The internet’s a wonderful thing. On Linkedin Answers James Cleverly, head of online sales for Real Business magazine, asked “What are the top ten business related blogs, ideally in the UK.” I made some suggestions and then realised it was quite a while since I’d had a look at the all new Real Business website. I’m pleased I did as in the forums I came across this gem of an answer from Tamar Wilner of Real Business describing how to pitch a story to them.
In a nutshell the advice is “Read the magazine, and send us a relevant idea, supported by key facts and no waffle“. That’s good advice that works for any media. You’ve got to read, watch or listen to what you’re pitching. I’m sure Real Business won’t mind me copying the answer here and pointing you to its website.
I think I ought to put my two pence-worth in here… I don’t think I can tell you what the local papers look for in business stories, but I can certainly tell you what Real Business looks for! I don’t know if this is what you were after, Dan, but I think it will be useful to lots of people on the forum.
Look through Real Business and you’ll see what while we write about a lot of companies, most of our articles aren’t straight “profiles”. We do run some profiles, of course: the cover stories (“I’ll Have What X is Having”) being a notable example. These tend to be reserved for the hyper-successful companies: founder-run firms which have grown to £100m turnover or more.
But most of our stories talk about how a company solved a particular problem. So that’s rule number one: don’t be afraid to admit you’ve run into difficulties. Conflict is interesting.
Rule number two: Tell us what makes your company UNIQUE. Is it your product, your business model? Have you found a new way of getting finance or advertising your product/service? Make it crystal clear why we should write about you and not your competitors.
Rule number three: Write your email as if you’re talking to a six-year-old, or your gran. Don’t talk about “value-added systems integration management solutions specialists”. Say: “we sell software”.
Rule number four: Do give us numbers. Turnover, profit, number of employees, years in operation. They’re the only way to prove that you’re as successful as you say you are.
Rule number five: Tell us what bit of the mag you think your story would work for.
Rule number six: Don’t send us press releases every day or every week. We get too many to deal with as it is! Instead, send a really well-crafted proposal for an article, listing everything you think we ought to know about your company. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rule number seven: anniversaries, milestones, charity donation, new products, sponsored events? No thanks!! Maybe it works for local papers, but it doesn’t do it for us. Lots of companies have anniversaries, lots give money to charity.Again, it’s about saying what makes you UNIQUE.
Hope that helps… and that we’ll now be flooded with info about your fascinating companies!
All the best