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Are you scratching your head trying to figure out how to turn those famous Facebook “likes” into actual cashflow? Yeah, me too!

It’s what small business owners are told to do, right?

“There’s 1.3 billion people on Facebook!” the stats scream. 

Sure. But if only 103 of them like my Facebook business page and most of them are friends and family, how does that help me connect with paying clients? Right?

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Back in 2014, when I was thinking of launching Baby Got Booked, we were living on a single income (I had been on maternity leave for 2 years) and we got news that my husband’s job was one of the ones slated for the next round of cuts at the CBC (Canada’s version of the BBC), where he worked as a TV director.

Talk about stress!

I dabbled in some paid Facebook ads. I posted like a maniac on Instagram. I tweeted till I thought I’d pass out.

But I simply wasn’t getting the results I needed.

So I decided to go old school. With a twist…

I decided to skip the exhausting and expensive “audience acquisition” step – the part where I somehow magically grew my social following overnight (it wasn’t working for me), and focus on bringing my content to audiences that had already been built and who were being actively nurtured.

Which led me to get on TV, land my own column in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur magazine and of course, Inc.

Here’s what happened next…

Almost overnight, I began to drive traffic to my website. Plus, when I pitched meeting planners as a professional speaker, I was able to pepper my emails with all these credibility-boosting articles I’d written for big name publications.

Let’s take Inc.com, since that’s what we’re here to talk about.

They have 16 million monthly readers. And a team dedicated to promoting your content on their social networks.

Which means that when I write for them, each post gets thousands upon thousands of page views per week (without me having to drive the traffic).

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I get a chance to put my storytelling and expertise in front of literally millions of my ideal clients (with backlinks to my site – free SEO anyone?!).

A chance to work with their FANTASTIC editorial staff  – as a journalist with more than 22 years’ experience, I’ve worked with my share of editors and let me tell you, the Inc. team is a TREAT!

Access to all their other contributors (talk about a group of power players). This is hands-down my favourite way to make new friends and find mentors.

Training on what’s working based on their measurements of traffic, click rates and engagement (they measure EVERYTHING!!).

Plus, I retain copyright to my stuff, so I can reuse it in books, on my own blog, for other smaller business sites and more.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part: After seeing my stuff on Inc and Entrepreneur, Forbes reached out to ask if I’d like to write for them! Yes, they came to me.

Which proves something that I’ve known from my experience on both sides of the camera: when the media already loves you, the media loves you more.

Each interview, TV clip, article or blog post you put out on a major media platform acts as a commercial not just for your brand but for how you are as a media expert. It shows the quality of your information and your ability to parse it for a lay audience. Video clips highlight your presence and visual packaging (an important aspect for anyone who wants to be on a big name TV segment).

And of course, the fact that you’ve been vetted and deemed worthy by other producers and journalists assuage any anxiety that a stressed-out booker on a really high profile show might feel about working with you for the first time.

Delivering value to audiences (without having to build them from scratch like on social) is basically how I took my own business from idea to multi-six-figures in the first 12 months when I launched Baby Got Booked.

So, today I’d like to offer you a road map to becoming the kind of expert that the Inc. team wants to play with:

Choose the right content: What distinguishes Inc is that they are always trying to tell the story from the point of view of the entrepreneur. How did this person make this happen? How did they overcome the obstacles that are well known to people in small business? What makes them tick and what can readers take away and use in their own business?

They love evidence-based information. So, quote studies, stats from reliable sources, even TED experts (as long as they’re really credible).

The best way to make sure your content is on point is to visit their website and use the search bar to look for posts on your topic. This will tell you what they already have (so you don’t pitch them something they’ve previously covered) and it will also help you identify gaps in their content that your expertise might fill.

For example: If you’re a whiz at Facebook marketing, here’s what they’ve already covered. Do you have fresh ideas or angles that would make a sexy headline (we’ve got hacks for that part too – keep reading). You can do this process for just about any topic.

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You can get paid! 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. Some contributors get upwards of 300,000 monthly page views on their content. That’s $300 per post.

Copyright: The copyright is temporary. They are not in a position of wanting to own all the rights to everything that they publish online. They ask for exclusivity for a certain number of weeks and when that period is over, you can do absolutely anything you want with it including re-publishing it elsewhere or turning it into a book. They do ask that you republish under a different headline (for SEO purposes).

In our Baby Got Booked course, we actually have a workflow to help you get maximum play for the content you create. All my years as a freelancer mean I’m a ninja at figuring out how to do the research and writing once and then publish something in multiple outlets while always following the rules and keeping the media folks I work with happy.

James’s inbox: James Ledbetter gets 200-300 emails a day.

Emails that get deleted immediately: Emails with 7 MB files attached will be deleted immediately due to limited storage space. People that send out multiple emails and forget to change the name so James will get things like “Dear Doris”; if your attention to detail is that low he doesn’t want to deal with you.

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.

We have a template pack that we built to help you hack this. Here are a couple of quick examples:

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A little something personal that James share with me on the podcast: 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.”

Want James Ledbetter’s email address and a fill-in-the-blank template that will make it super easy for him to say “yes” to your pitch? Click here.