How I got featured in Forbes!

On Thursday June 27, 2019, Forbes featured my entrepreneurial journey to becoming a digital nomad. In this article, Forbes contributor Laura Begley Bloom wrote an editorial piece based on a press release that I had sent her about starting my new business and travelling the world.

As someone who focuses their virtual assistance on marketing, my first real client had to be my own business. How can you trust someone to do a job for you if they can’t show the results for themselves? So I decided that I would share with you how I managed to get featured in Forbes. I hope my insights can help you gain access to large publications and move your life and career forward.

After working in marketing and public relations for over seven years, I was familiar with the strategy of sending releases to press, but I didn’t have any contacts or have access to any press distribution application. I knew that it would be tough to get my story in front of the right journalists before they even considered publishing my story. So I did everything the long way around, determined to make it happen.

I’d also like to note that there are some websites and agencies online promising to get clients featured in powerhouse media outlets for extortionate sums of money, but this is against fair journalism practices. You wouldn’t want to buy a magazine filled with paid-for articles because they are completely biased and you’d constantly be reading thinly-veiled advertorials. That’s like paying to be sold to! Submitting your story to press should be completely free, aside from any costs incurred by hiring a PR professional to draft and distribute your release to press.

Having a feature in a massive outlet like Forbes has low cost (this cost me absolutely nothing as I wrote and distributed the release myself), but the impact can be tremendous in terms of publicity for your brand and accomplishing your business goals and objectives. You can gain a wealth of organic engagement on various social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. I hope that the visibility will also prompt potential customers to get in touch with me about my services, and to encourage more exposure in future outlets, such as podcasts and blogs! Every possibility, regardless of its outcome, can bring you hope and confidence as a new entrepreneur.

If you want to develop your thought leadership in a specific field, you have to consistently offer valuable and original content to help improve other people’s lives and solve their problems. Symphony VA has been up and running for almost two months now, but before then I worked in marketing for over 7 years in the US & UK on global campaigns for brands like Samsung, Audi & T-Mobile, so I have the experience and the know-how to do what I do. I started a blog and I regularly post tips and insights into marketing for businesses and brands. 

So, even though I have just started my entrepreneurial journey, I can clearly articulate my brand, service, and core message, which would help me leverage any impact I might receive from the publication.

On my blog, I wrote a post entitled ‘How I swapped my corporate marketing career for world travel’ to tell the story of how I set up Symphony VA & why. When I posted it, I received a massive amount of likes and comments on my page, many from aspiring digital nomads who had been inspired by my story. This positive feedback encouraged me to convert my blog post into press-release format and send to press. It might have been a long shot, but you miss 100% of the shots you do not take, so if I failed, I could use it as a learning experience.

Once my release was press-ready, I began researching publications and journalists that covered the topics of ‘business’ ‘travel’ and ‘lifestyle’, as I felt that my story would fit well into those categories. I then dug deep into the depths of the internet to research the most relevant journalists that covered these subjects, who were more likely to publish a story like mine. It’s important to remember that as with reaching out to anyone with the potential to feature you to their following - be it a blogger, podcaster or journalist, it’s far more effective to deliver a personal message to a select few relevant people rather than blast out your information to anyone and everyone. Spamming is no fun for anyone involved! I read Laura’s content and found that she had featured other female travellers in her column, so I knew that  my story would be within the realm of what she already writes about. 

When I pitched the contributor, I had the release written out and also included images and additional information about my business. Then the contributor got back to me and the rest is history.

That’s about it! It’s really all about being thoughtful and intentional in your research and contacting. Remember that you’re dealing with humans behind the emails you send, so there’s no copy and paste type of email to send because each one should be personal to each specific contact. In my experience, it’s far better to reach out to 10 relevant contacts individually than to blast out a copy-and-paste one-size-fits-all email to 1000 journalists, because it’s more personable, intentional and thoughtful. I hope that some of this information helps on your journey to becoming featured in a major outlet!