How I Got Featured in Forbes & Three Lessons I Learned

It is not very often that I see my own name mentioned in major publications such as Forbes! However, when it does happen, the learning curve can be quite steep.

On Monday August 6, 2018, Forbes featured my entrepreneurial journey as a college professor. In this article, Forbes contributor Robyn Shulman did an interview with me, where I shared twelve lessons that I learned from my self-reinvention journey. Click on the link below to read the article.

12 Lessons In 12 Months: What This Teacher Learned During Her Entrepreneurial Journey
You might not think of educators as entrepreneurs or participants in the new gig economy. For those who do not work in…www.forbes.com

The first time you do anything is hard.

In this article, I am going to pull away the curtain and share with you how I got the opportunity be featured in Forbes. I will also share three key takeaways that I learned from this experience.

I hope my insights can help you gain access to large publications and move your life and career forward.

If you love the lessons here, please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you because it allows me to serve you better.


The Power of Large Publications

As an educator for more than ten years, I was only familiar with academic publications. The Forbes article was the first time that I encountered the power of mainstream publications. Because of this, I have also decided to make writing for large publications a priority. It is low-budget, but the impact is tremendous in terms of publicity and accomplishing business goals and objectives.

The Forbes article went live on Monday, August 6. Nine days later on August 15, the article gained almost 2,200 views. You can see the number from the image below.

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Besides the publicity on the Forbes website, I gained tons of organic engagement on various social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Take Facebook as an example, I gained 370+ “reactions” from people, 110+ comments, and 20 shares, as of 08/15/18. This is the best organic engagement that I have reached in a long time.

Besides these numbers, the article also promoted a few individuals and institutions reach out to me regarding my product and service. In addition, I got booked for several podcast interviews. To me, every possibility, regardless of its outcome, has brought me hope and confidence as a new entrepreneur.


Develop Your Own Thought Leadership, Product, and Service

To effectively optimize the impact of large publications, it’s critical that we have a defined product or service.

I have been a content creator for a year now. Before this point, I was a loyal lurker or content consumer. I consumed content voraciously to the extent that I had little time, energy, or brain power left to produce any of my own material.

However, ever since I started to produce original content on a regular basis through my weekly Facebook live show, blogging, and online course, I observed a noticeable change in my business development. In fact, I gained many new business ideas through producing content on a regular basis.

Creating content helps me understand my core message and target audience, and validate market demand.

I have come to see that to develop one’s thought leadership in a specific field, one has to offer valuable and original content, consistently, to help improve other people’s lives and solve their problems. Without content, one won’t have the necessary foundation to develop a business.

Fortunately, I did launch my consulting service before the Forbes article write-up. So, when people did contact me for service and help, I actually had something that I could offer. Even though I have just started my entrepreneurial journey, I was able to clearly articulate my brand, service, and core message. This has helped me leverage the impact I gained via large publications.

Cultivating One-On-One Social Connections

Throughout my 3.5-year social media journey, I pride myself on cultivating genuine relationships with people and building meaningful communities. I treat everyone the same regardless of their follower base and I value human connections more than anything else. I don’t even have fancy social media tools. I simply use my hands, mouth, ears, and some free tools.

In the spirit of building relationships, my Forbes article started with a connection on Twitter. Every time when someone follows me on Twitter (I go through the same process on LinkedIn and Instagram), I take a look at the person’s background and see if we share any common interest and passions. If so, I send the person a personalized note to connect further. Oftentimes, I reference back to a piece of content that the person has listed in the bio or the website. On Twitter, I normally create a list and add these like-minded people to relevant lists. On LinkedIn, I bookmark relevant connections.

This strategy was how I got connected with an education innovation expert on Twitter, through whom I got connected with the Forbes contributor. After developing some initial interactions with the contributor, when the time felt ready, I reached out to her and pitched my article. It took me lots of courage to send her a message, but I am glad that I did it. However, I have to say that having some prior interactions has helped build rapport. Let’s face it, nobody likes being sold to.

Here is my humble advice: Forget about all the fancy tools, equipment, and complicated strategies and tactics especially when you are just starting out. Sometimes, social media is as simple as being social. Spend time cultivating deeper connections and serving people. You might be surprised by the results.


Pitch the Right Editor or Contributor

How do you feel when someone sends you a cold pitch over Direct/Private Message on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn right after you follow them? They have no idea what you are doing or who you are, but they want to sell you their products or services. I absolutely hate this tactic. It feels so annoying that I almost want to unfollow them right after I receive such a cold message.

Imagine a large publication like Forbes that receives thousands of pitches every single day. You want to make sure that you are pitching the right editor or contributor. There is nothing worse than receiving a generic message that has no relevance to what they cover. Messages like this probably won’t even be opened.

When you are pitching editors, it is crucial that you understand what they cover and make sure that you reach out to the right contact. In my case, I pitched a contributor who covers education and entrepreneurship. And in the Forbes article, I shared the top 12 lessons I learned from my entrepreneurial journey as a college professor.

In summary, when you reach out to editors, I urge you consider two things:

✅ Make sure that your pitch is relevant to what they cover and write about

✅ Put yourself in the shoes of the editors or contributors and make their job as easy as possible.

When I pitched the contributor, I had the twelve points written out. Even with this, it still took some time for the contributor to get back to me, which I completely understood. The truth is these editors and contributors are extremely busy, and many of them have full-time jobs besides being writers. You want to respect their time and make this process as easy as possible.


Conclusion

Below are the three key takeaways that I gained from being featured in @Forbes.

🎯 Develop your own thought leadership, product, and service

🎯 The power of social connections

🎯 Pitch the right editor or contributor

Which point resonated the most with you? Please comment below.