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Feb 23, 2007
Interview

PR Interview: How to Get Mentioned in Windows IT Pro Magazine

SUMMARY: 112,000 folks get Windows IT Pro. If you'd like to see your company or product featured, find out how in our exclusive interview with Group Editorial Director Karen Forster. Quick tip: Never pitch the editors a story containing info you found on Microsoft Knowledge Base. Dumb but true; some people have actually tried this.
Contact Information
Karen Forster
Group Editorial Director
Windows IT Pro
221 E. 29th St.
Loveland, CO 80538
425-556-5142
http://www.windowsitpro.com/

Karen(at)penton(dot)com

Media profile
- Windows IT Pro Magazine
- Reach: 112,000 circulation
- Frequency: Monthly
- Audience demographic: IT professionals and managers, 90% male, who have worked in an IT career for 13+ years, working with Windows plus other systems such as Linux and UNIX

Other related publications
- Monthly print newsletters (Exchange Administrator, Windows IT Security, Windows Scripting Solutions): 2,500+ subscribers
- Email newsletters (approximately 15 per month): 500,000 unique email subscribers with a monthly, cumulative distribution of 1.2 million
- Web site: 2.5+ million unique monthly visitors

Forster's background
Forster started her career in book publishing more than 30 years ago. In the late '80s, she moved into technical magazine publishing and came onboard Windows NT in 1996 (a precursor to Windows IT Pro), where she worked until she was recruited by Microsoft in 2002. Forster led the relaunch of Windows IT Pro in 2004 with the tagline ‘Connecting the IT Community.’

Forster enjoys being involved in the IT industry. "I love being able to see what's going on and see what's going to be important to my readers," she says. "I missed that when I was at Microsoft. I had tunnel vision and couldn't see the industry as a whole. I like to see what's really affecting IT pros on a daily basis in their jobs."

Current editorial coverage
Since its relaunch three years ago, Windows IT Pro magazine has focused on what it means to be an IT pro and they can be successful. Forster contributes the magazine’s success to its concentrated focus on connecting the entire IT industry with valuable information and resources. Windows IT Pro is one of the primary independent hubs for the IT and Windows communities.

The magazine tackles technology and careers through the eyes of Windows networking users. "Our community has a voice to tell the industry and Microsoft what products and functionality they need, what doesn't help them and what products and product directions will make their life easier," she says.

The magazine covers Windows XP, Exchange Server, SQL Server and all of the other Windows platform products, with news stories, technology overview stories, Q&A, expert interviews, columns and case studies -- but the core of the magazine is how-to.

Example magazine features:

- In the "Hey, Microsoft" column, Forster takes reader questions on a specific Microsoft technology directly to Microsoft to get their perspective, then writes about it. This column has even won four Gold ASBPE Awards (American Society of Business Publication Editors).

- In each month's cover story, the magazine focuses on a particular technology and an accompanying IT "hero" -- someone who has solved a problem in that area. "It's a real life user story about how someone has triumphed over a technological problem," Forster says.

- The “What’s Hot” column is based entirely on reader testimonials. Readers provide their own opinions on what products, services, and strategies work well -- and what doesn’t work well.

Media kit
Windows IT Pro's media kit includes their editorial calendar, information on newsletters and more:
http://www.windowsitpro.com/MediaKit


Best way to pitch Forster and her staff
Get in touch with the appropriate editor:

- Security
- Networking and mobile technology
- Storage and backup and recovery
- Systems management
- Messaging and collaboration
- Product coverage

For the current staff, go to:
http://www.windowsitpro.com/AboutUs/Index.cfm?action=masthead#editorial

Except for Forster's own email, email addresses for the editors are first initial and last name @ penton.com

The editors prefer email as an initial way of contact, but follow-up phone calls are welcome. The editors can be reached at the main office number: 970-663-4700. Forster works offsite, so you can reach her at 425-556-5142.

Because reader-based content is gaining ground, all Reader to Reader submissions can be sent to R2R(at)windowsitpro(dot)com

What Forster looks for in a story pitch
Forster readily says that she welcomes contributions. For a how-to article, let her know the big picture, the problem and the solution. If it's a product story, let her know the benefit of the product to the readers. For IT heroes or case studies, she wants to know what problem was solved and how it made the person a hero. With initial inquiries, a paragraph or two of summary is all you need.

Three tips:

Tip #1. If you're a vendor, don't try to disguise a product pitch as an article. "They all [try it] but we can spot those," she says. So don't say, "This is a story about security and how to solve your problem," when it's really a story about, "How to use our product to solve a problem."

"We'd rather do a case study or product review rather than have the vendor write a story pitch," she says.

Tip #2. If you're an IT person with a pitch, Forster wants to know how your story is valuable to other IT pros. "It would be great to know how much time it saved or what the main goal was that you're trying to get across."

Tip #3. If you have a great story to tell but can't write, that's OK. "We're open to people submitting their stories, but if they can't write, we'll write it."

Biggest no-no
"Pitching a story to us and our competitors at the same time is a pet peeve," Forster says.

Also, plagiarism. "Microsoft has a knowledge base where they put solutions to problems, and we've had people send us plagiarized versions of the knowledge base article, so when we go to research the problem we find that they haven't really written the article, Microsoft has."

Prewritten contributions
You're welcome to submit something you've written, and Forster will give you feedback on it, even if she chooses not to run it. But, she says, "My advice would be to contact us before you write it so we can tell you our guidelines and how we'd like to see it written."

Becoming a regular columnist
"We have found regular writers through over-the-transom submissions," she says. "They're generally IT people who have knowledge in the field, who have submitted articles and become regular contributors."

However, she's not actively looking for anyone right now.

Deadlines
About three months out.

Where you can meet Forster
Vendors are welcome to come meet the editors at the office (just call or email to set one up). In fact, so many of those happen each month that Forster's team summarizes them in a Vendor Briefings page each issue.

You can also email an editor before any of the major tech conferences they attend to set up a meeting.

Favorite professional publication
"I read all of the computer publications that I can get my hands on," says Forster.

See Also:

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