How to Earn a Writing Gig at

How do you get known as a thought leader in business? One way is to publish your ideas on a well-respected site like One of the benefits of publishing there is that your articles will benefit from Forbes’s search rankings and be found more easily than if you put them on your own website. Another is the cachet and credibility that come from being published by Forbes. But how do you do that? We’ve helped several experts become Forbes contributors; I’ll explain the process here.

If you are “senior-level,” the easiest way is to join a Forbes Council, which the magazine calls “small, curated communities of best-in-class industry professionals.” Fees run from $2,000 to $5,000 annually and entitle members to submit articles for publication. However, those articles are flagged with a tagline that says, “COUNCIL POST| Membership (Fee-Based).” Also, they are not shared on Forbes’s social-media outlets; @forbes has more than 19 million followers on X, while @forbescouncils has only 7,000. There are other reasons to join a Forbes Council—perhaps for networking or coaching—but an easy path to publishing isn’t a good one.

To contribute without paying for it, you must earn the privilege.

Determine your beat

First, you need to decide which section your material belongs in. That will help you focus your ideas and find the right editor. Forbes content is divided into sections, including Innovation, Leadership, Money, and Business, and each section has multiple subsections. For instance, Money includes Markets, Personal Finance, Hedge Funds & Private Equity, Investing, and Fintech, among others.

Make sure you have original things to say

Click on the “hamburger” menu in the upper-left corner of the homepage to find your area of expertise and go to that section. You’ll see the editor’s picks at the top and 10 other articles in chronological order beneath. Clicking More Articles a few times at the bottom of the page will give you plenty of stories to peruse.

Focus on those closest to your area of expertise to determine whether you have anything new to say in the same vein but with a twist; you’re not looking to provide more verbose or erudite versions of the same ideas but to put a fresh spin on relevant topics and add to the discussion.

Once you have a sense of the new material you can contribute, start listing your ideas. For your half dozen or so favorites, search the Forbes site to confirm they have not already been covered, and search the internet to ensure that they haven’t been done to death elsewhere. You might also use your search results to revise your thoughts about a topic. If you decide to remove an idea, replace it with another. When you have six fresh ideas, flesh each one out into a paragraph and write a tagline that describes your beat, such as, “I write about how fintech is disrupting the financial industry in Asia.”Then, write two paragraphs to explain your expertise, including why you are qualified to write about this topic, who the target audience is, and what readers can expect that’s different from all those other guys.

Test the waters with a Forbes editor

If you know someone in the Forbes editorial team, they can help you reach the right editor. Otherwise, a search on, say, “Forbes fintech writer/editor” will yield several. You can check their LinkedIn profiles to ensure you reach out to the right one. Most Forbes work email addresses are [first_initial][last_name], e.g., But if that fails, you can usually reach them via LinkedIn or X. If you don’t get the right person the first time, they’ll often redirect you.

Send your tagline and those couple of paragraphs to the editor and ask if they’d be interested in a full submission.

Write a full submission

If they are, congratulations! They’ll tell you what they expect, which usually looks like this:

  1. Name, title, company
  2. A resume, CV, or up-to-date LinkedIn profile
  3. Address, email, and phone number
  4. Any public social media accounts you maintain or personal/professional websites
  5. Outline or URLs of any recent press coverage and awards
  6. Expertise or beat and why you are qualified to write about it for Forbes
  7. Who you envision your target audience to be, and what readers can expect
  8. How frequently would you post each month?
  9. Three relevant clips or other writing samples
  10. Three story ideas you would like to write for Forbes
  11. Any disclaimers or disclosures of conflicts of interest you might have

Numbers 1 through 5 are straightforward, and you already wrote 6 and 7. For number 8, Forbes prefers twice a month, but you have to decide what you can commit to. Numbers 9 and 10 are critical.

If you have published three good articles already, 9 is easy. But if you haven’t, don’t despair. Expand one of the abstracts into a full article of 800 to 1,000 words to submit instead. We’ve done this, and it’s an excellent substitute.

However, it must be good. In addition to being on a topic interesting to the target audience and covering new ground, make sure you back up any assertions with examples and facts. The headline should induce readers to click on it, and the “lede” (first paragraph or two) should be sufficiently compelling to keep them reading. (We have lots of advice on how to write a good article on our blog page.) The finished article, or your other writing samples, should show the editor that your articles will not need much editing after submission—Forbes editors are too busy to rescue something that requires a lot of work.

Unless you’re a professional journalist as well as a business leader, engage an editor to help you with your submission; remember, we all need one, and you want to make sure that your first pitch is, so to speak, pitch perfect. Editing can run the gamut from developmental to copy editing; we’ve written an article about that here. A good editor can tell you what your submission will need when you send them a draft, and there will likely be a few “rounds” of back-and-forth before your story is as good as it can be. If this sounds like a hassle, just pause and imagine how you’ll feel if, after all your hard work, you were rejected.  

Light the fuse

Forbes rejects many more submissions than it accepts, but online publications have no space constraints and an insatiable appetite for good, fresh content, so they are predisposed to accept submissions; they just need writers to send them proposals they can accept. And if you’ve studiously followed these directions, you can confidently submit and wait for the good news.

One of the great rewards in our business is receiving an email from an author saying that their submission has been accepted or that their article is about to be published.

That could be you.

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