Many of us have a fantastic story to tell, but have no idea how to break through the noise and effectively engage contributors at major publications. The first step is to recognize that most of the publishing today is done by contributors and not staff writers – This means that they are not actually employed by the publication and operate in their specific niche.
Why does this matter?
Well, contributors usually are entrepreneurs, business owners, and thought-leaders in their own space, so the articles that they publish are looking to further their business objectives and cement them as a leader in their niche.
To start let’s chat about why we are taking a social to email to phone approach…
This is how the inbox of a contributor at a major publication (Forbes, Inc, etc.) usually looks. Your chances of effectively engaging them through email are close to 0%. So, we have to find a more effective way to engage.
Let’s Kick it Off!
1. Find A Publication In Your Broad Niche – i.e Entrepreneurship
2. Perform a specific search on that site for your specific niche area i.e ‘Storytelling’
3. Navigate to an article, locate the contributor and absorb the central message
5. Once on their business Facebook page, like the page, and hit ‘message’
Hi [name], saw your article in [publication] about [what was the central message?]. Being a [tell who you are – keep it short], I really connected with it. Was wondering if you’re open to chat about it?
Congrats you sent a reply to a targeted contributor! After some time (typically 24-hours) you will get a reply that usually looks something like:
Hi, ____ — sure. Just shoot me an email and we’ll take it from there. (contributor email address)
The ball is in your court now! You have establish the initial relationship with the contributor and they are now waiting for an email from YOU!
6. Preparing the Email
A major key is the subject line! Try something like:
Subject: Thanks for our Facebook chat, [name]
I have included an email template below for you to base your message off:
Hi [Contributor First Name], I saw your article on “[article title]” on [publication name] and I really connected with the message! I enjoyed the part where you mentioned [one short line about a part of connected with] — I think most people in my circle wouldn’t think about [what?] this way and that could limit their [ability to grow their business, develop their personal brand etc]
I noticed that the article had [X number of views], I expected a lot more for the immense value & effort that you put into that piece. I know my network will get a lot of value out of this post, so I shared through my social channels, and on my organization’s page.
I think the biggest value my followers will be able to get out of this article is [why do they need to read the article]. [Tell who you are and your accomplishments]
[Contributor First Name], I really enjoyed reading your work and I am excited to follow you on your journey. I noticed that there is a lot of noise out there in the contributor world. Do you think that’s why this article this article didn’t get as many shares & views as it could of?
After you send this email the key is to be patient. Contributors are extremely busy operating their own ventures, and any other email can come off as aggressive. My suggestion is to wait 24-hrs for a response.
Here is how a reply from the contributor could look:
Thanks for your message, really glad to hear you got some value from the article & of course you know messages like this warms one’s heart! Very appreciative…
That’s very supportive of you to share with your network & you are right about the views, it’s something that I have to figure out and explore how to get more people to see the article. I primarily shared it with my network, so I think that’s why it didn’t get as many views.
I look forward to learning more about you as well…
Thanks so much,
If you’re able to reach this point that is HUGE — but don’t be discouraged if you don’t. Like I said, contributors are extremely busy people and sometimes timing/schedules don’t align!
7. Your Second Email Reply
If they reply to your initial email they are interested, don’t be arrogant or pushy, tell them a bit about yourself….
[Tell about yourself, suggest a couple angles – always ensure you’re relating back to their work, beliefs etc.)
If you’re willing to include me in a piece, I think it would be a really interesting collaboration given that both of us are very passionate about this area! — I always make sure to share the message on my channels to help get as many views as possible, because I really want people to see this story just like you do!
I would love to jump on a call at your convenience for a discussion!
Congratulations! You have specifically targeted a contributor for your niche, and engaged them in authentic conversation! You have significantly increased your chances of being included or featured in a piece.
Remember to start your conversations with contributors on social, move to email, and eventually try and get them on the phone for a authentic conversation!