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Jul 27, 2007

PR Interview: How to Get Coverage in Entrepreneur Magazine

SUMMARY: Want to see your name in “the #1-selling biz magazine on the newsstand”? Entrepreneur’s total reach is 7.5 million, or 90% of the SMB market. This year, the monthly celebrates its 30th anniversary. We interviewed their Executive Editor to get strategies on pitching ideas and actions to take before sending your email. Check out our article with a veteran who has been with Entrepreneur for two decades.
Contact information:
Karen Axelton
Executive Editor
Entrepreneur Media Inc.
2445 McCabe Way, Suite 400
Irvine, CA 92614

Axelton received her bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA and her master’s from the University of Chicago. She joined Entrepreneur as an editorial assistant for what was supposed to be a one-year rest from graduate school. Axelton has been at the monthly for 20 years, during which she worked at every imaginable editorial job.

For fun, she loves reading magazines “that break the mold.” Currently, she enjoys New York Magazine and Vogue more than the rest. For work, she prefers to check out the contents of Business 2.0.

Circulation and readership
Readership: 2.2 million
Circulation: 616,000
Source: MRI, Spring 2007

The magazine’s readers don’t consider themselves small-business owners. Instead, they prefer to be known as "action-oriented" people committed to developing their companies, Axelton says. A typical reader is a 38-year-old male (60%) owner whose average annual sales are $15 million and who has been in the business about seven years.

Editorial coverage
Entrepreneur provides actionable information to enhance business operations. Every story teaches a lesson. Starting with the October 2007 issue, the magazine’s new design will allow the content to be even more useful. Besides improved photography, the layout and organization will be cleaner and easier to navigate.

o Edge: timely, newsy articles and “fun” pieces focusing on the current and future impact of trends
o Insights: columns from renowned experts
o Tech (how-to): business technology trends, product reviews, guides
o Money (how-to): financial issues that affect entrepreneurs
o Strategies (how-to): sales/marketing, operations/management/leadership
o Feature Well: See the editorial calendar to find out what features are planned
o Start-ups: targets new owners (less than three years in biz) with ideas and how-to information, often used as cover stories

Pitch the Web site has a separate staff. Email pitches on trends, how-to and news to the Managing Editor or to Articles Editor. They favor queries with built-in angles and rarely write stories on individual companies. Instead, they include them as parts of larger trend pieces. If you send profile pieces, they need to be on companies that are pioneering a new area, such as Twitter. The editors are particularly interested in bloggers, interview subjects for short podcast segments and those wanting to share their video clips.

Sections of the magazine to pitch
o Conversations column: spotlights one interesting thinker
o Snapshot: a 150-word profile of an entrepreneur doing something interesting in tech, sales/marketing/management or money/financing
o Start-up Features: Because of the cover-story potential, your pitch needs to be an idea that will grab the attention of a reader walking by a newsstand
o Smart Ideas column: entrepreneurs with novel inventions, niches or unusual ideas
o Net Profits column: advises how to start an ecommerce business
o Almost Famous: spotlights photogenic up-and-coming entrepreneurs with expansion plans
o Doing Good: profile of an entrepreneur with a socially responsible company the foundation of which needs to be “doing good”
o Woman: column focusing on successful women entrepreneurs making more than $1 million who can share advice/lessons and women who are teaching other women
o Minorities: the magazine is always looking for minority entrepreneurs. “We don’t want readers to open the magazine and see nothing but white guys”

Five Tips to follow before you pitch
#1. Ease writers’ search for your clients by making them visible on major search engines.

#2. Make the client known to bloggers in their industry, so your business comes up more often in searches.

#3. Seek coverage in local news or trade magazines since writers search LexisNexis or regional newspapers for interesting businesses.

#4. Work on your site to ensure that what a writer finds won’t break your chances. It should be optimized, have information on who you are, what you do, and photos of the owners. Press clippings let writers know where the client has been covered and what the angle was.

#5. Go where the writers are. Sites writers often use to seek sources include Bulldog Reporter, ZoomInfo, Jigsaw and Joan Stewart’s Publicity Hound newsletter. While they like Profnet, many feel that the sources found there are overexposed.

How to pitch
- Read the magazine first. All content is available at:

- If your idea is time-sensitive, it’s better to pitch earlier than later. The magazine’s deadlines range from three to six months.

- If you are sending a pitch for an article on a broad topic, make sure the pitch is specific and explains why your angle is different.

- Get to the point and be brief; Axelton receives 200 PR emails each day. If you don't state in the first few sentences what your company does that relates to entrepreneurs, your email will be deleted. Her ideal pitch has a one-screen “grabber” with the entrepreneur’s name, age, sales and story; includes the company’s URL; attaches company backgrounder and entrepreneur’s bio.

- Target writers, not editors, for the most effective way to pitch.

How Not to Pitch
- Don’t send multiple emails to everyone on the editorial staff; target your pitches to the appropriate person. To figure out who covers your topic, click here:

- Don’t pester the editors with inquiries. Give them one to two weeks to respond. If they don’t, it’s not because they haven’t received your email. “Because of the volume of pitches I get, I do not respond to PR people unless I am interested in learning more about their client or we’re planning to write about them.”

- Don’t send faxes or call to pitch.

- Don’t try to entice with a lack of information. Teaser pitches are annoying rather than effective.

- Don’t pitch popular trends; they have probably already covered them several times. On a related note, don't pitch a company similar to one in a recent story.

- Don’t pitch stories focusing on employees or executives. The magazine writes only about entrepreneurs under age 50 who are making at least $1 million per year.

- Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back. It’s probably not because of an oversight or a mistake on your part. Most likely, your industry (real estate) or business person in question (physician) was one the magazine does not cover. Or, the content could have been not exciting enough (toner cartridges, anyone?).

Contribute to Entrepreneur
The magazine doesn’t accept prewritten contributions or reader-generated content other than letters, which they love to get. Their opinion pieces are assigned; they usually grow out of email correspondences and pitches.

It’s rare, but it does happen that Entrepreneur adds a column. So, if you have an idea for one, you are welcome to pitch it. Be certain that your pitch is something that the magazine lacks.

Press kits
The editors like receiving press kits, although these are best for consumer products or companies with the “image” that can’t be properly conveyed via email and could use the tactile help (i.e., a stationery company’s stylishly presented product).

However, don’t send a press kit lacking the background information on the company owner. Furthermore, if you have some photos of founder(s) and product, it would be wise to send those. “It’s also great to see prior articles written about the company. Often, these answer questions that I might have after reading the press kit.”

Meet Axelton and other editors
Axelton doesn’t have time to meet with PR people, but shares that Entrepreneur editors, especially Editorial Director Rieva Lesonsky, explain how to get press on panels at Southern California events.

See Also:

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