to share your work with friends, family and bigger influencers in your space
- The ability to sell your ideas, products, services, etc. to your growing email list
- The potential to leverage your success into other areas of media and grow an entire brand around your personality and message
Pretty cool, right?
Everyone knows “content is king” but what the hell does that even mean in such a crowded digi-sphere? It’s what you do with that content that counts. You have to be strategic. That’s why I’m here to help.
Trick question: For the same amount of time and effort spent on writing one article, would you rather receive 100 views or 100,000 views?
If you’re like most businesses/brands, you could write a great piece, place it on your tiny blog and hope that somehow, some way, your work will magically “go viral.”
You could share that same blog post to a bunch of online outlets and watch it spread across the internet.
The $10,360 Case Study
In April 2015, I made over $10,000 in sales of my products and services from one guest post on Business Insider.
But that's not the freaky part...the freaky part was how I did it.
Insight #1: It's totally cool to be lazy
I'd gotten the opportunity to write for Business Insider (I reveal the exact method for how I got past editors and gatekeepers down below)...but to be honest, I didn't feel like writing anything new.
Writing great material is challenging and time consuming. For some reason, everybody assumes that you have to write original content if you want to get featured in major online outlets.
This is false.
Here’s what I did: Instead of taking hours upon hours to write something completely new (and having them possibly reject my piece) I saved myself all the hassle and effort by submitting something I'd already written on my own blog over 2 years ago.
I took my original article, chopped it down to about 500 words and submitted it.
Pretty awesome. But if I had any idea what was about to happen next, I would have lost my mind!
Insight #2: Traffic from major sites converts VERY, VERY WELL
As more and more readers found my article, visitors poured into my website. People began subscribing to my newsletter like crazy.
I had to refresh my browser over and over again because I couldn't believe my eyes.
The post launched on a Friday. By the end of the weekend, almost 10,000 new people were now on my email list.
Talk about conversion!
Insight #3: Traffic from major sites can make you a LOT of money.
Subscribers to my newsletter are great and all. But were they buyers?
Over the course of 30 days, isolating readers from Business Insider, I made over $10,000 in sales from my products and services. Check it out:
And this is from ONE article, mind you.
This is the only time I’ve done such a meticulous study on the topic, but remember, this sort of thing happens all the time, at various scales, across all the outlets I write for.
Insight #4: Major PR is the gift that keeps giving
As if all the new subscribers and money weren't enough, Business Insider continued to promote my work month after month, bringing me thousands more subscribers and tens-of-thousands more in revenue over the next few months.
For example, just ONE post from them on their Facebook page was enough to trigger a massive surge of traffic to my site:
1,000+ likes and over 500 shares.
Let me be clear, I’m not having a love affair with Business Insider. This is merely one case study. I see success like this all the time, across other major syndications. For example:
81k additional reads, in addition to the original post on my own blog. No extra work.
Point is, getting your work syndicated across major outlets isn’t only a game-changer for growth, but can directly net you immediate (and long term) revenue as well. It’s a tremendous lead generator, and because the leads are already engaged, the likelihood they convert to subscribers skyrockets.
If I haven’t convinced you by now, I likely never will. BUT if you’re interested to learn how YOU can do this for your business then keep on reading! Here comes the tactical stuff.
How to Get Featured in Major Press
Step 1: Choose your outlet (Start with low hanging fruit)
If your work has never been featured before, you can’t just go to Time and expect them to care about you. You’re going to have to be strategic in the way you start leveraging yourself. (Don’t worry, this process doesn’t have to take a long time, especially if you’re deliberate.)
There are different tiers of outlets. Assuming you’re in the entrepreneurial/startup/techie scene, they go something like this:
- Tier 1: Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, etc.
- Tier 2: Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fortune, Influencive
- Tier 3: Inc., Time, Forbes, Fast Company, Men’s Health
Strategy: Leverage one tier to get to another. If you have a blog and have been posting consistently for 2-3 months, you’re more than likely qualified to start submitting to these outlets. If your business is doing something cool and has been referenced ANYWHERE else online, then you’re definitely qualified. All it takes at that point is a solid pitch.
Step 2: Craft your pitch
“But how do I approach outlets if I don’t have any credentials?”
Your pitch has to be airtight. Be sure to include the following:
- Lead with a story about yourself/your brand
- Have writing samples (even if it’s from a less popular outlet, a guest post, or your own blog)
- Sell yourself, your business/brand, and your experiences. Look at your experiences as assets.
- Be confident. Remember: it’s a two-way street. These outlets need new content as much as you want to write for them. That’s how they grow. Own that.
- What’s your angle? What unique perspective/experience/expertise can you provide? Be specific and deliberate. You’ll come across as a total pro.
Once you get your foot in the door and start posting consistently for some of the Tier 1 outlets, you can start pitch editors in the big leagues.
Step 3: Reach out to editors for syndication partnerships
Back before the Huffington Post was a long-form version of Twitter, it used to mean something to write for them. I knew that getting in the door would be my ticket to leveling up, so I did what any clueless twenty-something would do: I cold-emailed Arianna Huffington.
And she replied.
I kid you not. Arianna Huffington read my email and offered me access to the HuffPo backend. I didn’t even know her email address, I just guessed it.
You can try guessing editors’ email addresses, OR you can find them using emailhunter.co.
Well, that’s pretty simple.
Yup. But still, cold emails aren’t always received well (or at all).
Here’s how to get around that: Reach out to contributors in your vertical for the outlet you want to write for. Read their author bios, track down their email address or LinkedIn profile, and just ask! (I’ll assume you know how to write solid emails, deliver mutual value and not sound like a total freak…)
More often than not, the contributors will be happy to share their editors’ info.
Step 4: Be prepared for the unexpected
Many major outlets, no matter how reputable they seem from the outside, tend to “steal” content from each other. You might start in one tier, but get catapulted to another if a more prestigious outlet sees your content. When this happens, you have to capitalize!
This happened to me with Time, for example. One day I noticed they’d syndicated a piece that appeared on Business Insider.
Immediately, I went into attack mode to find out who the editor was that republished my work. My intention was to leverage my success, build that relationship, and become a regular. It worked.
Treat it with care!
At this point, once you establish a healthy working relationship with your editors at various outlets, you can straight up ask them for the contacts at different outlets if you want to keep growing your reach.
Once you level up, it’s incredibly easy to flourish, so long as you keep producing work consistently.
When I first made the leap into entrepreneurialism, I wanted it all.
I wanted everything at once. I wanted to build my dream business overnight and have an enormous community of fans and friends and make millions of dollars creating products I loved.
Having zero experience and a small network, those ambitions soon sputtered out. I adopted a new mindset, a new operating principle.
I figured out how to “level up.”
If you enjoyed today’s article, I recommend you check out my debut book, Rich20Something: Ditch Your Average Job, Start An Epic Business, Score The Life You Want.
It’s not some boring spiel on “paying your dues”...it’s about hustle. Instead of inching your way up the traditional career ladder, I teach you how to hack it, sharing hard-earned advice (like I shared in today’s article), anecdotes from other entrepreneurial badasses, and step-by-step techniques for turning your best skills into a business you’re passionate about (that pays well to boot).
When I first started my journey into entrepreneurship five years ago, this is the book I wanted to read. Turns out I was destined to write it instead.