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Dec 28, 2006

PR Interview: How to Get Mentioned in BtoB Magazine & BtoB Online

SUMMARY: More than 45,000 business marketers in North America receive BtoB magazine each month. The publication provides news, analysis and strategies that cover all aspects of business-to-business marketing. BtoB's special reports offer exposure on an assortment of marketing topics and opportunities to advertise within targeted issues. We interviewed Editor Ellis Booker to learn how you can showcase a story about your company or get your name mentioned.
Ellis Booker
360 N. Michigan Ave., 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601-3806

Circulation, as of 12/06
Monthly tabloid-size magazine: 45,100+ B-to-B high-level marketers at large corporations in North America.
Daily Alert email newsletter: 10,000 opt-in subscribers; latest news and developments in the industry.
Issue Alert email newsletter (monthly): 10,500 opt-in subscribers; outline of the latest release.
Hands-On: search email newsletter (weekly): 10,000 opt-in subscribers; practical tips, best practice case studies, features.
E-mail Marketer Insight (weekly): 13,000 opt-in subscribers; experts’ lessons learned, case studies, campaigns.
Media Business (weekly): 8,000 opt-in subscribers; in-depth feature stories, news briefs, executive changes.
Straight Line (biweekly): 13,000 opt-in subscribers; BtoB and BtoC news, analysis, advice, stories, interviews.
Regular NetMarketing breakfasts: 120+ attendees per event.

- 30% Technology companies
- 67% Marketing/Advertising/Media/Sales
- 46% C-level, top management
- 85% Corporate marketing and sales strategy developers

Booker's background
Booker's resume reads like a who's who of Internet-related trade publishing. In 1995, he joined MecklerMedia's WebWeek, where he conducted “Industry Leader” interviews. Since the company also owned the Internet World trade shows, Booker was in the thick of things. He later joined CMP's InternetWeek and specialized in tech topics, such as Java, XML, databases and application servers.

Although he has covered the Internet for more than a decade, Booker points out that he doesn't have a journalism or a computer degree. "It's been completely hands-on learning." His extensive background in technology and business reporting makes him well-rounded to be a marketing journalist. "I understand the tech and financial imperatives behind business success. Marketing is the third leg of the stool."

Current editorial coverage
Booker says BtoB magazine stands out in the marketplace as a horizontal title on B-to-B marketing. "We have competitors in some pieces -- Net marketing, direct marketing, media -- but we're trying to go very horizontal. We're interested in the interaction of business marketing and commerce."

The magazine's standing departments include advertising, ecommerce, net marketing, business media and direct and database. Each issue includes a special in-depth report on a particular topic, such as "Who’s Who 100" or "Netmarketing’s Best Web Sites."

The email newsletters tend to carry breaking news and original feature stories. Their Netmarketing breakfasts, which cost $45 to attend, are held on a regular basis in major cities, such as New York and San Francisco. They feature a panel of client-side marketers from a name-brand B-to-B company.

What Booker looks for in a story pitch
"My basic advice is to read us before you pitch us to get a sense of our focus and tone,” he says. “PR people are often dealing with trying to throw as many releases out as they can and see what sticks. I understand that, but their likelihood of success is better if they are familiar with the publication. A great way to start your pitch is, 'I saw a story you did on X. We have a follow-on to that which expands the story.' "

There are other ways to impress Booker. One option is to submit a well-crafted note for the 'Letters/Instant E-Mail' section. "I love getting letters. If I had more space, I'd rather go with more letters than more columnists." Praise is not a requirement. In fact, Booker says he routinely prints letters that take issue with stories they’ve run.

Vendors wanting to get on the breakfast panels will have better luck if they pitch a name-brand client. "If you think you'd be good, shoot me an email," Booker says, but he notes that he gets numerous pitches for their speaking gigs.

If you want to schedule a meeting or call with Booker, don’t do it on Thursdays. His best time of day is around the lunch hour, after he has sent the Daily newsletter.

Prewritten contributions
There are two guest columnist spots in most issues but, in general, Booker solicits writers for these. If you would like to be considered, email him. "The space is very tight -- 430 words. The watchword is quick in, quick out. You have to take a very specific topic and talk about it. The most successful are ones that take a conventional piece of wisdom and turn it on its head or challenge the reader to revisit conventional wisdom and look
at things in a new way. The best are ones with attitude mixed well with information."

Booker’s pointers for writing case studies
- Organize information into three sections: challenge, solution, result
- Divulge encountered struggles in an honest manner
- Reveal concrete results: numbers, preferably
- Limit writing to 300 words
- Go easy on marketing speak

Becoming a regular columnist
Currently no regular columnist slots are open. Booker doesn't expect this to change.

Where you can meet Booker
He sometimes accepts lunch dates in Chicago and in New York. You can also meet him at BtoB’s Netmarketing breakfasts, which he usually moderates. He also attends most of the annual marketing association events, as well as American Business Media events.

Best gifts for Booker
"It's a wonderful idea to send a charitable donation." Just DON'T send him a holiday card. That’s a huge pet peeve of his. "Why do we have to fell all those trees to send cards that people stick on their door for a day or two and then throw out?" Emailed holiday cards aren't any better, "I get 200 emails a day. I don't need emailed holiday cards as well!"

Booker reads
The print edition of The Wall Street Journal is Booker’s favorite publication. He also has been known to surf marketing-related email discussion groups. "I want to find out what's happening on the ground."
See Also:

Comments about this Interview

Dec 28, 2006 - Maura Lansford of Politis Communications says:
Thank you for this insightful article! I tried pitching Mr. Booker for his January issue, with no response. This article helped me identify a few ways I can improve. Thanks again and keep them coming.

Jan 09, 2007 - Bill Balderaz of AcccessMyLibrary says:
Also, don't underestimate the readership of this magazine online. I'm with and BtoB is one of the free journals on our site. The stats in the article above reflect the print base, but online a lot of readers are driven to this journal via search.

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