Jessica Combes, Editor of CPI Financial’s SME business publication FinanceME, spoke with MediaSource about the magazine’s readership, her dream PR pitch, and the best way for PRs to get their stories featured.
Tell us about your magazine and your audience.
FinanceME advises the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on how to plan, manage and grow. It is designed to support and encourage the growth of the SME sector and is read by CFOs, Finance Managers and SME owners – the key decision makers.
What kind of stories resonate with your readers?
I think, depending where they are in their entrepreneurial journey, different sections of the magazine will appeal to different readers. Our country reports look at each of the member countries of the GCC, which is of interest to the region generally, especially given the oil price. Our case study section features how a large corporation was built from its beginnings as a start-up. Our franchise pages look at bringing different brands into the region, and then we have more personal pages such as ‘Chalk talk’ or ‘Last word’ where we get to speak to an executive on a more personal level. There is always something in the magazine that will appeal to our readers in some way.
How do you prefer to be contacted with a story idea?
I don’t think there is a best way. I find what works is to send me an email and if I haven’t responded within a day, please make a follow up phone call. I try to respond to everything as quickly as possible, but sometimes it just is not feasible.
From your experience, what makes for a ‘dream’ pitch?
A dream pitch is when the individual contacting me has read the magazine and knows what we’re about. It’s great when the relationship with PRs is such that we’re on a first name basis and they call me up with exactly the right thing I need for the magazine and the turnaround time on content is almost immediate.
Alternatively, what will make a pitch fall short?
A pitch falls short when the person on the other end of the phone has no idea what FinanceME is about and they are pitching a story or a client cold in the hope of getting a bite.
What are your deadlines – is there a best time to pitch you?
The magazine is a constant cycle. Editorial deadlines are right in the beginning of the month, so that is usually when I’m working with design to catch any last minute hiccups before the magazine goes to proof. But in terms of having a best time, it is more a case of trial and error.
Do you find social media useful for pitches and story leads?
Social media is great and I have been pitched to via Twitter before. I’m not sure why that platform isn’t utilised better by anyone wanting to pitch a story or a client.
Any advice to PR and marketing professionals looking to build a relationship with you?
I value my relationships with PRs as they are essential to ensure a regular influx of good content to the magazine. Building a relationship with me is easy – get in touch via email, phone or Twitter (@jesscombes or @FinanceMidEast) and let’s meet for a coffee and talk about how we can work together.