The launch of Spectator Business was announced in the same breath as the closure of struggling weekly The Business earlier this year. With the tongue-in-cheek strapline 'champagne for the business brain' and a full-time staff of just four, Spectator Business was initially met with some derision.
Would the target audience of Spectator readers, 'foyer flaneurs and Eurostar commuters', really be receptive to another business title when The Economist, the FT and Management Today cover so much ground?
Just weeks after the official May launch, publisher Andrew Neil has seemingly proved the doubters wrong. The Press Holdings title, owned by serial investors the Barclay brothers, is in profit from the first issue.
'Its launch issue certainly boasts impressive contributors, a tribute both to the editor Martin Vander Weyer's contacts book and the Barclay brothers' resources,' says Fishburn Hedges consultant Paul French, who has experience pitching to Vander Weyer, the long-time business editor on The Spectator before his recent promotion.
'Financial and corporate consultants probably won't be used to dealing with the long lead times,' says French. 'From our experience of pitching executive profiles to Martin, he's not particularly interested in bosses who want to plug their latest innovation or financial results. Instead, he features charismatic leaders with a story to tell that goes beyond their business. '
Brazil PR co-founder Joshua Van Raalte followed this formula and has already managed to secure coverage for his client in the second issue, out in June. Van Raalte approached a freelancer on behalf of client the Penderyn Distillery, a Welsh whisky producer. 'Going through a freelancer you know well is often a better way,' he advises. The focus of the piece was to challenge the perception that world class whisky comes only from Scotland. According to Van Raalte, editor Vander Weyer loved the Welsh whisky idea and commissioned the piece for next month.
For consumer PROs whose clients are perhaps not in the upper echelons of international management, there are still opportunities with Spectator Business. 'Good possibilities include the 'Books' section for new business titles and the 'Connoisseur' section for high-end lifestyle products,' says Buffalo PR's Toby Brown, a long-time fan of sister title The Spectator for its current affairs coverage.
High end indeed - the first issue includes a preview of Sunday Times Rich List compiler Philip Beresford's latest tome, The Wealthiest 250 People in Britain since 1066. Other features include a story on fleeing non-doms and a £10m Ferrari.
'It's unashamedly high-end stuff,' says French. 'Buying and selling thoroughbreds anyone? It reads a little like a cross between the FT's new Weekend magazine and its How To Spend It.'
Brown agrees. 'The magazine has assembled a very strong group of journalists with impressive backgrounds and, as such, anything pitched needs to be top quality,' he warns. 'Anything too low-level or remotely puffy is liable to simply bounce off.'
- Frequency: Monthly
- Audience: 42,000 (May launch issue)
- Deadlines: The lead time is six weeks prior to publication
- Martin Vander Weyer, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Janice Warman, deputy editor, JWarman@spectatorbusiness.co.uk
- Laura Staples, editorial assistant/online writer, LStaples@spectatorbusiness.co.uk
TWO MINUTES WITH THE EDITOR
Martin Vander Weyer, editor, Spectator Business
Who are you aiming to reach with the new title?
Spectator Business is aimed principally at business leaders - FTSE company directors, bankers, hedge fund managers, partners of law and accounting firms, or IFAs - and high-net-worth private investors. We also hope to be read in Westminster.
What sets the title apart?
It is not a news product: there is already enough financial news available. The space we aim to fill is that of a monthly pause for thought: well-written analysis of major business, economic and investment issues, plus coverage of what to read, beautiful things to buy, and the pleasures of food and wine. Like our older sister The Spectator, we aim not only to 'convey intelligence' but also to entertain.
How can PROs contribute?
Our Connoisseur section, covering luxury goods, fine art, travel, sports and country pursuits and wine and food is open to well thought-out PR approaches. Since our business coverage is selective and more likely to be issue-driven than news-driven, I'm afraid PR pitches for company stories will generally not find a very positive response. The greatest help you can give us is to help us speak swiftly to your clients at a senior level when we need to talk to them.