Forbes is one of the most influential business publications in the world.
There are a lot of benefits that come with writing for such an established outlet: it gives you exposure, increases your credibility and makes it easier to attract potential clients. Who wouldn’t want to have “As seen on Forbes” on their portfolio website?
It’s not that easy to get published on Forbes, however. Every day, tons of writers pitch Forbes editors, and most of them get rejected. So how did Laura K. Inamedinova, a 21-year-old student who started writing about business only 8 months ago, manage to become a contributor?
“I always enjoyed being busy and getting things done”
Laura currently studies Modern Technology Physics and Management in Vilnius University, works as a business development and marketing manager for social media startup called Plag, and writes for Arctic Startup and Forbes. Pretty busy for a student? “I always enjoyed being busy and getting things done,” she says.
She worked in another startup before, but that didn’t work out, and then she got an opportunity to meet Plag’s CEO. They got along well and she was offered a job there. In her words, “I liked the product, I liked the team, I liked the conditions…So I thought, why not?”
Laura started doing marketing and PR for Plag, and one day she got an interview request from Arctic Startup — the biggest startup blog in Baltics and Scandinavia that wanted to cover Plag. Eventually, that connection led to her becoming a contributor there.
She says, “I always wanted to write about business and technology, so when an opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it!”
How a simple email led to writing for Forbes
Arctic Startup liked Laura’s work, so when the team went to Web Summit conference in Dublin, they invited her to come along.
Laura knew that this was a great opportunity to connect with people in her industry and learn from them. She found a list of journalists that were going to Web Summit and reached out to them via email. Laura says, “I wasn’t even sure if anyone would reply, but most of them did, and I ended up meeting people from Forbes, Financial Times, Reuters, etc.”
Here’s the email template that Laura used to contact a Forbes editor that she wanted to meet:
My name is Laura and I write for ArcticStartup, the Nordic/Baltic media about startups. Would love to catch up and get to know more journalists from the same field and ask for advice. Wanna have a short meeting in Dublin WebSummit?
Laura K. Inamedinova”
“Honestly, when I got a reply to that email, I was like “Wow,” I couldn’t believe it. I saw that meeting as an opportunity to talk to someone who’s way more successful than me. I was interested in getting his advice, hearing his thoughts on writing, etc. I didn’t have an intention to get anything specific out of it, it was just a valuable learning experience for me,” she added.
During that conversation, the Forbes editor mentioned that they didn’t have anyone covering Baltic startups, and Laura’s ears perked up. She didn’t ask him about it then, but afterwards, she sent him an email and asked if she could give it a try. He introduced her to another editor… and Laura became a contributor at Forbes where she writes about Baltic and Scandinavian tech scene.
Laura’s experience at Forbes
Laura says, “Forbes is a prestigious publication, so writing for it is a great opportunity as well as a big responsibility.
“I now get people sending me emails and Facebook messages asking me to cover their startups. Some have even offered money (which I of course turned down; I’d never compromise my journalistic integrity like that)!
I also got several job offers from startups ranging from part-time content writing to full-time content marketing.”
Laura’s Top 3 Tips for Writers in Charge Audience
- Take that extra step. According to Laura, “You can’t only do what’s required of you and then expect opportunities to fall into your lap — you always need to give it an extra push. For example, I wasn’t required to meet with other journalists at Web Summit, but I sent out a bunch of emails anyway and eventually that led to becoming a Forbes contributor. It’s the same with everything. You have to take initiative and make things happen.”
- Don’t be afraid. “People often miss out on opportunities simply because they are afraid of failure. But think about it rationally, what’s the worst that can happen? Say, you reached out to someone and didn’t get a reply… so what? Keep reaching out to people and someone will eventually respond. It’s a cliche but it really is better to fail than to never even try. Don’t let fear hold you back.” She added.
- Don’t forget people who helped you. “I think that once you do get a little bit of success it’s important not to let it get to your head. There are people who gave you opportunities when you didn’t have anything and who helped you get where you are now. Don’t forget them.” She concluded.
What’s next for Laura?
When we asked Laura what the future has in stock, here’s what she has to say:
“I know for sure that writing will continue to be a big part of my life.
“I will keep writing for Arctic Startup and Forbes, and, once I have more experience, I might try to become a contributor at other publications. I’d also really like to start writing for Lithuanian business magazines at some point.
Other than that, I’m going to keep promoting PLAG, and hoping that it will become one of the unicorn startups!”