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How to Pitch Inc.com

May 10, 2017

When you’ve wanted to write for one of the world’s leading business magazines for more than a decade, but you can’t find anything useful on Google, what do you do?

Well, I leveraged my contacts in the industry and went straight to the top. The big cheese. The editor in chief of both the print and digital arms of Inc. magazine, James Ledbetter himself.

My goal was simple: to understand his priorities at Inc. and pitch him something his team would find useful. And of course, because I put our conversation out on the podcast, you get to go behind the scenes with me too!

Today he’s going to spend some time with us telling us what sort of stories excite him, what his inbox looks like and how you can pitch him in a way that gets you an invitation to join their contributor network so that you can have your own column in Inc. Magazine.

Here are some of the topics we cover in depth:

Their vetting process for contributors: They ask contributors questions such as: What is it that you want to write about? What is it that makes you qualified to write about it? What are you going to offer us that no one else can offer us? Then they ask them to give them ten headline ideas for columns that they would write.

Choosing the right content: What distinguishes Inc is that they are always trying to tell the story from the point of view of the entrepreneur. James shares some of the questions he wants contributors to answer in their columns.

Copyright: Knowing Inc.’s copyright policy is crucial to having a smooth working relationship with their editorial team. James will tell you exactly how it works, but the good news is that they don’t cut you off from the IP you create. They have an exclusivity period and some rules to follow afterwards, but it’s reasonably equitable.  

Paid and unpaid columns: They pay columnists who write at least six posts a month minimum. They pay on traffic at a rate of $9.50 per 1,000 U.S page views. For most people it helps with the grocery bill but is not enough to make a living but a handful are making a lot.

James’s inbox: James gets 200-300 emails a day. He looks for ones that stand out and have a targeted and modest goal.

'An email with a subject line that already sounds like a headline story is one I would respond to.' -James LedbetterClick To Tweet

Emails that get deleted immediately: James talks about some of the most common mistakes that both entrepreneurs and PR professionals make. Including that time someone sent him an email saying, “Dear Doris”.

Email subject lines that grab his attention: An email with a subject line that already sounds like a headline story is one he would respond to. For example he got one with the subject line “Is there a doctor on board?” which was about an app that lets you consult a physician while you’re on flight. If you need help creating Inc.-style headlines that will help you pitch not just Inc. but other contributor networks like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and more, click here to grab them at our special limited time pricing (85% off).

Want contributor status at one of the world’s leading business magazines? Click the image above and steal my pitch for free!

Piece of advice that took James out of the baby pool and into the ocean: At his first job in journalism as a summer intern for a magazine called The Wilson Quarterly the man who ran it told him “never come to your boss with a problem, come to your boss with a solution. If it’s the right solution you’ve done him or her a favor but if you just come with a problem you’re making his or her life worse.”

If you’re curious about what it’s like to pivot a young business when the front man (or front woman) is pregnant and is changing the business model you can follow the babygotabump column I write for Entrepreneur.com. Just look for hashtag #babygotabump.

I love hearing from you. I’m @lifewithgeeta on Twitter. If you want a peek into my personal life follow me on Instagram where my handle is Baby Got Booked.

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