Whether you want first-rate backlinks, authority, or more business opportunities, becoming a Forbes contributor can help you get it.
In fact, with a domain authority of ~95 and a worldwide reach, there’s not much the acclaimed publication can’t help you achieve:
But unfortunately, Forbes doesn’t publicly disclose how to become a contributor or submit a guest post. Even if you spend hours perusing Forbes’ website, you won’t find a single sliver of useful info.
That’s why we created this guide. We based it on our own and other people’s experiences so that you get verified instructions that work in 2022.
Here’s everything you need to know to become a contributor at Forbes.
In theory, anyone can become a Forbes contributor.
In reality, though, Forbes usually only chooses people who:
Forbes wants contributors that provide real value their readers can’t get elsewhere. That’s why the publication accepts only experts.
But Forbes also wants to extend its reach through its contributors. So, ideally, every contributor would have followers, subscribers, and a fan base before they apply.
With that said, you can become a contributor even if you don’t fit these requirements to a T.
All you really need is an inside connection.
And if you don’t have one right now, don’t worry. We’ll show you how to connect with Forbes insiders below.
The hardest part about becoming a Forbes contributor isn’t coming up with or writing great stories.
It’s finding people to pitch to.
As you probably know, Forbes keeps its contributor program low-key.
The website offers zero instructions on where to send your pitch. There are no publicly available email addresses, content guidelines, or anything else you’d expect from a site open to guest posting.
That’s why you need to find other ways to apply. Here are five that work best.
Forbes Councils is an invitation-only organization for executives and entrepreneurs.
When you join it, you instantly get into the Forbes contributor program:
The bad news is you’ll have to meet certain criteria to qualify for the membership.
If you’re a senior-level executive, your business must:
And if you’re a business or nonprofit, you’ll have to:
That last requirement may offer you some leeway.
For example, if your numbers aren’t up to par, you could still get admitted if you present yourself as a “recognized” business or leader. But remember that Forbes’ team will review your application and decide if that’s true for themselves.
Also, keep in mind that meeting the minimum criteria “does not guarantee acceptance.” It only guarantees that Forbes will review your application. That’s it. So, don’t get your hopes up before you get a reply.
The last thing to know is that you need to pay to play: Forbes Councils is a paid membership club.
Unfortunately, Forbes didn’t list the price on the website. So, we checked if the members or other insiders have mentioned it anywhere else online.
According to what we dug up, you can expect to pay a little over $2,000 for an annual membership.
Although pricey, most members agree that the membership is worth it because it comes with many benefits.
Besides granting you instant access to the Forbes contributor program, the membership will also help you grow your network, develop a business strategy, and learn from other leaders.
Still, you may feel like joining Forbes Councils isn’t the best decision for you right now.
That’s fine. There are other ways to become a Forbes contributor.
Let’s go over them one by one.
Are all Forbes contributors members of Forbes Councils?
Erm... no. Many just have inside connections.
And this strategy will help you make such connections for yourself, even if you don’t have friends in high places.
We’ll show you how to connect with Forbes contributors. All that’s left to do from there is ask them to hook you up with a relevant editor.
So let’s get started.
First, choose a section you want to write for on the Forbes website:
Next, find a few articles you like and scan through them.
As you read, think about what you could say to the authors. Maybe you could mention you liked their examples or offer your own opinion on a topic. Take a mental note of whatever springs to mind so you can use it in your pitch later.
When you find a contributor you like, it’s time to look up their contact info.
To do that, click on the author’s name — you’ll find it just below the headline:
You’ll land on a new page with a bit more info about the author:
The good news is that most Forbes contributors share their social profiles or other contact info in their About sections:
Even if you don’t find any contact info there, you should find it with a simple Google search.
Just google contributors’ names, and their profiles on social media should come up.
But here’s why we suggest you don’t do that.
Contributors that don’t add contact info to their About sections usually don’t want to be contacted. So, tracking them down and sending them unsolicited pitches probably won’t result in anything positive. Quite the contrary.
That’s why you should reach out to only those contributors that volunteer their contact info. And finding them isn’t that hard. Just stay patient.
You can even use this query string on Google to find more potential connections:
This string lets you find Forbes articles that tackle a specific topic:
You’ll get similar results if you search for your keyword directly on Forbes’ website:
The last thing to check is if a contributor is still actively writing for Forbes. If not, they probably won’t be able to help you.
So, always check if a contributor has recently published new articles before you reach out:
If yes, then you’ll know you’ve found a good prospect. If not, keep searching.
You saw that contributors can act as middlemen and connect you with Forbes editors.
But what if you could skip one step and get to the editors right away?
Well, you actually can. It’s just that reaching out to editors often doesn’t work. But more on that later.
For now, just know you can use two methods to find Forbes editors and their contact info:
First, we’ll show you how to scrape email addresses with a free tool called Hunter.io.
All you have to do is enter forbes.com in the search bar and wait for your results to load.
Ideally, you’ll find emails belonging to editors or assistant editors at Forbes. But don’t worry — you won’t have to manually check who each address belongs to.
In most cases, Hunter will show you the job title of every contact:
The only problem is you can’t know if the editors you found are relevant to your niche.
Let me illustrate what I mean using the example above.
On a surface level, Ms. Persio seems like the best person to contact from the list.
But, in reality, she may be in charge of a section you can’t or wouldn’t want to write for. Perhaps you want to discuss money, and Ms. Persio edits the lifestyle section.
That’s why you still need to check who she is and what she does by googling her or looking up her name on Forbes’ website. And that will take even more of your precious time, especially if you’re analyzing multiple contacts.
Because of that, we prefer using Google to find suitable editors.
You can ensure you get only relevant results from the get-go by using query strings like this one:
Let’s check how this string works in action:
We’ve just found two great matches for financial experts. And it took us only 0.38 seconds.
But, as we’ve mentioned, reaching out to editors does have one big drawback: it usually doesn’t work.
The truth is that Forbes editors probably get dozens of unsolicited pitches every day. Most of those pitches go unread and only annoy the editors when they arrive.
Unfortunately, your pitch will probably suffer the same fate (unless the editors recognize your name).
That’s not to say you shouldn’t try this method.
You should — but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There are more methods to try.
Becoming a Forbes contributor can be extra challenging if you have zero proof of your writing skills.
Just think about it: would you let anyone and everyone write on your website?
You’d want to know they have a firm grasp on grammar, storytelling, formatting, and more. And you can imagine Forbes has the same standards for their contributors.
In fact, Forbes’ team will probably want to evaluate your skills before they even consider your application.
Most likely, they’ll ask you to submit your previous work for review.
To ensure you have something to show, get your writing published on other sites. You’ll not only prove you can write but also build your credibility as an online creator.
Here are a few ideas on where you could publish your articles:
Having some of your work published will make Forbes likelier to accept your application.
Besides, publishing your content online always pays off.
Content can help you build links, increase brand awareness, and sell more — even if it’s published in a publication other than Forbes.
Forbes contributors can act as your middlemen, but they don’t have to. It’s up to them if they’ll help you.
That’s why you may want to consider hiring real middlemen instead, like PR and link building agencies.
Many of them have inside connections in Forbes magazine, so they can easily get you into the program. But they can also help you with the entire process of writing for Forbes.
For example, our link building agency offers both outreach and ghostwriting services. We equip clients with everything they need to contribute, from connections to quality content. All that’s left for them to do is decide how often they want to publish.
But you may not be ready to hire an agency just yet. In that case, check out the next section. We’ll show you how to write a Forbes-fitting article yourself.
Now that you’ve found your point of contact, it’s time to get to writing.
For starters, know that Forbes expects contributors to publish articles directly to the website, with little to no editing in between.
So, you shouldn’t expect a ton of help from your editor when you become a contributor. You need to enter the program prepared.
Here are a few pointers that could help.
Forbes wouldn’t be a world-renown business publication if it didn’t care about credibility.
In fact, the magazine is notoriously nitpicky about who and what it publishes.
That’s why you should only write about what you know and not overstep your boundaries. Stick to topics in your field of expertise.
Also, make sure to fact-check all the info you share in your article. If editors notice inaccuracies later, they may take your article down without notice. So, it’s best to avoid that scenario altogether.
If possible, support your opinions with links to relevant studies or literature. That way, the editors will know you did your homework just by scanning your article.
The best Forbes articles offer readers insights they couldn’t get elsewhere. So, you should always strive to make your article unique.
That’s not as complicated as it sounds. As long as you can reference your results, experience, or research or simply offer your opinion, you’ve got a unique message.
The chances are you have all that if you’ve ever had clients. Now you just need to communicate it.
Not every story idea is worth writing about. Make sure you double-check yours by pitching it to a friend or, better yet, someone in your industry.
Another thing to check is if Forbes has recently published your story. If so, it may be best if you come up with a new idea.
The thing is, Forbes doesn’t want to publish the same content over and over again. So, you need to ensure you’re bringing something new to the table.
That doesn’t mean you always need to come up with a new idea if your story has already been published. You can try to find a unique angle instead.
Basically, your goal is to make your article better than anything that’s already been published. If you can do that, you don’t need to change your topic.
Don’t waste your time pitching articles that have already been published elsewhere.
Your articles need to be exclusive to Forbes to get published. So, make sure to write new articles from scratch.
Forbes allows contributors to more or less stick to their unique writing style. But the articles still have to feel as if they belong in Forbes.
That’s why you should read through several magazine issues and analyze how other contributors write. You can then adjust your style to better fit the magazine as a whole.
Your pitch needs to be as well-written as your articles.
Again, keep in mind that Forbes magazine probably gets dozens, if not hundreds, of pitches each day. So, you need to ensure your pitch stands out.
To do so, we suggest you stick to these four guidelines:
If you want more advice on how to write great pitches, check out our article on blogger outreach. You can use the template from the article to write a confident pitch.
If you took all the steps we listed so far, you managed to become a contributor.
Here’s what happens now, according to several Forbes insiders.
Forbes trusts its contributors a lot.
It lets them add and post their articles through WordPress with no editing beforehand.
The editors do go through the articles once they’re published, though. They can make some small tweaks if necessary — but they can also delete articles if they’re of extremely poor quality.
And if a contributor’s posts get deleted repeatedly, he can be kicked from Forbes’ contributor program. So, try to make your articles as error-free as possible before publishing.
Forbes prefers that you publish articles in only one section. That’s why you should write only about money or only about lifestyle, not both.
With that said, the publication does tolerate if you occasionally publish an article in another section. But do it too often, and your articles could get deleted without warning.
You should also stick to just one topic within one section. If you’re writing in the lifestyle section, write only about the arts or only about boats and planes. Not both.
The rules may sound strict, but sticking to just one niche is not as bad as it seems. It can actually help you establish your expertise faster. So it’s a win-win.
Some contributors say they got 250$ for writing five articles per month.
That’s $50 per article, which isn’t a lot. But other contributors say they didn’t get paid at all, so $50 suddenly sounds fantastic.
Either way, writing for Forbes isn’t about money. It’s about expanding your reach.
And when you consider that many lower-authority sites would charge you for publishing on their platform, Forbes’ deal starts to seem fair.
The content you publish in Forbes must be exclusive. It can’t be published anywhere else before or after.
Now, here’s why that’s problematic.
As a Forbes contributor, you’re expected to write at least five articles a month. And you’ll need to write them from scratch — unless you have a secret stash of unpublished content lying around.
Writing so many articles each month can be challenging if you’re not a professional writer. You’ll need to regularly come up with new ideas and find a lot of time to write.
If that’s an issue, you can always hire ghostwriters to write articles for you. Just make sure you choose writers with a good grasp of your industry, so you don’t get low-quality content.
Getting rejected once doesn’t mean you’ll never get published in Forbes.
Maybe you just still need a bit more experience or a little more practice. And you can do something about that while you wait to reapply.
The first thing you can do is keep publishing on other authority websites. You’ll get a valuable experience out of it and perhaps improve your chances of getting accepted by Forbes later.
Here are some authoritative publications that are similar to Forbes:
You can also use feedback to improve your writing before you reapply.
If you didn’t get feedback from Forbes editors, you can get it elsewhere. Try joining Facebook groups for writers and getting feedback there, or reach out to an expert — like an editor, a writer, or a marketer — via LinkedIn.
And if all else fails, you can always turn to ghostwriting.
Ghostwriting isn’t just for people who feel like they can’t write, but for anyone who doesn’t have the time to write 5+ Forbes-worthy articles every month.
A ghostwriter can help you polish your ideas and turn them into enjoyable reads. Or, they can handle everything for you, from coming up with ideas to writing. Whichever you prefer.
By now, you may feel a bit intimidated. There’s so much to do if you want to get published in Forbes.
We thought you could use a reminder of the benefits you get when you become a contributor.
Writing for Forbes can help you:
Keep your eyes on the prize and take it one step at a time.
It will all be worth it when your articles get published.
The hardest part about becoming a Forbes contributor is getting into the program, especially when you don’t have inside connections.
Our link building agency will help you skip steps and instantly become a contributor.
Thanks to our 8 years of experience in the industry, we now have exclusive contributor access to Forbes and other premium publications.
That’s why we can guarantee you’ll get the placements you want, no matter how sought-after they are. We’ll also equip you with quality content written by native English speakers, so you have everything you need to start publishing right away.
If that sounds good, schedule your free consultation today. We look forward to working with you.
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