Jabez LeBret
Public Relations, Social PR Secrets

105: Pitching Journalists the Jabez LeBret Way

What’s the best way to get a journalist to cover your news? How do you become a writing contributor at an esteemed publication? Why isn’t ROI a complete enough measurement? In this episode, journalist and former agency owner Jabez LeBret share his insider secrets.

In this new episode of the Social PR Secrets Podcast, host Lisa Buyer sits down with Forbes Magazine contributor, former marketing agency owner, and CEO of Applejax, Jabez LeBret. Like so many of us, Jabez started in the corporate world before becoming an entrepreneur and founding his own agency. He focused on digital marketing, working exclusively with law firms. He then sold it to pursue a career in education. Additionally, Jabez has been a journalist for the past twelve years. He started writing for a Chicago NBC affiliate and is now a regular contributor at Forbes. 

Start Off Small

If you’ve been listening to the Social PR Podcast regularly, you will know that Lisa believes in starting off small. Jabez couldn’t agree more. He advises publishing your first pieces in local, specialized publications before moving your way up. He also recommends getting your start by collaborating with clients or other agencies. The main thing to remember? The big publications will not necessarily be the best returns on efforts.

How to Pitch a Journalist

As a journalist, Jabez LeBret gets pitched all the time. But usually, it’s pretty clear that agencies have not done any research on his work, so pitching does not get them far. That’s what’s challenging, Jabez explains. He always needs access to more content, but most of that issue is not solved by pitches, because the pitches are not qualitative.

His tip for agency owners is to target the people whose pieces you know you want to be featured in. Then, engage them in their world. Follow them on LinkedIn, comment on their posts, meet them at a conference. You can then email them with a question about an article, or ask for clarification or additional information. If your comments add value to the journalist, you’ve got yourself a great introduction. Try to define what their audience cares about and pitch them something that will matter to them and get the journalist more views.

Becoming a Forbes Contributor

Jabez LeBret writes a monthly column for Forbes and has been a contributor for more than seven years. The best way to get in, according to him, is to write for a local affiliate first. Then, once you’ve accumulated enough quality clips, take them to another publication you want to write for. Forbes is looking for people who can write in a non-opinionated way. They also seek out people with sources and connections they can interview.

When asked how to get creative and find new angles, Jabez recommended talking with other people. You will realize that so much of what you believe to be common knowledge is actually valuable and unique to most people. Additionally, you do not have to be the one creating the next cool thing. As long as you provide an interesting analysis of the next cool thing, you will get published and build a following. 

How can you write a book in a few days? Why is the conversion rate often passive? What’s the best way to approach a journalist? Listen to this episode to find out all there is to know about pitching, writing, and succeeding in the PR world.

“Target journalists you admire once you feel worthy enough to be covered by them.” – Jabez LeBret

Some topics discussed in this episode include:

  • Pitching
  • ROI
  • Local publication
  • Forbes
  • Writing a book

Contact Jabez LeBret:

References and Links Mentioned