The business case for writing for high-visibility publications

Before undertaking any authority-building tactic, such as writing articles for high-visibility publications, speaking, starting a podcast, or writing a book, you must clearly identify the business case for doing so. As is true for every authority-building tactic, you are unlikely to be paid to write for high-visibility publications. (Indeed, you should expect to invest your time and possibly your money.) You need a reason to engage in authority-building that goes deeper than financial compensation.

Your contributions are crucial to most publications’ business models.

Business magazines profit from your expertise whether you are interviewed by one of their writers to serve as a subject-matter expert for an article or you write for the publication as a contributing expert.

The opportunity to write for publications as a contributing expert arose to satisfy a specific need.

Business magazines rely heavily on advertising revenue. Today, a great deal of that advertising happens online. Online advertising revenue is driven by website traffic. The more traffic the business publication’s website gets, the more advertising revenue it earns. Website traffic relies on search engine optimization (SEO), which is driven by a steady influx of original, high-quality content.

The magazine’s need for content far outpaces its capacity to produce that content.

We may be moving into a post-SEO world. If that is the case, original, high-quality content will be even more important.

The articles you write as a contributing expert help the publication reach its advertising revenue goals, which helps pay for the freelance writers, staff writers, editors, and countless other staff who keep the publication running. But more importantly, your articles help the publication serve its readers.

Today, readers can read articles written by professional writers who incorporate independent research and the perspectives of several subject-matter experts and articles written by working consultants with boots-on-the-ground experience. That’s a potent combination.

You receive real value in exchange for your expertise.

The value you provide to these publications is significant. The value you receive is equally significant — provided you use it wisely.

By writing for a high-visibility publication, you can build your authority and stand out from your peers. Writing for these publications lets you present your ideas and perspective to a well-established, targeted audience interested in your area of expertise. Other authority-building tactics, like writing a book or hosting a podcast, require you to build your own audience.

Writing for high-visibility publications also allows you to enjoy the imprimatur of the publication — their editorial team vetted you, and by publishing your work, they are signaling to their audience that you are an authority in your field. You are effectively borrowing the publication’s reputation and relationship with its audience and using that social proof to build your own reputation and relationships.

If you treat your articles as appreciating assets, you can translate the intangible benefits of reputation and relationships into tangible benefits to your business.

Chloé Nwangwu is the founder of NobiWorks. She has done extensive research on visibility biases and coined the term “underrecognized.” A graduate of my Pathway to Publication program, she published “Why We Should Stop Saying ‘Underrepresented’” in Harvard Business Review in April 2023. As a result of this article and her ongoing promotion thereof, she has been invited to speak at conferences and summits and serve as a guest expert on podcasts. She uses the article to expand her network and start conversations with prospective clients and partners.

Fair compensation is a value-for-value exchange.

A value-for-value exchange only works when both parties value what is being exchanged. The value exchange you engage in when you write for a high-visibility publication is quite different from the value exchange freelance writers engage in when they write for a publication.

Freelance writers provide a different type of value to high-visibility publications than contributing experts. Their ability to find a good story, identify all the angles of that story, conduct interviews, and craft that story so the reader understands every nuanced detail is a valuable skill. They also have the freedom to present a variety of perspectives in one article. They dive deep into the nuances, are skilled at sniffing out misinformation (and disinformation), and don’t shy away from asking difficult questions. They are exceptional researchers and interviewers. And, of course, they are excellent writers.

Freelance writers write about a variety of topics. Writing for a publication isn’t about building authority or connecting with a specific audience. It’s their job.

Freelance writers don’t write to support their business; writing is their business.

It is the craft they have dedicated years of their lives to learning and improving. Unlike consultants and other expert contributors, however, freelance writers only need to know who the audience is to ensure their piece is relevant to that audience. But they write for several publications, which means they write for several different audiences. Access to a well-established and well-defined audience isn’t valuable for freelance writers.

As a consultant, you undoubtedly write a lot. But writing isn’t your profession — it is a tool that helps you convey your ideas to your audience, differentiate yourself from your peers, and build your authority.

Only two authority-building tactics give you access to a tailor-made audience interested in your perspective: writing for high-visibility publications and speaking, whether at industry events, as a guest on a podcast, or at another gathering.

You’re not writing articles to get published; you’re getting published to achieve specific business goals. Whether you are looking to secure more speaking engagements, connect with fellow leaders in your industry, or get more meetings with the right prospects on the books, being invited to engage with an already-established, well-defined audience is significantly more valuable than the small sum offered by the few publications that pay their expert contributors.

Before investing your time in any authority-building tactic, make sure you have a clear and compelling business case for doing so.

What if I disagree with my editor?

If you’ve never worked with a publication’s editor before, navigating the relationship can feel a bit tricky. Every editor has a different communication style, and every publication has different editorial guidelines. What passes muster with one editor may not satisfy another. In fact, the same editor can sometimes send conflicting messages. While they might quickly approve an article featuring one expert, they might cut several paragraphs from a similar article about another.

What should you do if you disagree with your editor? When can you push back? When should you just let it go? And what will happen if you do push back?

Even professional writers get upset when their work is heavily edited and nervous when they have to push back. If an editor has already invested their time and energy into your work, they are unlikely to pull the piece simply because you respectfully disagree. Give your editor the benefit of the doubt and look at your writing from their perspective so you know the best way to address the issue.

Remember that your editor is your partner.

Editors are working with you, not against you. They want your article to be as strong and compelling as possible; most edits are made to accomplish those goals.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to see your article marked up and torn apart.

The first time I wrote an article for a magazine, you could barely see the words for all the red ink! Sitting in a coffee shop across from my editor, I was mortified. My writing career was over before it even got started. I was also angry. I told her I wasn’t a writer when she first mentioned the idea. Why didn’t she listen?

Before I could spin out further, she told me I did an excellent job with my piece and asked if I would keep writing for the magazine.

I took a deep breath and a closer look at the article. There was a lot of red ink. But by looking at each edit and comment individually, I started to see my piece from her perspective. I realized how a little bit of restructuring would make the piece a lot stronger.

When an editor asks a question, they really do want to know what you think. They are opening a dialogue with you and want to understand your perspective. Their goal is to make sure your piece is crafted well and will reach the intended audience.

The more closely you can work with your editor, the better your article will be. Good editors appreciate a healthy and productive back-and-forth, so be forthcoming with your thoughts, and if you disagree with your editor, let them know why. If you understand the editor’s concerns but disagree with their proposed resolution, offer an alternative.

Understand the competing interests at play.

An editor’s first loyalty is to the reader. Publications exist to serve their readers, and editors will review every article from that perspective. Readers are the lifeblood of every publication. Annoy, confuse, or belittle them, and they will go elsewhere.

One of the quickest ways to annoy your readers is to treat them like walking wallets and publish articles that are nothing more than thinly disguised marketing collateral. If your editor thinks something you wrote is overly promotional, they will cut it (and you should let them). If what they cut changes the tone of the piece, offer an alternative paragraph or two so you still make your point but aren’t promoting your work or someone else’s work.

Knowing what is and what is not overly promotional is more of an art than a science. What is approved and published today might be cut from your next article. Don’t feel bad if you cross the line; keep learning so you can become a more and more valuable contributor.

An editor’s second loyalty is to the publication, which can get tricky.

There’s always been a bit of tension between the advertising and editorial departments of magazines. Magazines have always relied heavily on advertising revenue, so keeping advertisers happy was in the best interest of the publication and the primary interest of the advertising department.

When I wrote for a now-defunct print magazine, some of my assignments were first proposed by advertisers. If they had a good project that fit into the magazine’s editorial calendar, we’d write a piece about it. The problem arose when the advertising department asked the editor to promote the advertiser in the article. In those cases, the editor had to negotiate with the advertising department and the writer.

You aren’t likely to run into this exact scenario, but you will still feel the tension between advertising and editorial.

Traditional business publications with an online presence still depend on advertising revenue. Online advertising revenue, however, is driven by the amount of traffic the website receives. Traffic is driven by search engine optimization (SEO), which is driven by a never-ending stream of high-quality content.

Because SEO is crucial to the publication’s business model, editors may change an article’s title, subtitle, first few lines, and subheadings to make it more compelling. So long as they don’t change the tone of your piece, understand that they are doing it to entice more people to read it. If you can’t stomach a change, contact your editor. Explain your position and offer an alternative solution.

Protect your reputation.

While you want to have a good relationship with your editor, at the end of the day, your name is on the piece, and you have to be able to stand by it. In other words, you are responsible for what gets published under your name.

Choose your battles. Not every edit you disagree with is critical, and editors are busy. If you can let it go, do so. Speak up if a name is misspelled or a factual error has been incorporated into the piece. Editors want your article to be accurate as much as you do, so they will likely rectify the mistake quickly.

When you raise a concern, be polite and respectful. If that means you have to walk around the block before responding to your editor, do it. You want a good working relationship with your editor, and polite disagreement is a sign of respect and shows that you take your work seriously. Be clear about why the edit doesn’t work, and offer an alternative solution.

As a freelance writer, I vehemently disagreed with an editor on only a handful of occasions. Generally, I want to offer my editor as much support as possible because they know I only object when it’s important.

Anytime my editor asked me to promote an advertiser in an article I wrote for the home and garden magazine, I would do my best to help my editor appease the advertising department. But I refused to write an advertorial (an advertisement that looks like an editorial article). As the person with her name on the piece, I got to decide what was overly promotional and what was acceptable.

Only once did I have to stand firm and flat-out refuse to make a requested change. I told my editor that I understood where she was coming from and that the changes could be made to the article so long as my name was taken off the piece. I wasn’t privy to the conversations my editor had, but I know she fought like hell for me. My article was published as written — with my name as the byline.

As a freelance writer, I could take my name off a piece because I would still be paid for it, and my articles weren’t about me. As an expert, however, you always want your work published with your name because it is about you, your expertise, and your perspective. So, while you may not have the option to take your name off a piece, you can pull a piece if you and your editor can’t reach an agreement. Most editors will respect your decision. And once you’ve pulled a piece, you are free to publish it on your blog, as a LinkedIn article, or on another third-party publication.

Navigating disagreements with your editor can feel uncomfortable, but remember that this is a conversation with a colleague, and the publication wants your content as much as you want to write for the publication. A good editor will welcome your questions and concerns and do their best to address them. Before you push back, seek to understand your editor’s perspective. Stay curious, polite, and respectful. And always offer an alternative solution.

How do you earn a reputation as an authoritative expert?

As an established consultant, you have extensive knowledge of a particular subject garnered through research, education, and experience. This ever-deepening knowledge informs your perspective; it is at the heart of who you are and how you want to make a difference in the world. You are always listening, learning, and taking the time to understand the problem behind the problem.

You’ve built your career on your hard-earned knowledge and experience. And while you are well-regarded by your colleagues and clients, you still feel like a well-kept secret.

Being great at what you do isn’t the same as being known for what you do.

To earn a reputation as an authoritative expert in your field, focus on the three C’s:

  1. Conviction. You cannot build your reputation as an authoritative expert if you don’t share your ideas publicly. Giving voice to your ideas forces you to think more deeply so you can communicate it clearly. When you test your idea in the marketplace, your audience can evaluate it. The feedback they provide allows you to refine your idea further. As you refine your idea, you gain the confidence and clarity you need to share your idea with conviction. Every time you share your idea, you demonstrate your expertise, expand your influence, and magnify your impact.
  2. Credibility. You cannot build your reputation as an authoritative expert if you don’t demonstrate your credibility. In a world where everyone claims to have all the answers, you can stand out by clearly signaling to your audience precisely what makes you a credible expert. Your credentials may include degrees and certifications, where you studied or worked, testimonials, and public appearances, including speaking engagements, podcast appearances, media mentions, and bylines. Your credibility is based on your experience-based expertise.
  3. Community. You cannot build your reputation as an authoritative expert in a vacuum; you need a community. Your community includes the people to whom you wish to be of service. It also includes your colleagues, friends, and collaborators. Your community challenges and celebrates you — and you do the same for them. They expose you to different perspectives and help you refine your ideas by providing thoughtful and relevant feedback. They also help you spread the word by sharing your ideas with the people who need to hear them most.

When you write articles for publications like Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Entrepreneur, you not only share your idea with the publication’s readers, but you do so with conviction. These publications vetted you; they reviewed your credentials and, by choosing to publish your work, are signaling to their readers that you are a credible expert who offers a valuable perspective. You can reinforce that perspective by sharing the most relevant credentials in your contributor bio. By writing articles that provide smart, actionable advice, you build your community even further.

There are many ways to become an authoritative expert. Still, it is impossible to achieve that goal without conviction, credibility, and community. The world is a noisy place. By sharing thoughtful and actionable insights, your audience will come to value your perspective, and your voice will be heard.

Five ways writing helps you build your reputation as an authoritative expert

Few people can articulate why they do the work they do. Fewer can explain why they want to write a book, publish articles, start a podcast, speak at a conference, or get interviewed by The New York Times.

Like most consultants, you want to be recognized as an authoritative expert. You want to build your personal brand, attract more clients, open the doors to more speaking engagements, and earn more media exposure because doing so allows you to expand your influence and magnify your impact.

Writing articles for publication is one way to share your ideas with a broader audience, demonstrate your credibility, and cultivate your community. But you can accomplish that same goal by speaking at industry conferences, getting featured by media outlets, or being a guest on a podcast. So why write? What can writing do for you that other visibility-building tactics cannot? ​

1. Writing requires you to think deeply.

​Good writing requires deep thinking. That’s what makes it so challenging and satisfying. When you start writing an article, you have to think critically about the subject so you can transform your ideas into a clear and compelling concept. There is no room for ambiguity in good writing. You have to know precisely what you want to convey to the reader and then find the best words to explain your idea.

2. Writing fosters creativity and innovation.

​​Good writing requires deep thinking, and deep thinking requires you to examine your area of expertise from different angles and to be constantly learning. Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places — a book of poetry, a podcast, a conversation with a friend, a ski lesson, or an artist talk. Your job is to capture that spark of an idea in a notebook or on your phone so you can explore it when you sit down to write. ​

3. Writing formulates your point of view.

​When you think deeply about your area of expertise and look at it from every possible angle, you develop a clear, unique, and thoughtful point of view. That point of view and how you express yourself is the common thread through all of your visibility-building efforts.

4. Writing improves your communication skills.

​Writing helps you communicate highly complex ideas more confidently and effectively, whether speaking in front of an audience or being interviewed by a journalist. This confidence enables you to become a better listener and pay close attention to the perspectives other people bring to your work.

5. Writing tests and refines your ideas.

Writing makes it painfully obvious when your ideas need further development, prompting you to do more research. It also allows you to refine your ideas as those who read your work share their perspective or ask thought-provoking questions.

Writing, unlike speaking, does not allow you to rely on context, shared knowledge, or body language to convey your message. You must use the written word alone, which leaves no room for ambiguity. Your writing must be cogent, well-researched, and compelling to get your message across. And, because written material can be read repeatedly and analyzed closely, it must be strong enough to withstand a much higher level of scrutiny than other visibility-building tactics like public speaking.

Regardless of whether you write for publication, becoming a better writer will make you a deeper thinker, stronger communicator, and better consultant.

How do you know which publications to pitch?

Before you pitch your idea for an article or column, you need to select the publications that will help you reach your goals. Hundreds of influential blogs, trade journals, and business magazines seek contributed content. And each one has a different set of guidelines.

You may have a few publications on your list already. Some of the most popular publications include Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, and Inc. These are well-respected, prestigious publications with loyal audiences. So they should be on your list of publications to consider. But don’t be surprised if not all of these publications stay on your list — or that none is your top choice.

You want to be recognized as an authoritative expert, and you want to raise your profile by publishing articles that build your authority and increase your visibility. But to be effective, your pitch strategy must be grounded in research and a deep understanding of your goals and objectives.

Create your pitch strategy by answering these five questions.

​Writing articles for third-party publications is one way to share your ideas with a broader audience, demonstrate your credibility, and cultivate your community. But knowing which publication to pitch requires you to think more deeply about your goals. To create your publication roadmap, answer these five questions:

1. What is your primary purpose for publishing on third-party platforms?

Are you publishing articles on third-party platforms because you want to promote your business and inspire readers to signup for your newsletter, download a resource, or register for a webinar? Or are you publishing articles for the links to your website that improve your SEO (search engine optimization)? Or are you publishing articles to share your expertise, build your authority, and increase your visibility? You may be publishing articles for all three of these reasons, but what is your primary purpose?

Knowing your purpose helps you establish filters so you can choose the right publication. For example, if your primary purpose is to improve SEO or inspire readers to signup for your newsletter, you want to look for publications that allow you to have a contributor bio and backlink at the bottom of each article you write. Entrepreneur and Inc. only offer a simple byline with a link to your author page. But Harvard Business Review includes a contributor bio and backlink at the bottom of each piece.

2. Whom do you want to read your articles?

Who is your primary audience for your articles? Are you writing to connect with prospective clients, colleagues, or industry leaders? What publications does your intended audience read regularly? If you’re trying to connect with prospective clients, you might want to consider industry trade journals and association blogs.

3. What do you want to write about?

Do you want to share your insights and expertise? Or do you want to interview other experts and incorporate their perspectives into your articles? Writing for a third-party publication can help you secure an interview with people you admire, but not every publication welcomes these types of profile pieces. Entrepreneur prioritizes your stories and lessons learned. They allow you to quote other experts, but only if they are well-known business leaders. Other publications, including Inc., are more flexible and are happy to accept actionable and informative profile pieces, so long as they are not overly promotional.

4. How often do you want to publish articles?

Do you want to publish articles regularly or more sporadically? Some publications request that you pitch an idea for a column. For example, Inc. asks contributors to make a six-month commitment and encourages them to publish an article every two weeks. Entrepreneur also allows you to have a column, but you don’t need to establish a schedule. Harvard Business Review requires you to pitch each piece individually.

It’s worth noting that while most publications require original content, content that has never been published to your blog or another outlet, many allow you to republish your article (with a link back to the original) after a short waiting period. Keep this in mind as you seek to balance writing for publication with writing for your blog, newsletter, and social media.

5. How many publications do you want to be affiliated with?

Do you want to write for one publication? Or do you want to write for several publications? Or would you prefer a hybrid approach, where you write primarily for one publication but occasionally pitch articles to others? Finding the right balance can be tricky. Pitching articles takes time, and not everyone enjoys the process. So choose a strategy that fits your personality and plays to your strengths.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can create a shortlist of publications for further consideration. You’ll want to study each of these publications closely, reading several articles and reviewing their contributor guidelines to determine which ones are a good fit. You’ll find that each publication has a particular personality — a voice and tone that is unique to that publication. Industry leaders, colleagues, and prospective clients will make assumptions about you based on your affiliation with a publication. Your reputation is the most critical asset you have in this business, so make sure you protect it.

Evaluating the publications on your shortlist

Hundreds of influential blogs, trade journals, and business magazines seek contributed content. But not all of these publications will help you reach your goals. Before you pitch your idea for an article or column, identify the publications that will help you reach your goals. That will give you a shortlist to consider.

​But how do you narrow down that shortlist?

Your pitch strategy must be grounded in research and a deep understanding of your goals and objectives. Once you have your shortlist, you must evaluate each option to ensure the publication’s style is compatible with yours.

​We are judged by the company we keep. Industry leaders, colleagues, and prospective clients will make assumptions about your ideas, skill level, and credibility based on your affiliation with a particular publication. Make sure the publications you affiliate with reflect your personality and values.

Three elements to review to determine a publication's style.

Every publication has a particular writing style. The way the message is crafted influences the reader’s impression of the message. Style includes diction, tone, and voice. You want your style to complement the publication’s style. To determine the publication’s style, evaluate these three elements:

  1. Diction. Diction is the choice and use of words and phrases in speech and writing. Pay attention to the positive or negative connotation around the words and phrases that appear in a publication’s headlines. Notice how the choice of words and phrases also influences whether the publication sounds formal, academic, or casual.
  2. Tone. By paying attention to word choice, you also get a sense of a publication’s tone. Does the article you’re reviewing sound objective or subjective? Logical or emotional? Intimate or distant? Serious or humorous? Formal or casual? Respectful or irreverent? Enthusiastic or matter-of-fact? Think about the tone of a specific article. If the tone is serious, could it have been written as a humorous piece? Ask yourself why the writer chose to write in this tone. Is this the dominant tone across all of the publication’s articles? Or did the subject matter require this particular tone?
  3. ​Voice. A publication’s voice can be difficult to put into words. Voice makes an article recognizable as one published in a particular media outlet. A publication’s voice is its personality. Think about BuzzFeed and Harvard Business Review. What makes these publications so different from one another? Voice. While tone varies depending on the situation, voice is consistent.

​To get a sense of a publication’s style, you’ll need to study each one closely. Read several articles from the last year, and pay attention to the headlines. Headlines are where a publication’s voice shines. If a publication’s headlines, graphics, or topics of interest elicit a scowl or eye-roll, it’s probably not a good fit — no matter how popular the publication.

The trouble with thought leadership

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term "thought leader" first appeared in writing in 1887. But it didn't take hold until more than one hundred years later when Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business magazine, started a column profiling thought leaders of the day.

"A thought leader is recognized by peers, customers, and industry experts as someone who deeply understands the business they are in, the needs of their customers and the broader marketplace in which they operate," said Kurtzman. "They have distinctively original ideas, unique points of view, and new insights.”

As experts in our fields, we all aspire to be thought leaders. But that honorific may not work out the way we expect it to. Consider the evidence:

1. Thought leaders must be anointed by others.

The term "thought leader" first appeared in an 1887 book written by Lyman Abbott about his predecessor, Henry Ward Beecher. A prolific writer and public speaker, Beecher was a Congregationalist minister, abolitionist, and champion of women's suffrage, temperance, and Darwin's theory of evolution. After defending his friend's memory against ongoing rumors that he committed adultery, Abbott assured the reader that "Mr. Beecher retains his position as the most eminent preacher and one of the great thought leaders in America."

Henry Ward Beecher was very well known, as was his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. But he wasn't referred to as a thought leader until after his death. The lack of that honorific during his lifetime did nothing to change the scope of his impact.

2. Thought leaders don't always get the brightest spotlight.

You are probably familiar with Steve Jobs, the visionary genius and co-founder of Apple. But does the name Edwin Land ring a bell? Land was the founder of Polaroid, which was once the hottest technology company in the world in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. In a 1985 interview in Playboy, Jobs referred to Land as a "brilliant troublemaker." He modeled Apple after Polaroid and himself after Land.

Edwin Land was a true thought leader. But it was his protege, Steve Jobs, who received the accolades and recognition that lasted well beyond his lifetime. Land's contributions are not quite as obvious to the general public as Jobs's contributions, but that doesn't diminish their impact.

3. Thought leaders are often ridiculed and ostracized.

On the cover of the August 1997 issue of Nature, the term "wood-wide web" was used to refer to Dr. Suzanne Simard's article about the power of mycorrhizal networks. Her findings called into question the established wisdom espoused by veteran foresters — beliefs based on the Darwinian theory of the survival of the fittest. Her work was met with enthusiasm, followed by harsh (and baseless) criticism. It nearly ended her career.

Dr. Simard's research was groundbreaking, but she paid a steep price for daring to disrupt her industry. She had to fight for her findings and funding to continue her research for ten years. Today, she is a respected forest ecologist, author, speaker, and professor.

​To be regarded as a thought leader, you must build your reputation and have the title bestowed upon you. But you have no control over others' opinions of your work and ideas, and those who confer this coveted title may not be the people impacted by your work.

The truth is that you don't have to be a thought leader to make a difference. You don't have to be a thought leader to be an expert. And you don't have to be a thought leader to be a thoughtful leader.

Instead of focusing on other people's opinions of your work, focus on the things you can control. Show up, provide value, and be your full brilliant self. If you end up being regarded as a thought leader, that's great. That is certainly a cause for celebration. But then get back to work. Because recognition isn't what matters.

How to fact-check your work, so you don't damage your reputation

Your reputation as an authority is your most valuable asset, and it is up to you to protect it. Years ago, almost every publication had a team responsible for fact-checking every article. Most large media outlets had teams of specially-trained fact-checkers, while smaller publications required the editorial staff to check the facts of each article they edited. But today, most outlets rely on the writer to fact-check their work and attest to its accuracy.

As an expert, the responsibility for fact-checking your work lies entirely with you. Scrutinizing your work to find errors is not easy, but with a little practice, it will become easier. Here are five steps to help you fact-check your work so you can maintain your credibility with your readers:

1. Prepare to fact-check your work.

Collect all of the backup information you collected as you worked on your piece. If you interview someone, make sure you have their contact information. If you conduct desk research, note the author, title, date, link, and publisher for every book, article, video, or podcast episode.

2. Step away from the piece.

Fact-checking requires you to look at your work from the perspective of a cantankerous reader. To get into that mindset, give yourself a little time and space between writing and fact-checking.

3. Review your article and shore up any areas of weakness.

Read the entire article slowly. If you were tasked with discrediting the author of this piece, where would you poke holes in the argument? How do you know that a particular claim is valid? Are all of the cited sources reputable? What doesn’t ring true about the piece? Now, how can you address each of these concerns?

4. Print your article and identify items to check.

Read the article again, backward. Highlight proper nouns, underline facts (including superlatives and opinions masquerading as facts), circle numbers, and put a box around citations.

5. Verify the information.

Verify the spelling of proper nouns, statements of fact, numbers, and citations. Pay close attention to superlatives because these claims are rarely accurate. Double- and triple-check any discoveries that you find especially exciting or disheartening because our emotions can cloud our judgment, and things are seldom as straightforward as they seem. When stating your opinion, make sure it’s clear to the reader.

​Fact-checking is a skill. Anyone can be a better fact-checker, but it takes practice and must be done with intention. Download and use my fact-checking checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. (And update it as you discover new challenges.)

The better you become at fact-checking your work, the more your work will add to your credibility and authority as an expert in your field. And that is worth the extra effort.

How to write for high-visibility publications

Writing for high-visibility publications is one of the most effective ways to build your reputation as an authoritative expert. It allows you to share your perspective with a well-established audience, demonstrates your credibility, and opens the doors to new opportunities and coveted speaking engagements.

​Building your authority, differentiating yourself from your peers, and positioning yourself as the obvious choice takes time and a consistent, focused effort. The options and advice can feel overwhelming. Even if you know that you want to write articles for publication, you still have to figure out which publications accept contributed content, how to choose the right publication, and what goes into a pitch. The good news? There’s a recipe for writing for high-visibility publications.

The SILVA Method™

The SILVA Method is a step-by-step approach to help you identify, pitch, and write for the high-visibility publications that will best serve your business goals, getting you the results you want while minimizing the time, money, and energy you invest.

Building your authority requires you to play the long game. There are no shortcuts. But this step-by-step approach will keep you focused and moving forward. It will save you a tremendous amount of time and help you develop a plan that fits into your workflow.

Select Your Publication. Identify and prioritize your business goals, intended audience, and how your expertise can serve that audience. Then determine how writing for publication will fit into your workflow. Evaluate each publication against these criteria and select one that compliments your voice and style.

Illuminate Your Body of Work. Clearly define your area of expertise, the relationship you wish to build, and your point of view. Identify your major themes, the topics that support those themes, the angles from which you can approach those topics, and examples that demonstrate your experience-based expertise.

Level-Up Your Writing. Understand how to structure a business article and the difference between writing for print and online publications. Establish a writing practice to develop your voice and style. Research, write, rewrite, and edit an article for publication, fact-checking it prior to submission.

Validate Your Ideas. Writing for third-party publications validates your ideas and provides social proof. To succeed, you must understand the pitch process and the publication’s readership. Craft a compelling pitch that demonstrates your expertise, point of view, and the value you’ll provide the publication’s readers.

Accelerate Your Authority. Work does not end once an article is published. Learn how to use your articles as appreciating assets that help you achieve clear business goals. Promote, repurpose, and syndicate articles to maximize the benefits.

​If you want to position yourself as the obvious choice, increase your income, expand your influence, and magnify your impact, you must differentiate yourself from your peers and be memorable. You must invest in building your reputation as an authoritative expert.

Writing articles for high-visibility publications is one way to accomplish that goal. As a strategy, it is most effective if you already know your audience, have experience working with them and getting them the results they seek, and feel compelled to share your message so you can make an impact as well as a living.

High-Visibility Publications Need Your Insights

Quiet brilliance doesn’t earn you a reputation as an authoritative expert.

Early in my career, I worked with an extraordinary researcher at a non-governmental organization in Washington, D.C. She was smart, insightful, and warm. Her colleagues respected her intellect and relied on her to edit and fact-check articles, reports, and speeches. But she never took the leap and shared her own research. When it came time to select the lead researcher for a new project, she was not even considered.

​This story is all too common.

So many brilliant people want just a little more time to refine their ideas and make sure they are perfect before sharing them publicly. But perfection is an unachievable goal.

And the pursuit of perfection is holding you back.

There’s never been a better time to share your ideas.

Fifteen years ago, it would have been difficult for a consultant to get a byline in Inc., Entrepreneur, or Fast Company. But these prestigious business publications now rely on experienced professionals to share their insights with their readers.

Your perspective is invaluable to the publication’s readers, but it is crucial to the success of the publication’s business model. Let me explain:

  • Magazines rely heavily on advertising revenue.
  • A great deal of that advertising happens online.
  • Online advertising revenue is proportional to website traffic.
  • Website traffic relies on search engine optimization (SEO).
  • SEO requires a steady influx of original, high-quality content.

High-visibility publications need a tremendous amount of original, high-quality content. Their need for that content far outpaces their capacity for creating it. In fact, many of these publications would go out of business if they had to pay their staff writers and freelance writers for all the content they needed to produce.

As an experienced consultant, you can help associations, trade journals, and business magazines meet the need for original, high-quality content. In return, you get to share your ideas with a well-established audience, demonstrate your credibility, and build your community while increasing your visibility and opening the door to new opportunities.

The readers win.

The publications win.

You win.

It’s not enough to be great at what you do. If you want to make an impact, your voice needs to be heard. Writing for high-visibility publications is one of the most effective ways to share your ideas and build your reputation as an authoritative expert.