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Feb 27, 2004

PR Interview: 5 Steps to Pitching the Editors at Wireless Week

SUMMARY: Did you know that Wireless Week has changed editorial focus from what's happening now newsy to trendwatching and what's ahead? In our exclusive interview, Editor Monica Alleven reveals what sorts of stories she's looking for, and how to avoid her pet peeves:
Monica Alleven
Wireless Week
P.O. Box 266008
Highlands Ranch, CO 80163-6008

-> Reach

Print: 34,000+ subscribers
Web site: 100,000+ unique monthly visitors
News@2Direct (email newsletter): 27,000 subscribers

-> Alleven's background

Alleven was in community journalism for 10 years before she entered the trade press, which she has been doing now for about 10 years.

She enjoys the wireless industry because, she says, "We really see things up to a year before they enter the mainstream press. It's a dynamic industry with a lot of entrepreneurs, people who are willing to take a lot of risks."

-> Current editorial coverage

Wireless Week editorial content covers the wireless industry in four sectors: business, technology, content and applications, and retail.

"We like to anticipate what's coming around the corner," Alleven says. "We're no longer a straight news publication, in which you often cover an event or a new product. That's about what happened last week. We're about what's going to happen in a month or two or a year."

Wireless Week actually encompasses three different entities:

#1. Print publication

This comes out every two weeks, on the first and fifteenth of the month. It covers the industry in depth, with a broader, "more forward-looking" slant, Alleven says.

Departments in the publication include:

o By the Numbers -- Stock trends, industry statistics, and other aspects of the financial landscape

o FaceTime -- Coverage of unique people, places, and things, including the offbeat in wireless. "We're looking for interesting personalities to feature," she says.

o Wireless Gear -- Hardware, software, accessories, and components

o Services -- Covers carriers and MVNOs, customer service, backend support, and infrastructure

o Enterprise -- This section, covering a sector with explosive growth potential, is where you can pitch case studies

#2. News@2Direct

A daily newsletter, coverage is news-oriented. All content is archived online the day it's published.

Includes current news, industry stocks, latest research findings, upcoming events, and more.

-> Best way to pitch Alleven

Email pitches to as well as Rhonda Wickham at

"I really prefer it that they not call," she says, though she will listen to a phone pitch if you catch her at the right time.

She also acknowledges that follow up calls are sometimes useful, "depending on the magnitude of what they're pitching." In other words, carefully analyze your pitch and your reason for following up. A call may be most effective for hot news or if you're offering an exclusive.

February and March are their busiest months, so be particularly sensitive about phone calls during that time.

-> What she looks for in a story pitch

Alleven spelled out five simple steps to pitching:

o Step #1. Read the magazine. "Become very familiar with it," Alleven says. "The [pitches] I get from people who've never seen it don't help me."

And make sure you're not pitching a story they've already done.

o Step #2. Be specific in your subject line. "If it has to do with the Show Daily, it should say Show Daily in the subject line," she explains.

o Step #3. In the body of your email, you might say something like, "I realize you haven't covered this angle on voiceover IP." Tell her what's interesting about the new angle and why it's important for wireless operators to know about it.

o Step #4. When sending a news announcement, you might include a short note saying, "I wanted to get your attention because of XYZ," she says. Then include the press release below that, in the body of the email.

o Step #5. Position yourself as an industry expert. Explain who you are, list your credentials and perhaps a couple of references. Then let her know what topics you can speak about and suggest that she give you a call.

"A lot of stories are generated by our own staff," she says. "If someone pitches something, it might be a smaller part of a broader angle."

It's useful to Alleven to point out the broader story that might encompass your pitch.

-> Pet peeves

Two things bug her:

--PR reps who do not do their homework and have never seen the magazine. "It's very simple to go to and look at archives. They need to know who we are if they want us to know who they are," she says.

--People who assume she's not on deadline just because the magazine comes out every other week. Ask if she has time before beginning your pitch. Then, make it quick.

-> What she looks for in printed press materials

"Snail mail really is not good," she says. She'll (reluctantly) look at it, but doesn't understand why people continue to send it.

On the other hand, she says, "Fax is not a bad idea still. It's just another ping at us, another, 'Hey, don't forget us.'"

-> Where you can meet Alleven

She goes to the major wireless trade shows. (In fact, Wireless Week will be the official show daily at CTIA Wireless 2004 in March.)

She's also open to onsite meetings, especially during non-production weeks.

-> Deadlines

The magazine comes out on the first and 15th of each month. Production week is the week before the issue comes out. March is the exception, because they publish three issues, on the first, the 15th, and the 22nd.

-> Favorite professional publication

For general business news, the Wall Street Journal

See Also:

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