You only have to sashay into any large bookstore or newspaper stand to see the overwhelming abundance of Internet-related magazines currently available. When sending your press release or promotional information to a magazine, bear in mind that you are contacting journalists who are probably overworked. Therefore, you will score big points if they get the impression you want to make their job easier. Take the time to buy the magazine, tear off the plastic wrap, throw out the AOL or GNN disc, and look through to get a sense of the magazine's tone and style. Which columns or writers look like they might cover your site? You'll stand a better chance of success if you contact those relevant sources directly.
Magazines fall into two broad categories: those that cover the Internet, and those that target specific subjects that are similar to your site. Keep both types in mind when developing your campaign.
Yahoo's listing of Internet-related magazines http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_ Internet/Internet/News_and_Media/ Magazines/ provides a good starting point for building a slate of potential targets. I discuss some of the more popular Internet magazines below; if you can get your URL mentioned favorably in any of these, your server is sure to get hot for a while. However, some of the lesser-known magazines, while yielding fewer hits, may be easier to get your site address into.
Not surprisingly, all of these magazines have associated Web sites; sometimes they are so associated that one may have a difficult time determining where the print magazine ends and an online version starts.
Internet World http://www.iw.com, an established, authoritative magazine for Internet users, includes Web sites in some of its stories but is far from a URL-every-other-line grab bag. As the magazine puts it, "We rarely if ever review Web sites. Occasionally one will be mentioned in the Surfboard section if it's particularly offbeat. Most of the time, however, sites are mentioned in the context of an article, not as a standalone review."
Hearing that statement, one may think that Internet World doesn't seek site information. Quite the opposite is true, and the magazine should be applauded for their sensible, honest, and straightforward approach to helping promoters contact them. Visit Internet World's Editorial Calendar page at http://www.iw.com/print/edcal.html. There you'll find some salient points on how you can put your best foot forward with your press release. More important, this page lists the topics covered in upcoming issues (up to six months out) and which editor to contact. Very elegant and worth a monthly check.
NetGuide http://techWeb.cmp.com/ng/home/main/ covers a wide range of Web issues for designers, surfers, managers, lurkers, you name it. More effusive with subject matter and URLs than Internet World, NetGuide covers the breadth of Web issues, from HTML tips to financial sites to modems. If you don't know where your URL should go in the magazine, send your press release to email@example.com. But first you should visit the site's review FAQs at http://www.netguide.com/aboutus/ aboutreviews.html.
NetGuide's Maximum Impact section, to which a number of their editors contribute, looks at a variety of sites and the people behind them. This isn't just a surf column, but more of an in-depth investigation of a site's essence: who's behind it, why it exists, and who the typical visitor is. If Maximum Impact seems right for you, try contacting one of the senior editors.
Yahoo! Internet Life
Yahoo! Internet Life http://www.yil.com wants to give you the impression that they are Wired put out by high school students, but, in reality, this magazine has a good deal of content. Neither the editorial staff nor the writers take themselves too seriously, and you can hardly turn a page without tripping over a passel of URLs. Such a rich profusion of site references makes finding the right editor important. Browse through the magazine, see which columnist might be interested in your site, and send that person a note. The staff list is available at http://www.zdnet.com/yil/content/misc/staff.html.
Wired http://www.hotwired.com/wired, the premier magazine covering the Internet, will be a long shot for most sites, but you never know. Wired sprinkles a few URLs in its feature articles, but the nuggets increase substantially in the Street Cred and Net Surf sections.
Street Cred singles out notable books, music, and Web sites for capsule reviews. Where appropriate, Street Cred lists a URL at the bottom of an article. If you want to be considered for inclusion in Street Cred, send your press release or other submission material to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Net Surf (which usually follows Street Cred) includes a jumble of sites and Web explorations sometimes loosely tied together by a common theme. Featured sites are given a short review.
Wired hangs its online hat as one of the many sections of hotwired.com. HotWired provides a robust selection of useful tools, information, and entertainment for the Web surfer; however, there's a dearth of information on submissions and staff at the printed magazine. For a magazine extolling the virtues of online-ness, this lack of online contact information seems peculiar.
The periodicals that furnish you with the most visitors may not be those devoted to the Web. As long as your site has fairly specific subject matter, and magazines and journals exist that target the subject, you have a great Web-independent opportunity to develop hits.
Don't let the brevity of this section fool you. Magazines and journals targeted to your audience can be the source of a server-jamming quantity of visits. Each individual site will need to approach its own targeted periodicals, so I will simply give you some general tips; you must then go out and develop your own pool of sources.
Your home brewing site may be ho-hum for the editors of Internet World, but the editor of American Brewing might be interested in giving some space to a reviewwhich will be read by exactly the audience you want to reach. Trade magazines, in particular, can be a great source of visits, because they are often on the hunt for material. If your industry or field doesn't yet have too many participants with their own Web sites, trade magazines may be overjoyed to feature you in an article, column, or editorial. For these magazines you should probably contact editors or columnists directly and try to establish a personal rapport. At the least, send them a press release.
In that same vein, specialty magazines and journals can provide a great return on investment for your advertising dollar. The relatively low cost of the ad and the appropriateness of the audience make a combination that's often impossible to beat. Be sure to run your telephone number in small ads, because some people still exist who will wonder what that funny www. thing is. (For a discussion of online advertising, see Chapters 8 through 10.)