Why the BusinessWeek Sale Matters for Your PR

George Snell points out quite accurately that for many PR people a hit in BusinessWeek is at the top of their list. It's the kind of thing that impresses your clients, colleagues and bosses. It's what will earn you kudos in company meetings and help you get a prize from the professional PR community.

But the whole organization is worth about $5 million. That's what Bloomberg spent to buy it, though it also took on another $10 million in liabilities. The Wall Street Journal expects Bloomberg to brand the magazine Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Not that you needed more proof of the shrinking of traditional media, but the trick is knowing what a hit in BusinessWeek truly means. It helps in regards to traffic, but it's biggest boost is in credibility. If a BusinessWeek reporter writes about your company it gives you a virtual stamp of approval and it gives you third-party content to send to your community.

Provided you have spent time developing your community.

All that said, Peter Kafka has the memo sent around internally from BusinessWeek Publisher Keith Fox announcing the sale. It contains a rather telling line: "Online, and will have more unique visitors than any non-portal business and financial site."

That's an interesting qualifier, because combined (assuming no overlap) the two sites trail Yahoo Finance significantly.

But for PR people and clients paying them the issue is much more tactical. Opportunities in BusinessWeek take time to develop and require quite a bit of work on behalf of both the client and the PR person. A PR person's time is what costs money. Getting a one-off hit is fine, but if you're not prepared to take advantage of that hit, then how much is it really worth to your PR and marketing campaign?

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3 comments to Why the BusinessWeek Sale Matters for Your PR

  • Hi Chuck:
    We recently pitched a technology client for new business. They had just made the biggest sale in the company’s history – a sale that was going to put it on the path to profitability. Game changer stuff. When I asked the CEO about the origin of the sale, he said it was due to a BusinessWeek story. The customer read the piece, picked up the phone and called him. That was the start of this multimillion dollar sale.

    That’s the impact that a BusinessWeek story could bring to a client. Hard to believe that this once storied magazine is now selling for less than the annual salary of a middle reliever. Strange times, indeed!

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the comment! Certainly strange times. And yes, I agree that BusinessWeek can be a powerful driver for prospects.

    But I also know of companies, like one in the construction space, who build regular streams of prospects (and sales) simply through being active on Twitter and LinkedIn.

    So you never know where those sales will originate. I think for most companies, though, BusinessWeek is a great third-party validation, but won’t necessarily lead directly to a sale.

  • BusinessWeek has shrunk so much in recent years that it almost disappeared. Likewise, it’s stories have become more strained and off-the-mark. It’s a great brand that perhaps Bloomberg can revitalize. BusinessWeek is important in other ways. For instance, company news and background info on LinkedIn relies on BusinessWeek as one of its sources. So now Bloomberg and BusinessWeek combined aim to trump as the most prevalent business source on the web? Well, Bloomberg did not become Bloomberg because it failed to think BIG.