PROFILE #17 in Our Continuing Series on Marketing Journalists
Gil C. Schmidt
Editor In Chief
631 Calle Apenino Urb.
Puerto Nuevo, San Juan 00920
-> Circulation as of 3/01:
Twice monthly email newsletter: eRevista Portal is a free, Spanish language email newsletter with 48,000 opt-in subscribers from 29 Latin American countries, with the majority in Puerto Rico. (This is a remarkably high number for a pub that just launched six months ago.)
Schmidt says his readership is a good makeup of “Mid-top level business executives and IT professionals who want to know about marketing information related to the Internet.”
-> Schmidt’s background:
For the past 17 years Schmidt has consulted Puerto Rican start-up companies on most marketing issues, and until recently he was comfortable with this calling.
“I’ve been helping companies down here for quite some time. I even contributed articles to a local print publication, which was really more of a grab bag of the Internet,” Schmidt explains. “I wrote e-business articles for them, but they were just missing the mark. It was like all the news that fit the page, it had no focus and folded in about six months.”
Schmidt realized that there was a need for helpful and informative Internet news targeted to Puerto Rican businesses and perhaps other Latino markets. He and partner Herman Maldonado, a graphic designer, decided to start eRevista Portal in October “as an experiment.”
The publication was free and initially had no ads, so they agreed to fold if it did not hit 10,000 subscribers by the end of the year. They now have nearly five times that amount and plan to launch a paid subscription-based, monthly print magazine, which will feature paid ads. It will appear shortly on newsstands in Puerto Rico, simply titled Portal.
-> Current editorial coverage:
“Like a Reader’s Digest of business, government and financial management matters, geared towards entrepreneurs that have to make marketing decisions based on budgets,” is how Schmidt describes eRevista Portal. As for actual content, you will find general Internet news, software and hardware info, regular “how to” columns from industry experts, and a healthy amount of e-marketing issues and case studies.
“There is a marketing spin on everything,” Schmidt says. “We try to provide ways of looking at the Internet that may awaken creativity.” Most importantly, all articles are geared to the Puerto Rican and Latin American business communities.
-> What Schmidt looks for in a story pitch:
Do not worry too much about pitching him in Spanish, but make sure it is relevant to Puerto Rican businesses or at least the Latino community outside of the U.S.
Schmidt does write about new technologies from vendors and service providers, but he has some specific guidelines for any company (or PR agent) looking to get some coverage in eRevista Portal. He calls it their “SpotLight P&R.” It is essentially a list of five “qualifier” questions (in Spanish of course), posted on the eRevista Portal website, that will give his readers a basic idea of what the vendor or service company is about and why they are relevant. If you are able to answer these questions then Schmidt will likely write about you, either in a profile or a case study.
Here are the (translated) questions:
- What distinguishes you from your competition? (100 words)
- What word or short phrase describes you best? (50 words)
- Where do you see growth opportunities for your clients? (100 words)
- What do you see in Puerto Rico's Internet future? (100 words)
- Why will you be successful? (150 words max.)
“Latinos love to marketed to directly and Puerto Ricans, in particular, are enormous consumers. You just need to make it informative, no matter what you are offering.” Schmidt says.
He will return phone calls, but it is always best to reach him via email. Hefty phone bills aside, email will also save you time. Schmidt says he checks email constantly and will get back to you within 12 hours.
The newsletter is emailed two Mondays a month (this month they published on the 4th and the 18th, so you can start counting from there). If you want your story in the next issue, just be mindful that since Schmidt does a majority of the editing, pitch him by the Wednesday prior to press.
eRevista Portal does not have an editorial calendar, but the print publication will likely have one since it will be monthly and feature more in-depth articles.
-> Submitting pre-written contributions:
“As long as it is informative and it speaks to the Puerto Rican or Latino community we will run it,” according to Schmidt. He will also run articles that have appeared in other publications as long as the writer can get the proper approvals. Be sure to let Schmidt know where and when it ran so he can credit that publication.
Schmidt is an exceptional translator and does not mind translating your article from English, just do your best to keep it 500-700 words.
-> Becoming a regular columnist:
eRevista Portal has a fair amount of columnists, but Schmidt is always on the lookout for more. Though most are from Puerto Rico, he has one writer from Dallas and expects a few more from the U.S. in the near future.
If you have an idea or something informative related to Internet marketing that you would like to impart to the Puerto Rican or Latino community, by all means contact Schmidt. His publication is in particular need of articles about “technology and tools that can simplify your business.”
Also, be prepared for a background check. Schmidt is not going to assume you are an expert in a certain area just because you say you are. He will want to know what you have written about before and where, as well as how often you can write for him.
-> Where you can meet Schmidt:
Schmidt really does not make it out of Puerto Rico much lately, especially since taking on the role of running the publication. The last time he was at a U.S. conference was in 2000 for a wireless conference in California. He does his best to attend major business and technology conferences in Puerto Rico, but there are so many he is regretful that he misses a lot. He is considering sending his Dallas writer to some U.S. events and may have more of an eRevista Portal presence at U.S. events once he gets more writers.
-> Best gifts for Schmidt:
Information. Schmidt feels this is the most valuable thing to give him. He also says that editors are not highly revered in Puerto Rico, so they rarely get gifts “Editors just need to be thankful for information here,” he says, only half jokingly.
-> Schmidt’s favorite business publications:
Schmidt says he reads business publications constantly, including “about 250 eZines,” (including MarketingSherpa), but his personal favorites are Corante News, CNET, ZDNet, The Economist, and Business 2.0. eRevista Portal’s website also features a longer list of “suggested reading” and informational links for its readers.