Entrepreneurs from all over the world would love to have their companies featured in Inc. Magazine.
How do I know? Inc. regularly makes the list of the best business magazines.
I also had a column on Inc. for three years, where I published over 200 articles on the site about marketing, social media, and entrepreneurship. While writing for Inc. for a long time, I received a dozen or more pitches every day from businesses, influencers, and PR agencies worldwide wanting coverage in my column.
From getting pitched so much, I learned that there are specific ways to get noticed and others that will almost certainly guarantee that Inc’s writers will ignore your pitch.
As an owner of a PR agency, I use what I learned from the thousands of pitches I received during the height of my writing career to get our clients placed in top business publications like Inc. Magazine. Now, I’m ready to share my top growth hacks to get featured in Inc. Magazine with you.
1. Have an Interesting Story
The first step is you must have an interesting and unique story. That’s the number one criteria for getting featured in any publication, not just Inc. If your story isn’t interesting, no one will care, no matter how well you execute the other tips below. Business professionals come to Inc. to be entertained and to learn. Not every story has to be about Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, so make it your own and how you are impacting the business landscape. As a small business, what is your biggest problem? How did you solve it? It’s likely other small businesses have the same or similar problems. So tell the story in your pitch. Get it in front of the right people at Inc. and you have a foot in the door.
2. Add a lot of Value to Inc’s Audience
Inc.’s readers are primarily small businesses, private companies, and entrepreneurs. If your story isn’t relevant to them and doesn’t include useful tips, it’s not likely to interest the editors or columnists.
As an expert, provide some high-level insights that readers can use to help them improve their business. Don’t make your pitch all about you. Instead, focus on how your knowledge and expertise can add value to Inc’s readers. In order to get the attention of a writer at Inc., you must be providing them with exclusive content with rich data from case studies. And keep in mind that Inc is a for-profit publication, so they want stories with broad appeal that can help a lot of people. So ultra niched pitches for a niche audience are not likely accepted. Quality content with a focus on the latest trends with your unique perspective as an expert is the most likely to be accepted.
3. Be Newsworthy
Inc. is a business magazine, so make sure whatever you’re pitching is newsworthy. If your business is genuinely groundbreaking and making good news, the business world and Inc. will want to hear from you.
However, even if your business isn’t ready to grab the headlines, you can still get in Inc. by adding value to an existing news story that is already. Sometimes you don’t have to make the headlines yourself, but you need to add a unique angle to the story. Merely repeating what others are already saying about the latest news will get your pitch denied. Innovative companies with strong growth rates receive priority coverage.
4. Do Your Research
A great place to start is to be familiar with Inc. Magazine and what they cover before you pitch them. More specifically, take your research to the writer level. One of the biggest problems I see is pitching an off-topic article. Columnists at Inc. have specific areas within entrepreneurship they focus on. Writers delete off-topic pitches.
5. Personalize Your Pitch
It’s always a good idea to personalize your pitch. Don’t just send a generic press release. Take the time to craft a message that will resonate with the editors and columnists at Inc. Clarify that you actively read their work and understand what they are looking for.
Never send a mass email via bcc where it is immediately apparent that it’s a mass communication with a generic pitch. This is the fastest way to have pitch ignored.
6. Follow up Professionally
If you don’t hear back from Inc. after pitching them, follow up politely and persistently. Be persistent but not annoying. It’s okay to follow up with Columnists at Inc., but don’t do it more than once or twice.
7. Be Visual
Have high-quality photos or videos that Inc. can use to accompany your story. This will make it much more likely that they will feature you in the magazine. Visual pitches give you a unique look that helps you stand out.
8. Keep it Short and Sweet
When you pitch Inc., keep your pitch brief and to the point. They will not want to read a long, drawn-out email from you. Be specific about what you’re offering and why it’s newsworthy and interesting. List one remarkable achievement that is worthy of coverage, NOT 10!
9. Craft a Compelling Subject Line
Your email subject line is key to getting a journalist or columnist to open your email. Write something compelling that will make them want to learn more about what you have to say. Use words like “special report” and “exclusive data” in your subject line.
10. Make Sure Your Business Plan is Ready for the Spotlight
Before you start pitching Inc., make sure that your website and your materials are up to par with the very best in your industry and ready to be written about business news publications. It helps get your company covered by other media outlets before going for a major publication like Inc. Doing so will help your company appear in Google. This way, when the writer does a quick Google search to see the type of media attention your company profiles have received in the past. If you don’t have any previous media coverage before pitching Inc., it won’t be easy to gain the writer’s trust to cite you as an expert in their articles.
11. Target Specific Writers
Don’t just pitch Inc. as a whole, but take the time to find out which writers would be the best fit for your story. Off-topic pitches get ignored and might get you blocked by the writer. For the best chance of a writer accepting your pitch, make sure the topic is relevant to the writer’s column.
12. Network With Columnists
Provide value to the writers before pitching them by liking, commenting, and sharing their articles. Compensation for writers at publications like Inc. is dependent on the number of page views their articles receive. To keep their column active, they must hit a minimum number of views each month. So by sharing their articles on your social media, you are helping them hit their goals. Engage with them consistently on social media, and they will notice you. Then when you pitch them, it is a warm pitch versus a cold pitch.
13. Use Twitter
Most journalists and columnists are active on Twitter. Follow them and engage with their tweets. Share their articles and let them know you’re a fan – this will increase your chances of getting on their radar.
14. Include Social Proof
Include links to your previous work, and state your case as an expert. When you reach out to a writer at Inc. or any other publication, establish your credibility upfront and make it easy for them to find information about your personal brand. So include links to articles you have written in the past, either on your blog or for other publications. If you don’t have any previous work, write a great article and pitch it to them as a guest post. Think about what kind of accomplishment you have that will peak the writer’s attention.
15. Provide New and Relevant Data
If your company has new and relevant data via legitimate studies it will improve your chances of acceptance. You can also use this data to back up any claims in your pitch. Show how can business leaders use the data to improve their company’s efficiencies. Another good hook is to show how the data is impacting the American economy.
16. Cite Experts and Influencers
When you mention an expert or influencer in your article, include a link to their website or social media profile. This will help legitimize your article and get the attention of those experts and influencers, who may share your article with their followers if they like it.
17. Make It Easy for Them to Say Yes
The easier you make it for the editor or writer to say yes to your pitch, the better. That means being clear about what you want, having a well-thought-out idea, and being able to write the article quickly and easily. They’re more likely to want to work with you if you can make their job easier. Think about how does your pitch help small business owners solve their unique challenges.
18. Have a Great Headline
Your headline is what will make or break your article. It’s the first thing people will see, and it needs to be good enough to make them want to read more. Spend some time coming up with a great headline that accurately reflects the content of your article.
19. Be Unique
There are a lot of businesses out there vying for attention. So make sure you stand out from the crowd by writing something unique. The right way to pitch is to think outside the box and develop an original angle that will grab attention.
20. Offer to Share The Article on Social Media
Columnists at Inc. and other major publications pay and evaluate their writers based on the number of page views their articles generate. So make sure that you offer to share the article on your social media, website, and email list. If the writer knows you’re committed to helping them get more views on the article, they are more likely to accept your pitch.
21. Have Thick Skin
Getting into a high authority publication like Inc. Magazine is not easy even with a good idea. You need the right story at the right time. You will probably get rejected, a lot. Don’t take it personally and keep trying to refine your pitch efforts. Eventually, you will find the right columnist at the right time who is interested in your story.
These are just a few strategies you can use to get featured in Inc. Magazine. Start implementing them today, and you’ll be one step closer to getting your brand featured in one of the world’s most popular and respected business publications like Inc and other reputable sites like Inc’s sister publication, Fast Company or the Wall Street Journal!
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