Tips to Get into Business Publications
I've said that part of the trouble with growing the ADR profession is that we have a very low media profile. It's almost non-existent beyond the traditional vehicles of mediation and arbitration.
Here are some tips from Leigh Buchanon, Joshua Hyatt, and Karen Dillion, editors of, respectively, Inc. magazine, Fortune Small Business, and Harvard Business Review.
It's a Marathon not a Sprint
All the editors commented that one email, letter, or call is not likely to result in coverage. Consistent interaction, in a respectful way, wins the marathon. I say pick three publications that will really benefit your business and focus exclusively on them.
Read the Publication
Really. Read many, many issues and learn to distinguish the purposes of each section of the publication. I received a mention in Inc. because I responded to a trend I noticed, as I've been a reader since, eh, forever. Fern Reiss read 18 months worth of Fortune Small Business before selecting Joshua Hyatt and contacting him.
Recognize the Difference
Each publication has a personality and self-image that you want to understand before pitching a story. I'm told (by the editors who should know!) that Fortune Small Business considers itself a "baby Fortune" and approaches similar types of business information and challenges as its big brother. Inc. is for small business and is really interested in stories that share experiences and practices that other readers can benefit from. Harvard Business Review is more interested in management issues from a theoretical or empirical perspective. They like stats.
Tell the Story behind the Story
Editors look for interesting stories, and sometimes that means what drives you to create your business instead of the business itself. Don't hesitate to include in your pitch what the business means to you or whether it has some special meaning or purpose. I remember reading about a pharmacist who created flavorings for children's medicine because his daughter was seriously ill and often refused her meds. That was years ago and the Inc. editor mentioned it during her talk.
One way to research publications is to ask for their advertising packages. I find they have a wealth of information about who reads the publications and for what purpose. And don't forget to get the editorial calendar that lays out a years worth of coverage, month by month. You'll be able to pitch a story months ahead.
Last word, it's much easier to practice this with local magazines first before moving up to the big guys. If you want to study up, visit the Publicity Hound for more helpful hints.
Try. Fail. Learn. Grow.