I became a Forbes contributor in early 2013 and have written over 160 articles for the publication. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about how the contributor program works, based on my experience:
I was never paid for any of the articles I wrote for Forbes. Some contributors work under an arrangement where they get paid, but I have never met any of those contributors and don’t have much insight into how that program works today.
One article per week
When I was signed up for the program I was asked to write one post per week, although this was never strictly enforced. I once went 3 weeks without posting anything. Numerous other times I went 2 weeks without posting. Nobody ever said anything to me about it.
Post whatever you want? Not quite.
When I was signed up, my editor told me “Just post the same stuff you post on your blog, but on Forbes.” In early 2016 that changed, and contributors are required to stick strictly to a narrow “swim lane” of expertise. If you’re signed up to write about PR, every post is about PR. If you’re signed up to write about digital marketing, then every article you write is focused on digital marketing. If you step out of line you hear about it from your editor.
Publish directly, no pre-publish editing
At Forbes, contributors post directly to the live site. Yeah, no editing, no quality check–just click “post” and it goes live. Editors do check the articles after they’re published and make minor edits. Sometimes if a writer goes off topic the post is taken down, even after it’s published and people have shared it around social media. That happened to me at least twice. I still think it’s the best way to go. Being able to publish immediately is one of the main reasons I wrote so much for Forbes rather than submitting my work to other outlets.
Contributors have access to some great analytics about their posts. They can see performance of posts over time, total views across all posts (views on individual posts are visible to the general public), and a slew of other data.
Contributors are given training via webinars on a regular basis. These focus on writing techniques, SEO, and other factors to improve the quality of the writing, make posts more likely to be shared on social media, and get the posts showing up better in search engines.
Although a bit dated, here are two articles from Forbes (see here and here), talking about how the Forbes contributor program came to be and how it works. If you have further questions, ask me in the comments below and if I don’t have the answers I’ll reach out to contributor friends of mine and include their answers here.Liked it? Share it!