April 28, 2009
As the future of Earth’s population seems in peril this week, so the world of publishing mirrors the trials and tribulations here today in another fight for survival. Flagship business magazine Portfolio is facing the chop, less than two years after a £68 million global launch.
The glossy publication, with a respectable readership figure of more than 410,000 has been unable to fight off the swarming mass of rival titles such as Forbes, Fortune and Business Week in the States. A sad day for business-to-business publishing indeed.
Questions will undoubtedly be raised as to the future fortunes of Wired UK, launched by the same publisher last month. Wondering, here, whether any offline publications will survive the ravages of online devleopments over the next decade…marching ahead with all the virulence of the current flu virus.
You toss the coin, I’m calling Heads for the internet I think.
April 8, 2009
We’ve seen some seriously-awful examples in the last 6 months of how not to pitch the press.
So, here’s a top 10 list of the proper way to do it:
1. Read the publication – cover to cover, online and offline and get to know the style, content, tone and issues discussed
2. Make sure your content is emailed to the relevant editorial contact well before the deadline you’re pitching
3. Only speak to an Editor if you are pitching an exclusive idea to them
4. Never, ever, ever ring an Editor to ask if they received a press release and if it is of interest
5. Submit all images at 300dpi resolution – works well for both newspapers and magazines
6. Offer to provide regular content columns and commentaries if the Editor is receptive to this form of editorial
7. Don’t contact an Editor on deadline day
8. Prove you understand media relations basics by submitting exactly what is required, on time, without fuss
9. Put yourself in the Editor’s shoes – consider their readership at all times, not your PR and commercial aims
10. Remember that your pitch is one of hundreds an Editor receives – have something unusual, unique, interesting to add.
April 6, 2009
In true Northcliffe strategy, the exsiting offline journalists will pull together the daily and online News from their regular news-gathering, whilst the magazine will cater for features and regional analysis. Well, that’s the theory.
I recall back in the late 90s when I was part of an editorial team receiving the redundancy axe from the Bristol Evening Post, and being told that our department was being reduced in a ‘cost-saving exercise’ from the number-crunchers in London. We were deliveirng a mix of online and offline editorial then, too.
The thing which surprised me most at the time was the speed with which editorial staff were dispatched on the allegedly-unprofitable thisis.co.uk range of regional sites – even though there were only a skeleton staff of journalists and well-performing ad sales guys working on the projects across the regions at the time.
And now, in their wisdom, the Northcliffe Management are trying pretty much exactly the same business model, some 10 years later, except over-working already over-worked regional journos trying to juggle offline and online news-gathering roles. If I were a newspaper journo being given additional online balls to juggle, I would be decidely unimpressed today. Good luck Andy Merrell!
What will the result be? If the Management utilise their usual people-skills, we can expect to see a rash of further editorial cuts in approximatley 12 weeks. Tighten your belts and get your CVs out there editors! The bell is tolling.
I remain confused as to how it can be expected for a traditional, old-school business model to work for a contemporary online and offline newspaper mix? Am I missing something?!
Surely, it’s time to wake up and deliver relevant solutions for the thousands of media folk living and working in the midst of totally ineffective and out-dated Management delivery models.
April 4, 2009
The main reasons why editors will automatically bin your media relations could well be from the following no-no list:
1. Your press release isn’t actually relevant to the readership
2. You don’t have an interesting, unique or different story to tell
3. The press release is just a worded version of a sales pitch
4. You have missed the editorial deadline – or don’t even know when that is
5. You haven’t read the publication (online or offline) and have submitted a poor attempt at gaining column inches
6. You haven’t found out the name and email of the editor and have sent a generic, no-named email
7. You haven’t submitted accompanying images in high-quality, professional format with your press release
8. Your feature ideas are not backed up with case study examples
9. Your facts and statistics contained in the press release are not attributed
10. The press release is, basically, poorly-written and would take too much work to turn into a decent editorial piece
Any 1 or more of the above points combined will pretty-much guarantee you a strike-out. Guilty?!
Interesting question – and in the light of today‘s article from the team at HoldTheFrontPage – a particularly relevant one for newsroom staff and freelance journalists alike across the UK.
It appears that the proposed media mergers may not be such an attractive and sustainable proposition after all. With expected in-fighting, ongoing cutbacks, and the impossible attempts to merge different newspaper ideologies on a regional basis, there may need to be a re-think on how to keep the British newspaper industry afloat in the regions.
No coincidence, then, that the 108-page report submitted for consideration by the leading regional publishers currently lobbying the Government to relax the rules on mergers are also keeping the details of their document private at this time. Perhaps it contains reading which regional editors would find hard to digest?
Perhaps the focus remains firmly on the number-crunchers cutting editorial – even in the simple fact that balance sheets for many of these leading regional publishers continue to highlight significant profitability across titles.
The report and attempted moves to regional merger will provide slim comfort to the thousands of journalists across the UK already feeling the pinch of greed-laden Management. Would you collaborate with a competitor to survive?
Would you – really? Many newsrooms may be asking themselves this pressing question at the moment. Your answer?