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Oct 08, 2004

PR Interview: How to Get News & Stories into BusinessMedia

SUMMARY: If you're trying to reach business-to-business agencies and media buyers, BusinessMedia newsletter is the place to plant your story. Check out our exclusive interview with Senior Managing Editor Susan Bauer to learn what she's looking for from press releases, contributed articles, and story ideas:
Susan Bauer, Associate Publisher/Senior Managing Editor BusinessMedia 1720 W. Rascher Ave. Chicago, IL 60640 773-293-0745

-> Reach

8,700 opt-in subscribers

-> Bauer's background

Bauer has been part of BusinessMedia since it launched as a print publication in '98 and continued in her strategic role on the weekly publication after it went online in 2000. Bauer writes for the publication and manages a team of freelancers. "I also accept story pitches from people in the industry," she says.

She enjoys the narrow focus of BusinessMedia -- the B-to-B marketing, advertising, and media industry. "I like having that niche because so much is focused on B-to-C, and I like being able to provide something that's very specific to B-to-B marketers."

When she isn't writing about the business world, Bauer enjoys reading and working out.

-> Current editorial coverage

The publication consists of four to five main articles and a number of shorter pieces called the B-to-B Roundup.

--Main articles These cover anything from the launch of a new business publication to big-time agency news, corporate marketing, new advertising campaigns, case studies, etc., on both the corporate and agency side. "If it's a big B-to-B company -- major banks, airlines, office supply products -- launching a campaign, we'd want to hear about it," says Bauer.

--B-to-B Roundup These short, informative pieces run from five to 20 lines, covering "people moves, new jobs, promotions, M&A statistics in the media world, anything of interest in the B-to-B sector.

"If there's a new publication that's launching, a trade publication that is quite obscure but that some media planner might be interested in," they'll print it, she says.

-> Best way to pitch Bauer

Send an email to "I'm hoping that [the pitch] shows they understand our audience," she says. "I often get emails that are irrelevant. We almost never report on B-to-C issues."

Send her an outline of what a story based on your idea might look like. "For a new ad campaign, include who did the campaign, what they're trying to do (announcing a new product, repositioning, branding, etc.), and who some of their other clients are, if it's coming from an agency," explains Bauer.

If it's coming from corporate side, Bauer wants to know some of the customers you have in the B-to-B world and what you're hoping to accomplish with the campaign.

Use the words "story idea" in your email, and include a short phrase that lets her know you understand that her publication is B-to-B focused, and "I'll definitely open it," she says.

(Hint: In the body of the email, you might say something like, "After having been a subscriber for two years, I think this is a story your readers would like…")

Bauer also likes to see press kits, which is unusual these days.

"A lot of people don't send them anymore, but the way my day goes and the timing I have, [press kits] are something I can take home with me and look over," she says.

In a press kit, include examples of work you've done, story ideas, and anything that demonstrates you understand the audience the publication is trying to reach.

If Bauer is interested, she'll send an email and schedule a conference call. She's not big on follow-up calls (what editor is?), but not for the usual reasons. "If I get a call when I'm in the midst of something else, they don't get my full attention," she explains.

-> Pet peeves

Nothing, really. "With email, it's very easy," she says. "I can do a quick scan and know very quickly if it's good idea or not."

-> Prewritten contributions

She does accept reader submissions, usually from CEOs or company presidents. "Case studies are great ideas for contributed articles," she says. "We just did one recently on search engine optimization and the search marketing genre."

Stories run anywhere from 1000 to 5000 words. She edits them down, so she prefers them longer rather than shorter. You can submit something already written, or discuss an idea with her first. "I wouldn't want them to write the whole article just for our outlet and have it not be a good fit, but either way I'd look at it," she says.

-> Becoming a regular columnist

"No, we don't have space for that right now."

-> Deadlines

Generally two weeks before publication date, which is generally every Tuesday but sometimes on Wednesdays.

-> Where you can meet Bauer

AD:TECH conferences and some of the MarketingSherpa events, depending on location and schedules. Don't stop by to meet her at work (she's in a home office), but she's open to meeting for coffee or lunch if you want to get some face time.

-> Favorite professional publication

The Wall Street Journal

See Also:

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