Why Content is King for Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability

By Tiara Ogabang

A question we get frequently from visa applicants goes something like this:

“Doesn’t USCIS need to see that I’ve been featured on the front page of the New York Times in order for them to consider me extraordinary?”

To be totally frank, we have no idea what USCIS does or doesn't want to see in a visa application. Promo Panda does not employ any immigration attorneys, and when it comes to parts of your O-1, EB-1, or EB-1 visa application or how they should be assembled, we're not going to do anything other than suggest you go find a good lawyer.

But while we don't have any experience dealing with USCIS, we do have experience working with lots of different immigration law firms.

In fact, there are about a hundred such firms that regularly refer their clients to us. Since 2016, we've helped over 1,200 visa applicants build their media portfolios. And of those clients that we hear back from, 99% are accepted on whatever visa they sought.

It should go without saying, but we credit our clients' attorneys with their success.

But that doesn't diminish the fact that Promo Panda provides a very helpful, and oftentimes crucial, piece of the puzzle.

In this article, I'll be detailing the approach we take to promoting foreign professionals and demonstrating their excellence.

As always, bear in mind that nothing in this article is legal advice. It's merely an overview of insights we've gained working with immigration attorneys and their clients.

Always remember as well that every attorney, and every applicant, is different.

When in doubt, always consult your immigration lawyer and heed their advice.

Moving on – Why Content is King 👑

And also why legacy media is overrated

Though the philosophies of immigration attorneys vary, the consensus we operate on is that appearances in ultra-visible legacy generally aren't the only publications they consider relevant.

The very first O-1 applicant we worked with some five years ago, before working with us, had actually been briefly mentioned in a popular NYT column. She still received a request for more evidence (RFE) because the nature of the content, though published in the NYT, did not 'wholistically demonstrate' her extraordinary ability.

After getting her featured in more modest outlets, she was later accepted.

About 99% of the visa applicants we work with are accepted on the visa of their choice. This applies to clients O-1 and EB-1 applicants, the vast majority of whom do not appear in legacy media.

Considering that the attorneys we work with have great success despite our very rarely placing their clients in legacy media, it's almost certainly the case that appearances in more modest media are totally appropriate when demonstrating extraordinary ability.

All this said it's true that a publication's readership statistics can help attorneys ensure that your media is effective. It is also true that generally speaking, the higher the readership level, the easier it will be for an attorney to use media evidence effectively.

In the past, we have placed clients in legacy media. However, it's simply not a realistic goal for the majority of our clients who have little or no previous media presence. Even when clients don't appear in legacy media, their articles are something that both they, and our publicity team, are proud of.

There is some truth to 'bigger is better'

Despite our focus on content over publication, there does appear to be some truth to the idea that, if your media is published to bigger media outlets, then your lawyer will have an easier time demonstrating that you are indeed extraordinary.

Nearly every attorney we work with prefers that their client appear in as widely read an outlet as possible. For all intents and purposes, big readership stats help to demonstrate your extraordinary ability.

And all things being equal if we had a choice of a high-quality, well-written article appearing on the front page of NYT.com or a tiny blog getting 10 clicks per week, we'd of course opt for NYT's website. This would only increase the media's efficacy and ensure that your attorney can make the best of use of the media.

But the reality is that there are a ton of awesome, high-quality digital publications that fall in between a legacy media player and some no-name basement blog. And the vast majority of these publications are ones that you've probably never heard of.

When it comes to placing our clients in online publications, we are always cognizant of readership. For clients who absolutely must appear in publications with big readerships stats, we offer upgraded placements with minimum readership guarantees.

Always remember, however, that it's the content that's king.