Earlier on we mentioned ‘feature articles’. Like the broadsheet newspapers, most trade and industrial magazines run one or more features in each issue. The publishers produce lists of these features well in advance, in the hope of attracting advertising. You will also be interested in them from an editorial point of view, as opportunities to ‘sell’ articles to the editor, so you need to establish a system that will get hold of features lists and action them in good time. Lists are usually available from publications’ advertisement departments.
If you’re using the shotgun system of distribution, don’t waste time and effort trying to keep track of the features in all your magazines. Your distribution list for your press releases may be very long. We often deal with client distribution lists of more than 150, but for features monitoring we pick out a shortlist of (say) a dozen of the most-read magazines in the industry and focus on them. Which are the most-read? Media address lists such as PIMS will quote circulation figures; pick the top 12 or so.
Remember what we said earlier about deadlines? If a magazine is listing an interesting feature scheduled to appear in its November issue, the deadline for any copy you may want to submit could be early October. Start taking action a month before that, i.e. a good two months in advance of the issue. Decide what sort of article on the featured topic you or your in-house expert might be able to write. Then prepare a short synopsis of it, contact the editor, and ask him if an article along those lines would be interesting to him. If he says ‘yes’, ask (a) how many words he wants, and (b) what his copy deadline will be. If he says ‘no’, ask if there’s anything else he might find useful – your ‘corporate backgrounder’, for example (see below).