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Nov 16, 2007
Interview

PR Interview: How to Pitch InformationWeek

SUMMARY: Each week, more than 1.6 million biz tech professionals around the globe look to InformationWeek magazine, its Web site and a variety of newsletters for perspective and analysis on news, research and IT trends. Here are 10 tips from the editor-in-chief on how to pitch him and other editors there.
Contact information
Rob Preston
VP/Editor-In-Chief
InformationWeek
600 Community Drive
Manhasset, NY 11030
516-562-5692
Rpreston(at)cmp(dot)com

Background
Preston is a 20-year veteran of CMP Media, parent company of InformationWeek. He joined the weekly in 2006 after serving as the editor-in-chief of InternetWeek and Network Computing. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s in economics from SUNY at Binghamton.

Circulation & Readership
InformationWeek’s audience consists of 1.6 million CIOs and business technology managers and staff found in more than 250,000 locations: 45.6% live in North America, 27.3% in Europe, 20.9% in Asia, 3.8% in Latin America, 2.4% in Africa and the Middle East.

440,000 IT professionals alone read the magazine each week. It's first in reach to CIOs (107,000) and technology buyers with the biggest annual budgets ($250,000 to $1 million). 72.8% of the readers are IT executives and senior staff; 27.2% are in business management. Their average annual spend is $45.7 million.

Editorial Coverage
InformationWeek is much more than a weekly print magazine. It’s “at the center of our business technology news gathering and analysis,” says Preston. The style and tone are practical and detailed. It’s the publication to which industry professionals turn for subjects, such as vertical industries and IT.

Sections include:
o In Depth (their take on the latest business technology topic)
o News Filter (how top stories affect readers)
o News & Analysis (cover story)
o Tech Portal (security, software, wireless, mobile)
o High Five (business professional’s insights)
o IT Confidential (industry trends and events)
o Down to Business (urgent issues)
o Personal Tech Guide (useful tech tools)

Special issues: The magazine fields more than 20 research studies every year. Topics include: salary survey, information security survey, CIO agenda, mobile and wireless and business intelligence.

InformationWeek.com
The Web site gets 1.4 million unique monthly visitors and 300,000 weekly enewsletter subscribers.

The five newsletters and their circulation:
o InformationWeek Daily: 100,000
o This Week on InformationWeek: 55,000
o InformationWeek Between the Lines: 100,000
o InformationWeek’s Outsourcing Newsletter: 30,000
o TechCareers Report: 15,000

How to Pitch InformationWeek - 10 Tips
Tip #1. Familiarize yourself with the magazine
Acquire some knowledge of InformationWeek’s content and the focus of the reporters you contact. Indeed, lack of knowledge about the publication is one of Preston’s pet peeves. “Build relationships with reporters. Don’t just blanket them with the same messages you send everyone else.” And don’t think of your query as a pitch. “Ideally, you are not selling something to us; you are providing information that we want.”

Tip #2. Provide contacts
If you have a product you would like InformationWeek to review, provide a few consumer contacts so reporters can get feedback from them. Offer as much detail about the technology and its manufacturer as possible. Avoid industry-speak; describe concisely the characteristics of the product, its purpose, price and audience.

Tip #3. Keep it simple
Keep your information simple and straightforward, yet fascinating enough for a case study. They don’t accept embargoed material. They prefer to take “an end-user enterprise perspective.”

Tip #4. Send an email
Most editors favor email. If you must leave a voicemail, clearly state your name and phone number. Don’t ramble (i.e., don’t wait until the system cuts you off).

Tip #5. Craft subject line
Write succinct yet meaningful subject lines that don’t include the words “press release,” exclamation points or all caps. Then, customize your plain text pitches to the journalist's coverage.

Tip# 6. Don’t send attachments
Don’t include email attachments, especially unsolicited ones. Do include the following bulleted points: what, when, who, where and how.

Tip #7. Limit number of slides
If you send a PowerPoint presentation, limit it to five slides.

Tip #8. Target your queries
Check InformationWeek’s editorial calendar to better time your queries.
http://www.informationweek.com/edcal/2007


Tip #9. Contact the right reporter
Send your story leads directly to the reporter who covers the beat or technology you’re involved in. You can find a list of reporters, beats and contact information here:
http://www.informationweek.com/contactus.jhtml


Tip #10. Identify time zones
Consider time differences when contacting them. Not everyone is based in New York.

Contribute to InformationWeek
Staff writers and freelancers produce most of the magazine’s content. If you want to freelance, send an email to the managing editor/features.

InformationWeek does not publish unsolicited articles; make sure a story is approved before you spend much time on it. The magazine does accept opinion columns, however. They like to hear your perspective on relevant issues.

Also, consider the Lightning Post -- the site’s discussion forum. It connects readers to editors. They don’t promise to answer you, but they do promise to read your message. “Because of sheer volume, we may not respond to every query,” Preston says.

Press Kits
Editors prefer emails to press kits. Always include contact information and a product summary with whatever you send.

Meet Preston and Other Editors
Preston says you can meet the magazine’s editors in any of their offices. They are even available at “the principal’s site, if the principal and story is compelling enough.”

Editors attend various conferences and trade shows. The major one: InformationWeek500, a three-day show at which the 500 most innovative business technology users are named.

For specific dates of other trade shows, check the CMP Events calendar: http://www.cmp.com/events/index.jhtml.

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