Chief Content Officer
337 Highland Drive
Los Angeles, CA
-> Circulation: 80,000 readers
-> Handley’s background
Handley co-founded ClickZ.com in ‘97 and ran it for over 3 years before selling it to Internet.com (now Jupiter Media). After the company sold, she took a few years off. Then, when she got tired of that, she went out looking for work, and called Allen Weiss, publisher of MarketingProfs.com.
Weiss knew who she was: apparently, he had approached her a few years earlier about doing some freelance writing for ClickZ. Handley was not interested and suggested he try somewhere else. He founded a competing site, and two years later, she ended up working for him.
“Fundamentally, I’m an editor and writer,” says Handley. “I enjoy working with people who aren’t necessarily writers, and I like helping them find their voice.”
At MarketingProfs, they do not pay for articles, so Handley is not often solicited by actual writers—her stories are written by marketing professionals and professors. “I like to get contributors to understand that they need to communicate in a certain way.”
Handley works out of her Boston-area home, with her black lab and King Charles spaniel for company.
-> Current editorial coverage
MarketingProfs is a weekly email newsletter that goes to professionals in the fields of advertising and marketing. It focuses on both online and offline marketing, with coverage on everything from blogging to integrating online with offline marketing to branding to print design.
The newsletter contains seven articles each week: One or two big-picture stories and a number of shorter, how-to pieces. The articles from the newsletter appear on the Web site for a week, then go into the archives.
“Right now those are only editorial opportunities,” says Handley. However, the company is working on an ebook division for this summer, which will open more prospects.
Handley is looking for compelling articles about the marketing process. “I wouldn’t look for a specific company doing a specific thing, but rather, if they’ve had an experience, I want to know how it will help others.”
For example: “If you’re Director of Marketing for Bank of America and you’ve had an incredible response rate on an email campaign, we want to hear about how you did it. We want to know what were some of the lessons learned.”
-> The best way to pitch Handley
Email only. “I don’t like to be approached by phone,” she says.
Query her with an idea that is short and to the point or, if you have already written the story, send that instead.
One caveat when pitching a story idea to Handley: All writing is done by a team of about 50 people who contribute “anywhere from monthly to occasionally,” she says. They are all writing stories from their own expertise, not stories about others’ experiences.
In other words, if you pitch a story, be prepared to write it, she will not assign it to someone else.
Articles should be 600-700 words in length. For more specifics on writer guidelines, see: http://www.marketingprofs.com/about/article_submissions.asp
-> What Handley looks for in a story pitch
Anything downright useful about marketing. “Think bullet points, think how-to,” she says.
Beyond having an important marketing story to tell, it is all about approach and attitude when you pitch Handley.
“I like when I can develop a relationship with a writer, when someone approaches me and says, ‘I love the site, I’d love to write for you, here’s my background,’” she says.
Handley wants people who love to write, rather than those who love to talk about their company (is that not refreshing?). “If they say they love to write and think they have something to say, that will always get a response from me.”
Another approach is to say, “I conducted a great campaign that can help your readers. I’d love to share it.”
On the other hand, if you pitch her with a specific company or product, she will just get annoyed. “They should be advertising with us. It feels disingenuous to me, and I’ll ignore it,” she says.
A few tips:
o Love writing first, marketing second (or at least pretend you do),
o talk about the “community,” and your desire to bring something to the table;
o and downplay your own greatness. “The less you talk about yourself, the more credible you are,” Handley says.
-> Pet peeves
Handley doesn’t like when people send PDF copies of articles they have written, or send a link to a site where they are already published. “That feels lazy to me,” she says.
She also dislikes bloated language in the author’s bio. “The bio should be short and to the point. If you need to say more you’re tooting your own horn.”
-> Where you can meet Handley
She does the circuit of marketing conferences. “I make it to AD:TECH in NY, and usually in San Francisco, though not next week,” she says.
-> What she looks for in printed press materials
“I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to printed materials,” she says. Though she claims to look at everything, she does not always respond.
-> Pre-written contributions
Sure, that is what she is all about.
-> Becoming a regular columnist
She is always looking for new writers, though not on a weekly basis. “I’m open to something that’s monthly, but I have so many people, I don’t really have the space to offer weekly to anyone.”
-> A final word
If you have a story to tell, Handley says, it works best if it comes from your voice. Do not worry, you do not need to be world’s best writer. “I’d rather work with a passionate writer than with someone from a PR firm,” she says.