Get inside tips from the editor on how to land coverage in this socially conscious magazine and on its Web site
Editors at GOOD have never turned a PR pitch into content—at least not yet.
“We’re a hard magazine to pitch,” GOOD features editor Siobhan O’Connor said. “We try to cover the major topics of the day in a way that feels relevant to a broad readership, but in a way that’s uniquely GOOD—meaning the brand, not the word—and that could mean a lot of different things.”
Launched in 2006, GOOD
is a magazine, blog, online community and live-event sponsor. It also works with 12 nonprofit partners. Subscriptions for the magazine go to those partners; advertising revenues go to the magazine.
Indeed, as O’Connor mentioned, it is also a brand. And the GOOD brand serves a community of people, businesses and non-government organizations “moving the world forward.”
The magazine carries stories about groups and individuals who make positive changes in communities large and small, real and virtual. And that might jibe with the corporate social responsibility goals your nonprofit or for-profit clients strive to meet.
“We try to bring our readers what they aren’t going to get anywhere else,” O’Connor explained. “Or if they are going to get it somewhere else then it’s going to be from a totally different angle.”
O’Connor and other editors aren’t against story ideas that stem from PR pitches; they simply haven’t received the right pitch.
“We are really happy to hear from [PR] people,” she said. “It’s just a unique problem that people have problems pitching us and hopefully that won’t always be the case.”
Why you should care?
If you’re thinking, “Why bother?” Think again. The GOOD audience is engaged and ready to act, O’Connor said.
“[The GOOD audience consists of] people engaged in the world,” she explained. “They want to feel like they can make a difference immediately; they want to know if they do XYZ it will result in something positive.”
Readership is more female than male—60 percent to 40 percent. The median age for readers is 31; they have a high median income; they’re college educated and living in major cities, according to O’Connor. Perhaps most importantly, the typical reader is influential. One study shows 67 percent of GOOD readers said, “People often come to me for advice before making a purchase.”
The magazine’s readership tops 150,000. And the company is hiring, which suggests growth. Seems GOOD isn’t going anywhere but up.
What kind of stories?
While the magazine is an ideal venue for stories from nonprofit organizations, GOOD editors also want stories about the intersection of business and social responsibility. This goes beyond philanthropy, like “our company donates one percent of profits to charity,” or generic claims of green products.
“We are really excited about big business trying to do interesting things,” O’Connor said.
For instance, in the most recent issue’s business section, there were stories about chief responsibility officers, sustainability, community engagement and socially conscious entrepreneurship. One feature explored America’s first nonprofit pharmaceutical company.
“Big stories about how businesses are trying to change the way that they operate—that’s something that’s of interest to us,” O’Connor said. She noted that design is another interest to GOOD editors, specifically where architecture or product designs result in positive end results.
How O’Connor likes her pitches
E-mail pitches are preferred by everyone at GOOD, O’Connor said. A catchy subject line is crucial for someone at the company to open an e-mail and read it.
“It’s almost the equivalent to a headline or sub-headline in an article,” she explained. “It always helps when there’s some kind of hook, something unexpected.”
O’Connor receives roughly 20 e-mails daily from PR pros. She glances at every one, but only reads the e-mails that grab her attention immediately. Also, phone calls aren’t out of the question. GOOD editors understand that certain subjects are hard to communicate in an e-mail.
And if your item is not time sensitive and it is visually compelling then consider sending GOOD a mail package. “Interestingly, because so few people actually mail you anything any more, things that are mailed do tend to get a certain amount of attention,” explained O’Connor, who said she receives about one piece of mail per week.
Lead time for magazine stories is about six weeks, she noted.
New Web site offers more opportunities
If you can’t meet the magazine’s lead time then consider sending your pitch along for GOOD’s newly relaunched Web site, which includes a daily online video news show. O’Connor said GOOD staff are working hard to produce original online-only content with the same voice and feel of the magazine.
“[Online content] gives us an opportunity—because we’re bimonthly—to do so much more,” she explained. “There have been so many missed opportunities and this is sort of the perfect way to interact with our readers in a daily way and keep them entertained and busy in between issues.”
The Web site’s lead time is flexible, she added.