Most bloggers dream about being featured in large media outlets such as Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, or any of the high-end blogs and magazines receiving millions of unique visitors every single month. Unfortunately, not everyone knows HOW to get featured in such high-profile publications.
I’ve been lucky to receive mentions in the three big players without a solid portfolio of guest posts, or shares in a unicorn startup in the US. Here’s a list of life hacks that you can utilize and leverage in order to gain some coverage by reputable sites with high DA, and continue your conversation forward.
1. Write Outstanding Content
Being on top of the industry news and latest innovations gives you a competitive advantage when it comes to building an audience or a network of high quality links.
Most “best practices” are beaten to death, and have been covered multiple times in every single blog out there. You can’t outrank them with mediocre content, nor can you receive any exposure if you’re sharing the same old advice over and over again.
When focusing on building unique content for your website, tackle unusual angles and verticals that haven’t received the exposure in the interwebs, and need some practical insight from an industry expert.
For example, if you’re doing Internet Marketing, don’t write the next “Top 10 Internet Marketing tricks” story. Try something more niche and practical for an industry, such as:
- 15 Ways to Grow Real Estate Agencies’ Traffic with 250%
- The Ultimate Guide for Dentists to Outrank Local Competition
- The Only Groundbreaking Method for Taking Over the Toys Industry Online
Other than including some hot keywords in your title, you would be able to focus on the business problems of a certain industry, and position yourself as an influencer in that specific market.
Your stories should be engaging – over 2,000 words, including plenty of stats from the industry, quotes from influencers, successful business practices and actionable advice for industry peers.
Neil Patel has shared a quality overview of blog posts and their length online, quoting serpIQ and their overview of content that ranks in top 10. Every single entry on page 1 has over 2,000 words in length, and that’s a common scenario for various keywords (especially the long tail ones).
2. Guest Blogging
You can hardly ever pitch Entrepreneur without the “golden status” badge, a good network of journalists who can recommend you, and a portfolio of popular and ingenious publications of yours.
However, there are plenty of smaller blogs and magazines accepting guest posts. Head to Google or a social network of your choice and search for relevant keywords that would help you identify similar blogs, such as:
- “Guest post”
- “Guest blogging”
- “Looking for contributors”
- “Apply with a guest post”
- “Write for us”
- “Looking for guest contributions”
You can extend your query with specific topics or industries, such as: business, marketing, real estate, SEO, medicine, nutritions, or anything that you specialize at.
The best approach forward is writing an outstanding and well-researched article after reading the submission guidelines, and pitching it to the outlet. You can follow up once or twice over the course of a few weeks, but editors are usually proactive when looking for content, and they may ignore your pitch if it’s not something that is of interest to them.
Several recommended steps for guest bloggers reaching out to new sites:
- Make sure that you’ve read the guidelines and you follow them zealously
- Browse each website and identify the topics that you are knowledgeable about
- Ensure that your pitch doesn’t collide with existing content which would make it repetitive
- Pitch 3-4 titles with a breakdown of what you want to cover if the outlet wants to see headlines first
- Prepare a well-researched post without spelling mistakes or annoying grammar issues
- Make sure that your post follows the general model of the blog – how are headlines structured, whether it needs several images (or none), and so forth.
- Submit with a short, but concise brief
Contributing regularly to online magazines will slowly increase your portfolio, grow your traffic thanks to links and mentions in your bio, and let you attract different audiences of regular readers following those networks. The added social media exposure or links from aggregators would grow your network as well.
Once you build a partnership with a blog that has published your content, pitch them every couple of months with a new piece if you can. A good portfolio will look appealing to editors from higher-end blogs that you’ll pitch later on.
Quora is a large community of over 100 million unique active monthly users. While some areas are less professional than others, there’s a good number of topics that focus on Entrepreneurship, Startups, Investment, Management, Sales etc.
Quora works identically to popular Q&A forums such as Yahoo! Answers or Stack Exchange: someone asks an answer, and different members respond based on their practical experience. Luckily, Quora managed to bring influencers with invaluable experience in numerous fields, which drastically increases the quality of many answers.
As an expert in a certain field, you can focus on answering questions that you can contribute to with valuable insight and practical guides based on your professional experience. The community focuses on high-quality answers (some over 2,000 words long) unlike forums that rarely receive complete and actionable answers, so you can approach it similarly to a guest post.
My first mention in Forbes was a quote from an answer of mine in Quora, and I’ve received over 150,000 views on my replies there. Various bloggers and journalists check Quora for quotes or intriguing stories that would be valuable for their articles, and that’s where you can shine as well.
Additionally, reading others’ answers will give you some hints or ideas for improving your craft as well. You are also able to reach out to other industry experts and grow your network.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a database of sources ready to pitch a quote or a mention following a brief provided by a journalist. It’s used by professionalists writing for Reuters, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Forbes, The New York Times, Mashable, The Wall Street Journal and many more.
My second pitch to a HARO reported here nailed a mention for Entrepreneur.com, and I’ve been able to connect with numerous journalists who write for reputable sources.
HARO is a time-sensitive platform that usually expects sources to respond within a day or two. Journalists are often full-time or part-time contributors working on multiple stories, and launching sooner rather than later is crucial given the rough competition.
The benefit is that, following HARO regularly, would lead to a smaller number of sources, hence a higher chance that your quote will be included. Shorter time frames means less pitches, and a lower pool of possible choices – especially if your response is thoughtful, unique, and valuable for the reporter.
Twitter is a brilliant social network when utilized properly. If you omit the funny gifs and videos from viral websites and focus on influencers, this would gain incredible results.
Twitter hosts about 320 million unique monthly users who share their stories, interact with others, and provide opportunities for newcomers to interact and connect with experienced industry professionals and businesses.
Unlike many other social networks, Twitter doesn’t require accepting a friend request before being able to contact someone. Many businesses use Twitter as a support channel, since everyone can easily draft a short message within the 140 characters limit, and receive an instant response.
Therefore, Twitter can be used for sharing your stories, mentioning influencers that have shared insight, connecting directly with them, interacting with their tweets, responding with commentary and so on. There is no barrier in terms of who could be contacted.
You can follow certain hashtags discussing specific topics that you’re experienced with. Numerous companies track these and interact with users who need help, and haven’t selected a service provider. Answering questions asked by random Twitter users can earn you retweets, and traffic to resources of yours that explain a solution in details.
Twitter lists is another neat feature that allows you to group people from a certain industry together, and interact with them regularly,gather their quotes for your publications, or note new posts of theirs that can link back to your freebies. That brings extra exposure for your brand and some influencers can be interested in your content, hence asking for a quote in their stories.
LinkedIn is the largest business social network founded a while back in 2002. Most users interact in a fairly standard manner, but there are several different tricks that you can utilize with Twitter.
LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) is a secret community of LinkedIn users who are open to accepting incoming networking requests. By default LinkedIn only advises adding people in your live network – colleagues, partners, fellow students, and avoiding random acquaintances.
There are various groups for LION networkers who connect with each other and increase the number of second- and third-level contacts in their network. Website are available who collect emails of LinkedIn users and distribute them among their private network, providing for an easier and quicker access to a network.
Keep in mind that it’s not an officially approved way of using LinkedIn and overusing it may lead to consequences from the LinkedIn team.
Ask for introductions
Once you grow your network, you will have plenty of direct contacts who happen to have 2nd level connections that you can connect with. Asking for an introduction is a good way to connect with a reporter, journalist, blogger, or another influencer in your industry, and continue the conversation accordingly.
LinkedIn has a blogging platform named LinkedIn Pulse where you can write unique content, or share recaps of your own copy linking back to the original resource. Moreover, influencers often share their own insights there, and you can comment and contact them for additional information.
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is a premium tool for gathering leads for your services. That said, you can also use it in order to identify the right contacts and connect with them directly.
When browsing popular outlets for guest posting opportunities and quotes, you’ll likely notice a standard submission form or a generic email for sending inquiries. It’s much more productive to work on a personal level with the right people, and building a long-term relationship that can gain results over time.
Note: You don’t want to pester and terrorize contributors, journalists and editors – I can assure you that this will backfire. But limiting the number of contacts you’re interacting with to a group of awesome writers will let you get to know them better, get acquainted with their writing styles, and what sort of verticals they tackle for each reputable blog.
By spending the time to connect with them, read their stories, contribute with valuable insight, retweet their articles, link back to them, they will note you and recognize you once you send them a request for connecting.
I recently read a personal story by a Google employee who landed his job solely through a targeted advertisement on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn provides so many detailed filters that gives you the opportunity to target a specific company, and even C-level executives or hiring managers. With the right targeting you can display an advertisement for a specific employee!
If you want a specific organization to get to know you, this is an opportunity to present your content or products in their feeds. Instead of focusing on large, non-personalized audiences, target limited and small groups of people that you can address genuinely.
7. Interviews with Influencers
Interview invitations are one of the simplest, yet smartest approaches for forming a business relationship with an influencer or a journalist.
I do receive 15-20 interview invitations monthly, and many of them are generic and fairly automated. Some of them are crafted by a real person who’s spent at least 15 minutes checking me up online and writing an intro that is relevant to my experience.
An example from few weeks ago:
What are the benefits for the business sending this over?
- Marketing their brand without selling anything
- A more philanthropic purpose is pitched – educating and sharing best practices with people
- Connecting with an industry peer they don’t have a direct contact with
- Free content with minimal research
- A ton of shares once published from everyone quoted
Influencers receive additional proof and awareness within the industry, which is basically free PR.
You can aim for a pitch to a specific person and letting them provide all the information at once. That brings a closer bond and requires less back and forth with several people. Even an open topic may work:
8. Influencer Groups and Communities
You are not alone in your endeavor of perfecting your writing skills and getting more exposure in different outlets. Plenty of business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers are looking for outreach opportunities in different fields.
You can find Slack teams, Facebook and LinkedIn groups gathering people who are looking for exposure and partnership opportunities. Triberr is a great community for connecting with like-minded people who are willing to cross-share valuable content.
Think about it: why do you follow people online? Because they share practical insights and strategies that would help them become better at what they do. Triberr’s community revolves around that principle, and ensures that everyone is pushing hard for building helpful content online that deserves the right attention.
If you have guest posting access to several somewhat popular blogs out there, you can exchange introductions with other contributors in other sites. A personal intro is far more likely to gain results than a cold outreach. No harm done either, and certainly worth the time.
Veteran writers like Josh Steimle offer free courses on becoming an influencer, and build their own communities for self-help. Joining his course and Facebook group can connect you with other bloggers, including several reputable journalists who are openly looking for great stories.
Combining All Tips Together
Given the broad overview so far (that you can utilize as a general process and put it together based on your skills, time, and resources), here is a simple process to follow if you’re just starting with a brand new product and a new niche with no contacts whatsoever.
Keep in mind that it’s a sample breakdown of the process, and you can take shortcuts depending on your competitive industry advantage.
Make sure that your business plan is validated, and zealously sticks to the needs of your customers.
Optimize your website, design a couple (or more) landing pages that cater to the needs of your buyer personas. Then, start building outstanding content that would genuinely help your readers, and everyone else looking for the solution to their business problems.
For example, at DevriX we’ve restructured our content and systemized it based on the three buyer personas we serve:
- Business Owners – our business category targets CEOs and founders who aren’t aware of the digital world in general, or are actively working for a solution to their problems. We answer business-specific questions that they look for, related to the choice of a service provider, what’s the best hosting vendor out there, or what does the complete project development entail.
- Marketing Specialists – we work with a number of marketing directors who need purely technical solutions. Often times, developers don’t understand the business needs, or build solutions that impact the marketing workflow negatively. We want to serve professional content for them that shows both our marketing expertise, and how we deliver based on business requirements for CRO or already established marketing funnels.
- Professional Developers – our high-scale solutions that are usually within the six-figures require proof, and we outline our technical processes, code reviews, or products that we have built for the public. Professional developers and CTOs who want to outsource a SaaS or partner up with another provider dig that content.
Once you have your content plan in order, dust off your social media accounts and craft a networking plan.
Sign up for Quora and chime in popular topics where you can bring some value. Answer a few questions every week. Don’t focus on volume, quality is the number one criterion.
Follow influencers, journalists, bloggers at your favorite reputable sources, and industry experts. Create a separate list for them and interact with them (don’t be a pest, but being a safe fanboy or a fangirl wouldn’t hurt for warming up a relationship)
Create a content schedule for content on your site, and guest post opportunities. Use tools such as Buzzsumo in order to identify trendy headlines in reputable sources. On a side note, very soon you’ll also be able to use Triberr to curate content. Craft at least 2-3 stories a month that require a bunch of mentions by influencers, such as:
- “20 Practical Tips for Increasing Social Media Engagement by Influencers”
- “Sell More: Read How Big Boys Do It (Interviews)”
- “Traffic Growth Strategies Revealed by CRO Experts”
This would give you an opportunity to connect with those influencers, interview them, receive good traffic and allow you to connect with them again having a former digital relationship already established.
Pitch smaller blogs that are looking for guest posts. Write outstanding content for them, and they will let you write for them over and over, or even send you a testimonial.
Join Triberr and become a tribe member in your industry. That’s extra exposure for you and additional traffic, which would increase your fanbase.
Subscribe to HARO and follow their email newsletters for possible feature opportunities. That’s important – they send it three times a day, and rapid response is required. This is the shortest step to getting a mention, so be mindful and insightful when connecting with journalists.
You already have a good number of posts published on your own site and smaller blogs, a growing network of followers, a contact list of influencers, journalists, experts who have sent quotes to you.
You can slow down on your rapid influential race and turn it into a marathon. Never stop your online activities – this would imply that you’re out of business. But you can now prepare a personal portfolio of your best posts, interviews, Quora replies and mentions acquired by HARO.
Now you are in the position of trying to pitch a story, or get a review of a draft of yours for your favorite source. Reach out to a contributor, columnist, or editor that you’re following and have been interacting with regularly on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send them a message with your draft, a genuine and legitimate compliment, and a request for a quick review.
Don’t insist on contributing rights yet. In fact, pitching facts, quotes, statistics, or stories that existing writers can use in their stories is the right intermediate step.
A successful relationship is based on a mutually beneficial partnership.
I’ve done countless favors for my mentors and influencers that I’ve been following. I’ve learned a ton from them – for free – and can utilize my new skills for the sake of a better life for myself. Which is why I follow my mentors closely, send them quotes, links, or tools that I use and are relevant to their sites; report broken images or links for them, and give them tips on improving their websites.
Once you’ve pitched your new online friends, some of them will reply. Some may include you in their stories, or even introduce you to an editor in charge who can review your work.
Different people have different success using various email strategies, so feel free to experiment based on your own tone and conversational style. Remember – you want to be helpful for both your contact, and the audience of the blog you’re pitching at.
The more reputability and the more respectful your track record, the higher your success rates would be. Always focus on helping – you will get some exposure and credibility as you keep iterating, but karma follows the noble ones who inspire, teach, and lead. Don’t look for results right away – exposure will follow as soon as your mindset is tuned to the right vibe.
Rinse and Repeat
Receiving media coverage and access to reputable sources shouldn’t be your idée fixe, but it doesn’t have to be complicated either with the right process in place.
By following this simple framework you will increase your influential status across the broad digital industry, and grow your network of other influencers, journalists, and experts in your field. Running all of those activities in parallel – by building a monthly plan for following up on each of those – would ensure a steady growth of followers and readers, opportunities for consulting customers, and exposure from trustworthy online sources that value your opinion.
NOTE: This is a guest blog post from our pal Mario Peshev. Follow him on Twitter.