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May 14, 2004

PR Interview: Ballyhoo Magazine for Online Ads

SUMMARY: You probably haven't heard of Ballyhoo Magazine because it's just on its second quarterly issue. They tell us 50,000 copies will be distributed to marketers and advertisers who are interested in online topics. Here's how to plant a story about your company or client with them:
Kate Ellis, Managing Editor
Ballyhoo Magazine
1314 Cape Coral Pkwy. Suite 312
Cape Coral, FL 33904

-> Reach

Print magazine distributed via newsstand and mail to 50,000 recipients

-> Ellis' background

Ellis is as new to magazine production as the magazine is, itself (the second issue will hit the stands in July). She moved to Florida from Chicago two years ago, and was managing editor of the Fort Myers, FL newspaper called the Eagle News before joining Vocal Minds, publisher of Ballyhoo.

What does she think of the Chicago-to-Florida switch? "The beaches are very nice," she says. But Cape Coral, though booming, hasn't exactly "reached its peak as an entertainment center."

-> Current editorial coverage

The quarterly magazine provides insights and strategies to business professionals looking to integrate the Internet into their advertising and marketing campaigns.

"We really have a broad spectrum," Ellis says. As long as the idea is unique -- a new way of looking at an old idea, a product that adds flair to technology -- and ties back to Internet advertising and marketing, she'll consider it for a story.

Content of the magazine has "an edge," Ellis says. "We encourage our writers to have a little bit of wit, of sarcasm. It's a more interesting, entertaining magazine."

The magazine encompasses three main sections:

--"Foresight" anticipates developments in the market

--"Insight" takes old ideas and applies them in newer and more relevant ways

--"Implement" takes a how-to, directional approach using tools that already exist

Stories from the first issue included three on search engine marketing, one on ad spending by online vehicle, one on email marketing, and one on "schwag" (free pens, T-shirts, mouse pads, etc.).

-> Best way to pitch Ellis

"Email allows us to circulate messages and talk to the other editors about where it would fit best," Ellis says.

You can email either Ellis at, or Assistant Editor Jason DiLoreti at They bounce all ideas off each other, so it doesn't particularly matter which one you send ideas to.

Because Internet advertising and marketing is difficult to illustrate visually, any story ideas that include graphics to help Ellis visualize it in the magazine will get a closer look.
Send graphics as a PDF or EPS.

Chances of not getting a response to your email are pretty slim, Ellis says. But if you don't, "absolutely give us a call to follow up. It doesn't hurt, and I don't bite."

-> What Ellis looks for in a story idea

Ellis wants to see your enthusiasm and competence in the topic, she wants to see that you have some insight into the industry that you're willing to share, and she wants to get a sense of your personality from your pitch -- so make sure your story idea is crafted with style.

She also wants to know what section of the magazine you think your idea best fits into.

What doesn't work is sending press releases. As a quarterly magazine, they don't cover news, but rather focus on what the news means to the online advertising industry.

-> Pre-written contributions

"We have regular writers that we use, but we're always looking to expand," Ellis says. Beyond a strong knowledge of the topic you're writing about, contributions should show flair and a certain degree of mastery of the written word.

However, she says, many of her writers don't have a lot of experience in magazine writing, so she's willing to work with you on language, as long as you have a firm grasp of your topic.

"One of my primo pet peeves is when people begin their articles asking a question, and then give an entire article under the assumption that they're going to answer the question," Ellis says. "Then there's no answer, or else the answer is that nobody knows the answer. Don't take me around the entire map to get somewhere."

Stories should be direct, to-the-point, enthusiastic, and creative.

-> Becoming a regular columnist

"We're definitely looking for regular columnists," Ellis says. Don't try to pigeonhole yourself and tell her what your column should be. Instead, send your qualifications, "and we'll envision the space," she says.

You might say something such as: "I've been a marketing consultant for X company for the past 10 years and I have a variety of experience in Y areas that might be a strong accent for your Implement section."

That will get her attention, Ellis says. You can also include writing samples. However, the magazine staff encourages new writers, so if you don't have a portfolio, don't worry.

-> Where you can meet Ellis

Staff of Ballyhoo Magazine will attend top conferences including AD:TECH and SES in London. Magazines will be distributed at those conferences, as well.

-> Favorite professional publication

Business 2.0 and The New Yorker
See Also:

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