MEDIA: Double trouble: Business 2.0 goes bi-weekly - Business 2.0 has positioned itself as the Internet magazine for the new economy. As the publication moves from a monthly to a bi-weekly, Rebecca Flass investigates what this means for PR pros pitching t

Since its arrival on the scene less than two years ago, Business 2.0 has been attempting to clarify the Net’s impact on business by separating hype from reality. It has emerged as one of the most sought-after - and elusive - Internet magazines for companies trying to obtain coverage.

Since its arrival on the scene less than two years ago, Business 2.0 has been attempting to clarify the Net’s impact on business by separating hype from reality. It has emerged as one of the most sought-after - and elusive - Internet magazines for companies trying to obtain coverage.

Since its arrival on the scene less than two years ago, Business

2.0 has been attempting to clarify the Net’s impact on business by

separating hype from reality. It has emerged as one of the most

sought-after - and elusive - Internet magazines for companies trying to

obtain coverage.



’Ideally, we aim to be the leading Internet magazine for the new

economy,’ says features editor Jeffrey Davis.



Since launching in August 1998, circulation has gone from 125,000 to

210,000 and is expected to reach 300,000 by July. But as its circulation

has grown, so has the number of advertisers, leaving readers to lug

around a 400-page magazine that weighs two-and-a-half pounds.



Big changes are brewing at the magazine, however. Starting on May 30, it

will publish bi-weekly rather than monthly. Davis says this should make

the magazine more palatable, although he was unsure of how many pages it

would be.



Rather than competing on a news level with weekly and daily

publications, Davis says the magazine expects to compete with titles

like Forbes, Fortune and BusinessWeek. The magazine’s editorial mission

and format will remain the same, and reporters will continue to look for

strategic insights, analyses and new ideas to describe the landscape of

online communications in the future.



However, the publication will be ramping up its staff. While pros have

complained that pitching Business 2.0 is confusing because it is

primarily written by freelancers, Davis says that the magazine will

eventually be 75% to 80% staff-written. Until the new positions are

filled, Davis says that pros should pitch section editors and staff

writers rather than freelancers.



But will these changes mean that it’s easier for PR pros to obtain

client coverage in the magazine? Not likely. ’Business 2.0 is a very

highly respected publication and very hard to get into,’ says Andrea

Martone, media director for CooperKatz Communications, who says that her

goal is to get her clients into Business 2.0 by June. ’They’ve developed

an image that is very appealing and almost sexy, considering the topics

they cover.’



’We’re like every other magazine - we’re inundated with pitches from PR

people,’ counters Davis. However, he says that there are ways for PR

pros to increase their chances of getting clients into the mag,

including reading the publication, refining pitches for a particular

section and referencing recent Business 2.0 stories and how the pitch

relates to them.



’Tell me something I don’t know’



When pitching features, PR pros should be prepared to explain why the

idea merits 3,000 words. ’Tell me something I don’t know that matters to

our readers,’ says Davis. ’Before you get on the phone, think about what

the story is from our perspective, not yours. Issues and ideas are at

the core of our stories, not news or announcements.’



For example, the April issue contains a story meant to separate the

winners from the losers in the new economy and discuss how the Net has

changed business and altered views of wealth and innovation. The March

issue contained an article that drew upon the experiences of some of the

leading minds in the Internet industry to determine how to start a Net

company.



These stories seem to perfectly target Business 2.0’s readers, who are

mostly young, affluent (with an average household income of dollars

116,600) and educated (82% have a college education and 44% have done

post-graduate study). Eighty-three percent of its readers are male,

which Davis says is on par with the readership of other business

magazines. However, as a bi-weekly, the magazine’s mission will be to

appeal to a much broader audience. Surprisingly, 64% work at traditional

businesses, while 34% work for Internet businesses.



Pros should pitch a minimum of six weeks to two months in advance. For

example, someone contacting the magazine in May should have July and

August in mind. As for the best time to pitch, Davis says Mondays are

’laden with meetings’ and Fridays are the days when they get the most

pitches.



However, he says there isn’t a wrong time to pitch. ’If you have a good

idea and have done your homework about the magazine, carry it to the

next step with the writer,’ says Davis. ’If we don’t call back in a day,

don’t follow up with 10 other calls.’ He says that e-mail is the best

way to pitch writers and editors.





Not a pleasant pitch



The majority of PR pros interviewed for this article say that they’ve

never had any success with the magazine. ’I pitch a lot of people, from

Red Herring to Fast Company, and Business 2.0 is rude,’ says Cohn &

Wolfe account executive Chris McGowen. ’When you pitch most people, it’s

a give-and-take. With Business 2.0, it’s a bad, bad experience.’ McGowen

says he has tried several approaches, including conducting research

through MediaMap to determine reporters’ likes and dislikes, attempting

to befriend reporters, pitching via phone and e-mail, researching and

referencing past stories and even sending a bag of coffee with a press

kit and pitch.



’I’ve tried every variety of pitch, and I’ve pretty much given up,’ says

McGowen.



While many journalists say that the key to pitching is for PR pros to

develop relationships with them, Morrissey & Company VP Ed Cafasso says

that this hasn’t paid off for him. Cafasso went to Boston University

with Business 2.0 editor James Daly and worked with him on the school

newspaper, but can’t even get Daly to return his e-mails or phone

calls.



Davis admits that only a small number of pitches turn into stories, and

he says that pitching features in particular is more difficult, since

they take the most planning and execution. ’A lot of times the reasons

why something works or doesn’t work doesn’t have anything to do with

whether it was a good pitch,’ says Davis. ’It has to do with timing, if

it’s something we’ve done before or what we’re working on now.’



However, some pros do have success. For example, Davis says he recently

got a pitch from an agency that had picked up an account with a large

company that he says was doing ’some pretty exciting things in the

B-to-B space.’ The agency e-mailed him and offered him an exclusive.

Davis checked out the company, took the exclusive and assigned the story

the next day.



CONTACT LIST

Business 2.0

Imagine Media

West Coast:

150 North Hill Drive

Brisbane, CA 94005

Tel: (415) 468 4684

Fax: (415) 656 2481

1620 26th Street

3rd Floor, South Tower

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tel: (310) 255 8068

Fax: (310) 255 8502

New York:

500 Fifth Avenue

Suite 320

New York, NY 10110

Tel: (212) 768 2966

Fax: (212) 944 9279

Web: www.business2.com

E-mail: firstinitiallastname@business2.com (some reporters have a

different format)

Editor-in-chief: James Daly

Editor at large: Nancy Rutter (marketing)

Managing editor: Judy Lewenthal

Deputy managing editor: Naheed Attari

Features editors: Jeffrey Davis (cover packages and features and

investing sections), Matt Beer, Kevin Hogan

Senior editors: Eric Hellweg (Vision and Breakthrough), Susan Moran

(Ebusiness and Get a Life)

Section editor: Eric Reyes (Filter and Demo)

Senior writer: Susan Kuchinskas (advertising and marketing)

Staff writers: Sean Donahue, Carol Pickering, Kim Cross (Internet at a

Glance)

Online editor: Kevin McLaughlin

Online reporter: Jim Welte



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