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Apr 20, 2007
Interview

PR Interview: How to Grace GQ’s Pages

SUMMARY: GQ celebrates its 50th year as the premier men's magazine this year. If you want to know how to be featured in the flagship publication in the world of men’s magazines, check out our exclusive interview with Senior Editor Mickey Rapkin. He reveals what makes the magazine's editors tick. Why would you care? For one, GQ has a monthly circulation of 1 million+ readers and 30 times that in online visits.
Contact information
Mickey Rapkin
Senior Editor
GQ Magazine
4 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
(212) 286-6410
Michael_Rapkin(at)condenast(dot)com

Background
After graduating from Cornell University, Rapkin worked as a staff writer for Details magazine. His stories have appeared in publications, such as The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. He was named Associate Editor at GQ in 2004; in 2006, he became Senior Editor.

Circulation
- Total average paid circulation: 1,005,303
- Subscription: 779,450 (78%)
- Newsstand: 225,853 (22%)
Source: ABC 12-31-06; MRI Fall 2006

Typical reader
Fashionable leaders make up GQ’s audience. These individuals set trends and are stylish dressers. Most are male (68.6%), ages 18-54, with a median age of 33. A majority are single (64%) who attended college (71%). Average annual salary is $63,180.

Check out the magazine’s online forum to get to know some of its readers:
http://forums.men.style.com/category.jspa?categoryID=5


Examples of editorial coverage
Besides covering men's style and culture, GQ addresses every element of a man's life, from fashion and politics to travel, entertainment, sports, food, technology and relationships.

Website
GQ+Details=Men.Style.com
GQ’s site is part of MEN.STYLE.COM, the first major site dedicated to men's fashion and lifestyle. It caters to the urbane man who spends his time and resources on appearance and environment. The site features fashion, equipment and entertainment news. It offers buying guides (gift lists, seasonal shopping, gear advice), style trends, pop culture, grooming tips, celebrity interviews and runway show commentary.

The website gets 750,000 unique users each month, according to Publishers Data, April 2006-March 2007. Users are 71% male with a median age of 34 and average household income of $80,454, according to MRI Doublebase, Spring 2006.

Exclusive Web features:
- New GQ Podcasts are posted every Tuesday. To listen to editors debate on the latest issues, go to:
http://men.style.com/gq/features/podcasts

- Have ideas to share? Submit your comments to:
http://men.style.com/gq/talkback

- Don’t want to pay to see what all the fuss is about? Subscribe to the magazine’s free newsletters. A daily news item focuses on the latest gadgets, books and movies and developments in travel and entertainment:
http://men.style.com/services/newsletters


How to pitch
Whom to pitch “really depends on the topic.” Even though Rapkin covers pop culture, you may send queries to him and he will pass them along to the appropriate editor. “I never mind that. I don’t respond to every query, but I do forward every one on.”

Rapkin is pretty easy-going when it comes to dealing with unsolicited pitches. He doesn’t get angry at PR people who email press releases. “I’d rather know about something than not know about it.”

However, if you are aiming at a more productive outcome of your release than enrichment of Rapkin’s awareness, pay attention. “Honestly, I’m just looking for a good story.” We asked for tips to increase your chances of appearing in GQ:

Tip #1. Strike while the iron is hot. Make sure that “there is a timely hook” to your story.
Tip #2. Don’t beat a dead horse to death. Ask yourself, “Has this been written out before?”
Tip #3. Know thy publication. “I want to know that you’ve read the magazine.”

Strategies to avoid
Skip catchphrases in your subject line. “If there’s a buzzword in the subject, I’ll probably delete it,” Rapkin warns.

Most of all, don’t be apologetic on the telephone. Rapkin’s biggest pet peeve is “when a publicist calls and says, ‘Am I catching you at a bad time?’ We have Caller ID. If it was a bad time, I wouldn’t have picked up the phone. I know you are calling to pitch something. That’s your job, so pitch away.”

Press kits:
Send them but only if you must. “I have no strong feelings one way or the other about them,” he says.

Meet Rapkin and other editors
Rapkin rarely has time for a business lunch. He’ll consider a meeting on a case-by-case basis. “It’s always good to put a name with a face.” But, as everyone knows, “sometimes you’re just too busy to get out for lunch.”

See Also:

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