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Jul 15, 2006

How to Pitch Manufacturing Business Technology

SUMMARY: Nearly 100,000 manufacturing executives read Manufacturing Business Technology every month. In our exclusive interview with Editorial Director Kevin Parker you'll learn what sorts of stories the reporting staff are hoping you'll pitch them ... and which they'll pitch out:

-> Contact Information

Kevin Parker, Editorial Director, Manufacturing Business Technology, 2000 Clearwater Drive Oak Brook, IL 60523 630-288-8756 http://www.mbtmag.comDefault.asp

-> Media Profile

- Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine (formerly called MSI-IT Magazine for Manufacturing Executives)
- Reach: 97,185
- Frequency: Monthly
- Audience Demographic: Qualified subscribers from the following fields: IT/IS/Networking management, Manufacturing/Production/Operations management, Company/Corporate/Financial management.

-> Parker's background

Parker oversees the content side of Manufacturing Business Technology's print products, electronic publications and events, and has been with the magazine for about 15 years.

Before becoming an editor, Parker held various positions in the engineering department of an industrial equipment manufacturer. His Bachelor's degree in philosophy includes studies in the philosophy of science.

-> Current editorial coverage

Published monthly, Manufacturing Business Technology explains how information technology can improve productivity in both the business and production processes of manufacturing.

To help readers evaluate, buy and implement these technologies, Manufacturing Business Technology explores the management concepts, business processes, technology infrastructure and product technologies relevant to their use.

"It's about the use of information technology in manufacturing supply chain and how that leads to group productivity," Parker explains. "At the end of the day, productivity allows workers to enjoy higher wages and makes goods more freely available, which is a good thing, though in the short term it may have bad consequences."

Although productivity increases has been one of the primary reasons jobs have been lost in recent years, he says, it's not a major topic of the publication. "We're more concerned with the how or the who, what, when, where and why than to the larger political question of how you deal with all those different things."

Much of the content focuses on multi-source feature articles and news stories.

-> Best way to pitch Parker

"Email is undoubtedly the most effective today," he says. "But at the same time, with there being so much junk email, things tend to get lost in the clutter."

Follow up your email with a phone call within a day or two, he suggests.

-> What he looks for in a story pitch

One of the most significant things Parker looks for are user contacts, a client he can speak to.

Send him an abstract of three or four paragraphs to "very succinctly say where you see yourself fitting into a story.". When you send documented information, he can share it with others and "it takes on a life of its own."

Three more tips:

#1. Check out the editorial calendar online and pitch a source for a particular story.

#2. Include press releases in the body of the email as well as attached as a Word document.

#3. Change your subject line in the course of an email "train." For example, he explains, you might start a correspondence with a subject line that says something like, "Najaf bombed today." Two weeks later you may be talking about an operations story in Manufacturing Business Technology, but your correspondence still has the same subject line.

-> Pet peeves

Two things bug Parker:

--If they're writing a story about the moon and a PR person persistently tells them about the sun, it doesn't do anybody any good. "They get stuck in that groove and feel it's the right way to do it, but it's just a waste of time. On other hand, if it hasn't already been decided that the story is about the moon, it's perfectly valid to say, have you thought about including the sun?"

But how do you know if the story has been decided on already? If it's on the editorial calendar, it's pretty much going to be followed, he says.

--When PR firms call two weeks before press date and say, "This is too late for this story, isn't it?"

"That really shows their weaknesses," he says. "I would have to suppose that they're just booking hours."

-> Deadlines

Contact Parker at least three months before pub date.

-> What he looks for in online press rooms and printed press materials

"Sometimes [online press rooms] are more cumbersome than others. It's hard to get all but the latest news releases," he says. "That can be kind of a pain." Make navigation simple and have all contacts readily available.

He finds printed press kits very useful. "If it's put together correctly, you have almost everything you need to do a story," he says. "You have white papers, backgrounders, user case studies, bios, basic positioning of the vendor. It spares you a lot of time if you have the right materials in terms of fact checking."

-> Favorite professional publication

"I read The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal every day."

See Also:

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