What better way to show people you help entrepreneurs than to write a column for a magazine called Entrepreneur®?

That’s the appeal of the Entrepreneur Leadership Network®, Entrepreneur magazine’s contributor program. The program is large and has had many iterations over the years, but has steadily grown into a platform where professionals can flex their knowledge on nearly any subject relevant to business. It’s also a cash cow for the mag.

My personal story is I began writing for Entrepreneur in 2019, before their contributor network became a paid program. I notched over 50 articles on entrepreneur.com from 2019-2022, which helped me build authority in my industry, secure bylines with other outlets, and eventually get poached for my current day job as an editor.

If you know you want to showcase your knowledge in the form of articles, the ELN might be a great fit.

Key Takeaways

  • The ELN lets you submit articles to an editor, then have them published on entrepreneur.com.
  • The publication wants articles that share advice or personal experience relevant to businesses.
  • Contributors are able to write short content on general business topics and get their articles fast-tracked onto the website.
  • The Entrepreneur team doesn’t want ELN writers to be journalists. They are opinion contributors. A rule of thumb is you shouldn’t be interviewing anyone for your column.
  • An SEO note: Entrepreneur.com uses nofollow links for all articles.

Now the bad news: The ELN used to be free, then went to $1,000 a year in 2021. Now it’s $3,000 a year.

If you don’t want to pay, you could pitch a staff writer at Entrepreneur instead, which requires a different approach. Here’s what to know.

Why Care About Personal Brand?

First, let’s quickly calibrate on why you’d want to write for a publication in the first place.

In our modern world, readers are skeptical of what they see on the internet. Since anyone can create content, it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. This challenge has been amplified in recent years by the rise of ChatGPT and other LLM AI technologies.

Media publications have editorial standards and fact-checkers to ensure their information is accurate. They also have the advantage of being a household-name brand for years or even decades. When I say something like “I’ve written for Entrepreneur magazine,” it implies credibility and expertise – even if you don’t know who I am or what I do yet. That’s the power of earned media.

Writing for publications can also be a great marketing play. These websites often get millions of visitors per month and can reach more people, faster. If you want to drive readers to your site, it might be worth your time to contribute to a publication.

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An Important Note on Financial Relationship Disclosures

Don’t turn your column into a pay-to-play offer to businesses. Forbes also has had problems with this.

If you sell your article space, both you and entrepreneur.com are violating FTC regulations for media – you’ll definitely lose your column, and you could face legal action.

Pro Tip:Media publications are legally required to disclose when their content has been financially influenced in any way. By selling spots in your column, you’re violating both the brand’s code of conduct and FTC regulations.

The Different Types of Writers at Entrepreneur

Most contributors to Entrepreneur are unpaid. However, there are also staff writers. Here are the main differences.

Staff Writer/Editor

Editors, staff writers, and editorial directors are salaried employees at Entrepreneur. They will have a unique email address that ends in entrepreneur.com because they work for the brand. Staff writers oversee features and news coverage, and might be assigned to the website, the magazine, or both.

If you’re looking for a feature or to be interviewed, your strategy would be to pitch a staff writer for coverage, similar to how you would pitch other media opportunities. Be sure to include a strong subject line so your email gets seen.

Contributor

This person is enrolled or was previously enrolled in the Entrepreneur Leadership Network. Entrepreneur has a process in which contributors submit drafts, which are then reviewed by editors. The exchange works well; Entrepreneur gets more quality content, and contributors reach more readers on the site and build their credibility in the eyes of other entrepreneurs.

Here are five steps to take if you want to land a column with the ELN.

How to Write for Entrepreneur.com

Step 1: Have Past Writing Samples Ready

Let me save you a click: In the ELN application, one of the fields asks you to list links to some past published articles. If you don’t have any past published articles ready, you’ll need to create some!

Grab past blog links, or publish some of your past work on an open-source platform like Medium. Although past placements in other media outlets are helpful, they’re not required.

Remember, you’re pitching for a column that you would be writing; don’t include things like past features or articles where you were interviewed, as this is a different type of content.

Step 2: Apply To the ELN

Next, you’ll go to the ELN web page and fill out your application. The ELN will prompt you to create a login for entrepreneur.com if you don’t already have one.

You’ll also include two short article ideas, with headlines and summaries, in your application. This is new. Entrepreneur staff want to see that you have a knack for the type of content they typically cover on the website. Browse past contributors’ profiles and articles to get a feel for this content. Here was mine, for reference.

A screenshot of the ELN application, taken Jan. 17, 2024.

Step 3: Write a Strong, Tight Article

Once accepted to the ELN, you’ll remit payment immediately, then get access to the CMS system. It’s time to write!

When drafting your article, make it visually appealing by using subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists. Break your content into short paragraphs for easy readability, keeping them under three sentences in compliance with AP style guidelines. Remember to cite credible sources and link to external references wherever necessary.

Don’t submit crap. This is Entrepreneur magazine, for crying out loud! Put forth something you’ll be proud of, as this content will live on the site for years to come and be a great example of thought leadership for your company or personal brand.

Step 4: Follow Entrepreneur’s Style Guide

Entrepreneur magazine has a distinct voice and tone. Before submitting your complete article, ensure it adheres to the ELN writer guidelines. Familiarize yourself with their formatting requirements, word count restrictions, and overall editorial tone. Proofread your piece meticulously, correcting any grammatical errors or typos.

Also make sure your writing resonates with entrepreneurs by avoiding jargon and using relatable examples.

The ELN style guide has clear instructions to help guide your article writing.

Step 5: Upload Your Article to Your Account

ELN writers have a CMS login that lets them upload and submit article drafts as they please. An editor will then review these articles. You’ll have small dots next to your various drafts to indicate status.

  • Orange means your article is being reviewed.
  • Green means your article is live.
  • Black means your article was rejected or is no longer in the queue.

Pro Tip:Your article might be used in other locations on the internet, such as social posts or other websites that license entrepreneur.com content. Consider setting up Google alerts for your name so you catch these mentions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Buy an Entrepreneur Article?

Do not buy article features from contributors, this is a code of conduct violation. If you want to buy media coverage, this is called branded content or paid content, and media outlets have a separate department that handles this coverage.

No. Entrepreneur editors will check all links in article drafts. If you try to sneak affiliate links into your articles, you risk having your column axed altogether. Remember, it’s Entrepreneur’s website, not yours.

How Do I Get on Entrepreneur’s Franchises List?

Entrepreneur runs an annual list of the fastest-growing companies that specifically follow a franchise model. It’s called the Franchise 500, and details are here.

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Limited-Time Offer: ‘Pitching Publications 101’ Workshop

For a limited time, get the ‘Pitching Publications 101’ Workshop and two other resources as part of the Camp Wordsmith® Sneak Peek Bundle, a small-bite preview of my company's flagship publishing program. Offer expires one hour from reveal.

Check It Out

Land Your First or Next Entrepreneur Byline Today

If you’ve got the money, starting up a column with the ELN may be the quickest way to bolster your business. Start pursuing more thought leadership opportunities today and you’ll gain valuable coverage that will help you stand out from the crowd. ◆

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