5 Ways to Get Your Story in the Business Journal
Landing a story in your local Business Journal is one of the easiest ways to get noticed by potential customers and partners. American Cities Business Journals publishes business journals in 41 U.S. cities, and many independent publishers have started business journals in smaller communities.
Getting your story into the Business Journal is as easy as riding a bike. Once you know what editors and reporters want, the rest is easy. How do you figure out what they want?
Study the paper. Figure out who covers what by looking at the staff box. Here’s The Puget Sound Business Journal’s staff box, which covers Seattle. Next, figure out what kinds of stories reporters are writing by reading several back issues. Using The Puget Sound Business Journal as an example, here are five areas to target:
1) Pitch your Big Story. Have you increased sales significantly? Purchased another company? Created an innovative product? Are you doing something different? Are you on the cutting edge of a national trend? Telling a reporter your big news, especially if it is significant and has an impact on your industry or your community, is the easiest way to get featured in any Business Journal, and can land you on the front page.
2) Pitch an idea targeting the Editorial Calendar. Each week the Business Journal publishes a special focus section that relates to a specific industry. You’ll find several on commercial real estate, law, arts and entertainment, retail and wine in the Puget Sound Business Journal. The editorial calendar will tell you when the section will publish. Using that date, work backward at least a month and a half. That’s roughly the time you should pitch an idea that relates to the specific topic or industry.
Come up with a story idea that relates to your company’s growth, or an industry trend. At the PSBJ you pitch your idea to the editor for these special sections. If successful, the editor will ask you to send more information, and then he’ll assign the story to a reporter who will interview your key executive.
3) Pitch a Contributed Article or Column for a Special Focus Section. If one of your executives is an expert on a certain subject or trend relating to a special focus section, you can pitch an idea for a contributed column to the special focus section editor. These columns are about 750 words long, are written by your company and carry your byline. They cannot be about your company. They must highlight a trend, offer commentary on a recent happening or offer insight on what’s happening locally. Remember that you are offering your company as a source for this story, and that your pitch should not be self-serving.
A contributed article highlights your expertise and establishes you or your company as an expert.
4) Find the List of Special Publications. In addition to special focus sections in the paper each week, the Puget Sound Business Journal also prints special publications that run annually. These publications include 40 Under 40, the Law Guide, The Wine Guide, Women of Influence, Fastest Growing Private Companies, CFO of the Year and others. A complete list can be found on the editorial calendar.
Becky Monk, assistant managing editor, heads up these special publications at the PSBJ. As a rule of thumb, you will want to pitch ideas or people for these sections – or fill out a nomination in the case specific publications such as 40 Under 40- at least three months in advance.
5) Is your company hiring? PSBJ reporter Greg Lamm writes a column each week highlighting companies that are hiring and employment trends. While this column will most likely disappear once the economy recovers, this is a good place to get noticed.
While these ideas are focused on local business journals, they can be applied to any publication. Doing your homework before pitching any publication is a surefire way to get your story published and get noticed by potential customers and partners.