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Beware of the inflated trade publication media kit


Some things in the world of PR make me scratch my head.

Trade publication media kits, for example.

When researching a new trade publication or outlet to pitch stories on behalf of your client, this is typically your first stop.

Arch Digest

You need to determine audience size. You need to see if the demographics match up–and if this is truly a publication the audience you want to reach is reading. Basically, you need to review a bunch of numbers and make sure they align with what you’re looking for.

Except here’s the problem: Media outlets aren’t very good about giving you useful information.

Sure, they give you *information*–it’s just not the *right* information.

What am I talking about?

Let’s look at some garden-variety numbers media outlets typically share in media kits:

1: Email subscribers

I’m happy you have 7.5 million email subscribers but what would be much more helpful is sharing your open and click-thru rates. I realize those are more prized numbers, but they really would help as we make informed decisions (gotta think that would help on the ad side, too). I don’t want to know how many people clicked “sign me up”–I want to know how many people are actually opening your e-newsletter and reading the content each day/week/month.

2: Monthly visitors.

We’re thrilled you have five million monthly visitors to your web site. Really, we are. But, instead, why couldn’t you tell me more about the percentage of traffic that returns to your site. Or, what about time spent on site? Monthly visitors are fine–but I’m looking for data that tells me if people are really reading your content, and if they’re coming back week over week, day over day.

3: Social media follower counts.

We’re ecstatic that your Facebook page has 67 million fans. That’s awesome! However, in today’s internet age, that number is basically useless. Instead, why couldn’t you tell me about the typical engagement rate for a post? Or, what about the percentage of traffic you refer to your web site from Facebook?

Again, media outlets are providing some good information in their media kits. But, for me, I’d just like to see different data. More meaningful statistics. Information I can use to make more informed decisions.

Isn’t that the whole point of the kit?



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