In its hundred years of operation, Forbes has become one of the most influential and respected media platforms in the world. Its subscribers consist of CEOs, billionaires, politicians, and global trendsetters. Being included on its who’s who lists—such as the Forbes 400, 30 under 30, and the more recent 50 over 50—are considered indisputable marks of accomplishment. Though many print publications from the same era have languished and perished with the advent of digital media, Forbes has more than survived. The brand’s online platform boasts 78 million monthly visitors solely from the US with millions visiting from a myriad of other countries. The media offering of Forbes encompasses 41 global editions that garnered over 30 awards from January to July 2021.
Therefore, it is no wonder that Forbes writers are often viewed as industry leaders and authorities in their field.
Writing for Forbes
Unless you have extensive journalistic experience and industry know-how, becoming a staff writer at Forbes is a relatively unattainable ambition. However, the contributor program provides a rare opportunity for individuals to share their expertise and earn a part in the prestige of the platform.
When contributor programs first became the norm for business publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and The Economist, contributors generally did not receive remuneration for their articles. Forbes changed this in 2018 with a revolutionary contributor program revamp that guaranteed almost all contributors a base stipend of $250 per month. This minimum rate went up to $500 pre-pandemic but has since been scaled back to $250 plus revenue sharing. The revenue sharing percentage varies with each contributor and ensures that only content that generates significant readership will result in a substantial payout.
But, let us be honest: Unless you are a career writer, nobody seeks to get featured on Forbes purely for income. While extra pocket money can sweeten the deal, the benefits of being featured on Forbes are much more expansive and unquantifiable than cold, hard cash.
Authority by Association
With senior management personnel, business owners, industry influencers, and potential investors making up a large slice of Forbes’ audience, having your name and face displayed on the publication gives you access to boundless opportunities. Although your contribution has to be listed under your name instead of the company brand, businesses know that the individual profiles of senior executives are just as important for achieving success.
While many business deals these days can be conducted remotely without parties so much as shaking hands, personal connections remain an integral part of corporate relationships. Hence, the recognition of your name and face as an authoritative voice in the industry builds not only your individual prestige but also the clout of the company. In any case, you can write about your company on your contributor biography page, which enterprising readers will no doubt discover.
Being a Forbes contributor can also lend advertising value outside of the platform. Adding “Published by Forbes” on your company collateral immediately adds credibility and weight to any pitch or proposal that you send out. Key decision-makers who subscribe to Forbes will recognize your name and face from the site and are therefore more likely to spend time reading and responding to your messages.
Not to say that Forbes only works for business-to-business connections. Contributors can cultivate legitimacy and brand awareness with a consumer audience by establishing themselves as trustworthy leaders in the field. By producing content that is educational and valuable for readers, contributors can demonstrate their expertise and grow their following; all without the overt (and tacky) promotion of your brand or services in your posts.
Given the exposure provided by Forbes, being a prolific contributor has become a central business strategy for some professionals. Contributors that exceed minimum post requirements and generate exceptional metrics often have their posts bumped up to more desirable placements on the site, reinforcing their position as respected and reliable sources of insight and information.
In addition, conscientious contributors find themselves in the company of other specialists who share the same marketing inclinations. This leads to being able to build a wider network of experts, resources, and potential partners. Furthermore, the best performing contributors often gain coveted connections to top industry movers and shakers as well as earn access to invitation-only elite business associations such as the Forbes Business Council.
Becoming a Forbes Contributor
By now, you must be sold on the idea of writing for Forbes. However—as with any endeavor that is worth its while—getting your foot in the door might prove the most difficult step. Unlike some other publications, Forbes does not have a singular contact to apply for contributor status. Each channel on Forbes is run independently by a head editor and several sub-editors. Therefore, to submit your pitch, you need to first locate and contact the right editor.
Are you planning to write about manufacturing, entrepreneurship, technology, or finance? After you have chosen a section, sharpen your specialization even further to come up with a specific niche. This could be investment in petrochemicals, small business banking, or billionaires in Asia. The perfect contributor for Forbes is a leader in their field who will not only produce content with distinctive insider experience but bring along a following of their own as well. Hence, the more unique and underserved your niche is, the more likely it will appeal to editors.
Once you have decided upon the field that you want to specialize in, then you can go forth and find the corresponding editor. Ideally, you would have a friend or an existing contributor who can personally introduce you to the editor. Otherwise, you can pay certain media directories and PR agencies to help you identify the right editors and source their contact details. Should you prefer to do things yourself, you could probably achieve the same result with some concerted searches on Google or by doing your homework on networking sites such as LinkedIn.
Now that your niche and lead-in are established, it is time to build up a profile that warrants a second glance by Forbes editors. Remember that Forbes editors are themselves actively involved in the industries that they write about. So if you produce excellent content that attracts their attention, these editors may approach you to be a contributor instead of the other way around.
A surefire way to do this is to write an article that offers genuine value and knowledge that is not easily available anywhere else. Start by reading various Forbes articles—especially in topics similar to your own—to get a grasp of the tone and content of popular posts. In particular, pay attention to what your future editor is writing and the articles that they share on their personal social media profiles. This will give you a good idea of the type of content that interests them.
Next comes the real work: writing the articles. Craft a handful of posts that you feel are on par with the articles published on Forbes. Having a third-party proofread and critique them could provide you with honest and helpful feedback. When you are happy with these articles, publish them on your company blog or self-publishing platforms such as LinkedIn Pulse or Medium.
Hosting the articles on your company blog adds to the perception of authority for site visitors whereas posting on self-publishing platforms can help you reach a larger audience. Wherever you choose to publish, make sure that you do more than just that. It is essential to promote your posts on social media in order to drive traffic and audience engagement. A post with thousands of views and shares will show Forbes that your content is sought-after and beneficial to their publication.
If your posts have been published for a while and Forbes editors have not invited you to become a contributor, then it is time to go ahead and approach them yourself. Remember that editors of massive publications such as Forbes have mountains of emails in their Inboxes so it is important to be succinct. An intriguing subject line can help to hook their attention for the short time that you have to deliver a captivating pitch.
You want to impart the general concept of your original article and why you are the most qualified individual to write it. You should also mention any likely conflicts of interest, even if they are irrelevant to the article, as transparency and journalistic integrity are highly regarded. In the event that all goes well, you can look forward to a new sideline as a Forbes contributor.
With perseverance and thorough preparation, being published on Forbes is not a mere pipedream. Forbes considers itself a driver of influence and innovation, and a curator of industry VIPs that matter. Through sharing your knowledge on Forbes, individuals can take advantage of its reputation to bolster their resume and notability, in turn adding value and power to their business endeavors.
If you need help getting featured on Forbes, please reach out to our team.