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Jul 06, 2007

PR Interview: How to Pitch the AMA's Marketing News

SUMMARY: We interviewed the editor of one of the leading information sources in the marketing industry: Marketing News, which provides proven strategies, tactics and developments for their readers. An American Marketing Association publication, it's published 20 times per year and read by association members and subscribers. Includes 12 tips on how to get noticed by their editors and writers.
Contact information
Lisa Keefe
Marketing News
American Marketing Association
311 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 5800
Chicago, IL 60606

Keefe’s background
Keefe earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Northwestern University. She began to focus on business journalism as a fact-checker at Forbes before joining the Orlando Sentinel as a staff writer. After eight years at Crain's Chicago Business, Keefe was hired by the American Marketing Association as Editor-in-Chief of Marketing News.

It was her responsibility to give the newspaper an overhaul. "We wanted to find a more cohesive voice. There is certainly no shortage of marketing magazines out there, so we did a competitive analysis to see what other publications were covering really well and what needed to be done better."

Circulation & readership
Current circulation is 27,500, plus 5,000 or so students during the school year for selected issues. Pass-along readership adds about two readers per issue.

Marketing News is a publication for marketing practitioners (solo, working for a company or consulting) with five to 10 years of experience.

Highlights from their reader profile study:
o 87% say the publication helps them run their business
o 72% say it helps them do their job better
o 76% feel smarter about the marketing industry after reading the publication

Editorial coverage
The publication covers the spectrum of marketing topics. You will find stories with practical advice to help marketers excel at their jobs. Marketing News looks at the industry’s functions and writes about the critical developments that professionals need to be aware of. How-to articles and case studies are extremely popular with readers.

Cover stories tend to be more involved; they offer a deep analysis of trends and ways to tackle them on a daily basis. For instance, if you are not sure about a certain technological advance, Marketing News will dissect the issue to help you make up your mind regarding your participation in the said tactic.

Every issue consists of editorial features, Hot Topics, directories, case studies, relevant statistics, expert columns on topics, such as B-to-B, leadership and performance.

Web site
Their Web site,, averages 225,000 unique visitors and more than 1.5 million page views each month. The site has 215,000 registered users, including managers, researchers and consultants. Online extras include Webcasts, M Guide (a marketing services directory), career services, enewsletters and

While carries content from all aspects of the American Marketing Association, Marketing News' portion of the site is a re-publication of the newspaper, plus a well-trafficked blog on marketing issues. AMA members can access the content for free.

How to pitch Keefe
Keefe is looking for information that reflects marketing as a leading force in business strategy. To get her attention, your pitch must show awareness of marketing trends, "thought leaders" and Marketing News’ approach of its industry coverage. If you are not sure of the latter, the publication strives “to help marketers position their work as strategic, cutting-edge and central to the profitability of the company/client/organization.”

Keefe’s biggest pet peeve is PR people’s lack of knowledge regarding the publication. Therefore, she offers these six tips:

- Avoid making excuses. Keefe doesn’t appreciate it when PR people’s defense mechanism kicks in: “PR folks tell me they have to pitch ‘82 magazines and I can't know all of them.’ But the PR folks are contacting us, trying to sell us, essentially. And we field about 82 pitches a day through various channels, most of which waste our time. If a PR person wants to make an impression, he or she should do more than the competition and know the publication. If they don't want to bother trying to get to know their target audience, then I'm not going to bother entertaining their idea.”

- Plan your strategy. Keefe suggests you think ahead. Pitch “about eight weeks in advance of the issue date.”

- Think electronically. Email is the best way to send your story ideas. Pitches should go to their all-staff e-mail box at news(at)ama(dot)org

- Don’t single out a reporter. We suggest that you not bother sending messages to specific editors and writers. Keefe hints that these are likely to be ignored.

- Don’t wait up for a response to your query. Because of long lead times, “a pitch may not be timely when it arrives, but may fit perfectly with something coming up seven months later. We end up filing away a lot of releases as fodder for potential story ideas.”

- Don’t get any follow-up ideas either. Refrain from inquiring about the status of your pitch. “We get way too many releases for us to keep up with or track of them all. Even if we took the call, we probably couldn't provide any information.” So, just keep reminding yourself of the adage, “patience is a virtue.” If your material is interesting and appropriate, it just might turn up in the publication, sooner or later.

How to contribute to Marketing News
Marketing News encourages brief letters to the editor, Viewpoint columns and comments to the free-access blog:

If you would like to submit prewritten contributions, they will consider them. The site says, “Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome, although submission is always on speculation.” Keefe says she has “cut way back on our publication of such contributions.” But, if you must share your relevant ideas, email them to news(at)ama(dot)org. Your article should be competed (no outlines), shorter than 1,000 words, and exclusive. Keep in mind that your story will be edited and that you won’t get paid for it.

Still interested in contributing? Here are six more hints:
o Don’t forget to check out their editorial calendar for timely submissions

o Include the word “submission” in the subject line
o Place your “conclusion” at the beginning
o Exclude footnotes, endnotes or reference lists
o Keep it simple -- avoid atypical indentations, styles and settings
o Attach charts and graphs separately

You will receive a response within two months of sending your manuscript.

Press kits
When sending press kits, don’t forget to include your contact information. This seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people leave this out. Also, don’t send materials that are inappropriate to the type of coverage the newspaper provides.

Where to meet Keefe and other editors
You can find them at American Marketing Association events and other marketing events.

See Also:

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