For B2B tech leaders, appearing in Forbes is a media relations career goal. So, if you receive an email from the Forbes Technology Council saying you’ve been selected to be a Forbes author alongside an exclusive, invite-only group of your peers, you’d probably get pretty excited, right?
Not so fast.
As the media landscape has continued to shift, not only has the number of full-time journalists decreased, but mainstream Tier 1 publications have chosen to decrease their “unbiased” editorial coverage in pursuit of more lucrative opportunities, such as native advertising (code for “pay-for-play”). The problem with these, such as the Forbes Council, is that the opportunity is misguided. According to Everything PR, “after speaking to multiple agency professionals across a variety of marketing disciplines, we are getting the feeling that the Forbes Council is a scheme and scam.”
- There’s a large start-up fee. For example, the Forbes Technology Council costs $1,200.
- Unlike their true editorial pieces, Forbes does not share Council articles on their primary social channels (thus hindering them from reaching the masses). Instead, they reserve sharing to specific Council-focused social pages – reaching a very limited audience. @ForbesTechCncl, for example, has less than 7,500 followers, compared to @Forbes 16,900,000 followers.
- The articles have no SEO benefit. All links within Forbes stories – whether true editorial or from Council members – are set to no-follow, meaning they don’t give SEO juice to the site linked.
- Once becoming a member of the “elite” Council, you are bombarded with endless calls and emails trying to sell you other services.
- Lately, despite the fact that companies pay for this, Forbes still has final say in whether or not articles can be published. For example, one of ARPR’s AI-based clients joined the Council before our partnership began. We gave the opportunity a fair shot. After a little back and forth with the Forbes Council editors, the client’s first article was published to the site. But after our second article submission, they said our client’s CEO couldn’t write about AI anymore. Council editors stated “that isn’t fair because you [the client] are an AI company.”
Simply put, if thought leadership is one of your tech company’s PR priorities, Forbes Councils are NOT your one-shot solution. As a top tech PR agency, we recommend a healthy mix of:
- Earned byline articles
- Newsjacking interviews
- Press briefings and proactive interviews
- An executive social media program
- Analyst relations
- Individual awards
Want to see how it works in action? Click here to see how ARPR led a 3+ year thought leadership program for a cybersecurity client, including more than 60 byline articles resulting in 500 website referrals.