Forbes Europe works best with PRs, companies and entrepreneurs that develop long-term relationships with the title, Forbes Europe editor Alex Wood revealed at today’s exclusive Cision media briefing.
Speaking to a packed audience of PR professionals, Wood explained that he has an “old fashioned” view of how PRs and journalists can work together.
“For me personally, it is about more of a long-term relationship,” he said. “I like to keep in touch with PRs on the basis of ‘these are the clients I have’ or ‘this is what is going on’ or ‘this could happen in the future’. I don’t really respond well to last-minute stuff, purely because I’m so much about quality and I want to do something well rather than see it rushed.”
Wood also discussed the title’s focus on the personalities who drive the business world, how to make pitches stand out to the team and its signature lists and contributor model.
People and personalities are key
The businesspeople and personalities Forbes covers are lifeblood of the Forbes brand and its stories, Wood explained. The team is always looking for up-and-coming influencers and business leaders to speak with.
In the last working week of December they always draw up a list of people to speak to the following year, to the point of even setting up Google news alerts about them.
“Generally I love really opinionated people,” Wood revealed. “I want contrarian views, I want people to stand out there in the market and have something different to say. I think that’s really important for us.”
He added: “I’d really recommend getting in touch in December and helping us build that list as we forward plan content for the following year.”
Forbes is looking for European contributors
Forbes is famous for its network of contributors. It has 2,000 contributors across the world. The team can’t be everywhere and know everything, so it draws on the expertise of others to add scale to its brand. Wood noted that one of the key areas he will look to grow over the coming months is Forbes Europe’s network of contributors, and he is keen for PRs to help him to do this.
“We are going to be aggressively expanding the contributor network in Europe,” he said. “I want to work more collaboratively with PRs and their clients to find experts in their field.”
However, he warned that the title is becoming stricter about removing contributors from the site if the team feels the content they produce does not add value to the Forbes brand.
Pitch to the right people
Wood explained that the title’s chief content officer, Randall Lane, is working to ensure that reporters have specialisms and beats to cover exclusively, rather than working more generally across all content.
This means finding the correct contact for your story is key. But whoever you contact, it is best to email with an eye-catching subject line.
Wood said: “I really like everything to be in an email. It’s just a really easy place to be able to manage and know where you are with things. It’s searchable and I can come back to it.”
He added: “A pitch needs to have a really grabbing subject line and follow the fundamentals of storytelling. It needs to have intrigue and it needs to have surprise.”
Being on a Forbes list is life-changing
Part of the allure of the Forbes brand is its lists recognising businesses and entrepreneurs. Wood recalled a recent trip to Cannes, where CMOs screamed with delight when they found out they had been included on a Forbes list, adding that appearing on one is “the type of thing that can change your life”.
Such is the popularity of its 30 Under 30 series, Wood highlighted that it altered the traditional Forbes reader demographic from “hardened capitalists of the US” to include “thousands of the world’s top up-and-coming entrepreneurs”.
He noted that the team is currently working on, and taking submissions for, the 2019 30 Under 30 List for Europe, which will include a summit in Amsterdam later this year. Wood also revealed that other lists coming to Europe would be Midas list and a Women in Digital list.
Alex Wood spoke to Kaizo director Steph MacLeod at this Cision briefing at The Trampery, a London-based social enterprise, specialising in shared workspace and support for entrepreneurs.
The Trampery is an ecosystem of eight acclaimed shared workspaces and sector-focused facilities across London. More than 500 entrepreneurs, innovators and creative businesses have called it home, with partners including the Barbican, Peabody and London & Partners. Building on this experience, The Trampery is making a strategic shift towards developing ‘innovation districts’ which combine the space and support for entrepreneurs with housing and lifestyle facilities.
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