If you subscribe to many of the most popular online publications, you’ve probably noticed that many of the pieces you read aren’t written by staff writers. Instead, they are composed by guest contributors.
Those contributors often go to great lengths to get their thoughts published on these sites — and their bios as well. They know that they can boost their thought leadership, brand recognition, and SEO by doing this.
Are you interested in doing the same for your personal and professional brand? Keep reading for an overview of the steps you need to take, followed by a deeper dive that answers the question, “How to become a contributor to quality publications?”
Steps to Becoming a Contributor
It isn’t easy to earn contributor status. Publications like Forbes and Business Insider are very selective, ensuring readers always get the best material written by experts.
However, you can earn a contributor account like Kris Duggan if you have the expertise to share and follow these steps:
- Establish authority and thought leadership on smaller blogs and websites
- Learn about each publication’s audience and mission
- Familiarize yourself with the guidelines for publication
- Connect with other contributors
- Earn an introduction to an editor
If you follow these steps and have something relevant to share, you should be able to get published on popular industry websites.
Get Started on Smaller Blogs and Websites
Many publications aren’t interested in contributions unless you’ve been published before. Fortunately, this is easier than you might think. Start by creating your own blog. Once you’ve built a small audience, consider reaching out to other people in your niche for guest blogging opportunities.
Consider creating a blogger account on Medium or another website to increase your reach. Is there a niche or local publication that is relevant to your target audience? Many of these are fairly open to guest contributors.
Research Each Target Publication
It takes time and effort to get published. Don’t waste your time on publications that might not be a fit. Learn about the goals of each publication and its core audience. Then, focus your efforts on where you will get the best results.
Learn the Guidelines and Follow Them
Some publications only take contributions a few times each year. Others will not accept submissions that have been published anywhere else, including your personal website. If you want to be accepted as a contributor, you must adhere to each site’s specific guidelines. Learn these and follow them carefully.
Connect with Other Contributors
Relationship building is important here. Reach out to other contributors by commenting on their articles, linking to their posts, and eventually making a one-on-one connection. They may reciprocate with advice and insights, include a backlink to your blog in their next piece, or help you with an insider connection.
Touch Base with an Editor
The best way to earn a contributing spot with a top-tier publication is to have an insider introduce you to an editor. That’s the key benefit of building relationships with other contributors. It puts you on the fast track. If this isn’t possible, you can try:
- Reaching out to the editor via email or LinkedIn
- Cold pitching article ideas
- Submitting articles using the publication’s established procedures
If you do earn that introduction, have an elevator pitch ready. Write a concise and compelling summary of the kind of content you have to offer.