As an SME PR agency that works with companies that sell to small businesses, we regularly deal with the magazines that SMEs love to read and follow. This means we’ve learned a lot about what the UK’s top SME publications need, and how best to work with them. Here’s everything you need to know about the UK’s SME publications.
The SME trades
Business owners look to Business Matters for its coverage, analysis, and interviews with key tastemakers and leading entrepreneurs in UK small- and medium-sized businesses. The title has some of the highest-profile business leaders as columnists and regularly offers “getting to know you” profile features.
Journalists at the title report to editor Paul Jones. The team is currently working remotely, and they expect this to continue for some time. Notably, Business Matters also has strong, high-engagement social profiles on Twitter and Facebook. The monthly printed publication has a readership of over 200,000, and the website attracts over one million unique visitors every month.
Real Business is among the most respected SME publications, and it claims to be the UK’s most-read content brand among people starting, running, and growing a business. The reporters at RB have been great to us over the years, and they’re always happy to hear from companies that have useful insights and data. We have also found that editor Praseeda Nair encourages her team to attend networking events where they can engage with business owners directly.
Due to current demand, there are longer lead times for bylines and opinion articles. If you secure an opportunity and send Real Business your content, it may be a few months before it goes public. The small team is willing to make exceptions for articles hooked to a key date.
Every B2B organisation wants to be published in Management Today, and it’s not hard to see why. The outlet focuses on four key areas: business news analysis, management advice and techniques, the latest management thinking, and the lighter side of business. Since 1966, MT has championed British businesses and published writing from company leaders, senior directors, entrepreneurs and ambitious executives.
The team at MT is also known for its conferences which take place throughout the year. The conferences host high-calibre speakers, including the CEOs of organisations such as McDonald’s, Capita, Hill and Knowlton, Bentley Motors, EON and many more.
MT reaches an average monthly audience of 135,000, including 81,000 unique monthly users. While these numbers may seem smaller than other SME publications, MT notes that 81% of its readers are senior managers and above, and 40,000 have signed up to the weekly bulletin – so it’s a more engaged and more senior audience than most.
As with most of the top SME publications, this one does what it says on the tin: it publishes stories about businesspeople at the top of their game. Journalists at Elite Business are keen to hear from business owners doing interesting things, so reach out to Latifa Yedroudj, who leads on most of the reporting. The publication is quite adamant that they are not interested in inconsequential developments like new websites, minor charity activities and me-too “innovations,” so think before you pitch your story.
If you type “SME business news” into Google, this site will be on page one. SME Magazine collates content from around the web that the editors think entrepreneurs and CEOs need to see. SME Magazine aims to keep readers informed about the latest trends and developments in business and the economy by providing thorough case studies. Richard Burton leads the team at SME and writes many articles every month.
SmallBusiness.co.uk is a popular site among entrepreneurs and startups. The team covers news and features on starting, financing, and running a small business, as well as hosting a popular podcast series called Small Business Snippets. To get on the podcast with host Anna Jordan, you need to be the founder of a successful British company.
The BBC may not be the first thing that leaps to mind when you think “SME publications,” but it has several business-focused features, including The Boss profile slot. Landing a spot with a BBC property is the white whale for many PR people – but it’s easier than you might imagine.
We have found success speaking with Will Smale, who runs the site’s entrepreneurship features – he even offered comment for our article on how to write a press release. We have also managed to place a client for a profile in The Boss by speaking with Jeremy Howell. He’s interested in the story and lessons that business leaders can offer rather than the product they’re selling, but if your business’s leader has an interesting background, drop Jeremy a line.
BBC Radio 5’s Wake Up to Money
In addition to the BBC’s online offering, the radio programme Wake Up to Money is a great target for SMEs. The show reaches over five million listeners every weekday morning. Sara Wadeson, based in the BBC’s Salford office, is responsible for business planning for the programme. We have found that guests can interview for the programme remotely from anywhere in the country, and in some rare cases they will even permit pre-recorded interviews.
Getting your business mentioned in the paper of record is an excellent way to establish legitimacy and attract attention. We recommend reaching out to James Hurley, the enterprise editor, since he edits the Working Life column and the enterprise pages. To get an idea of what he’s interested in, check out his Twitter profile – he’s very active and always taking part in business-related discussions.
The Financial Times
Pilita Clark’s weekly opinion business column in the FT covers all aspects of modern corporate life, and she has been known to write about SMEs on occasion. Pilita’s articles always garner a lot of engagement, so getting a mention is an ideal way of becoming part of the conversation.
Andrew Bounds is another influential journalist at the FT. He is the North of England correspondent and Enterprise editor. He is one of the busiest journalists out there so securing interviews for a CEO is tough. As he put it, “I am always polite, but I can rarely say yes – sorry!”
Whereas the business segments on Channel 4 or ITV are relatively short, Sky is known for its in-depth coverage of business in general and SMEs in particular. Sky’s business producer John-Paul Ford Rojas is the person to talk to if you’re looking to get featured. He says that “there is no magic formula for what’s going to work” when it comes to getting on the channel. “The key is tone. I like people who are interesting and tell their story well.”
Freelancers and social media
Susie Bearne is arguably one of the best in the business. She contributes to the BBC and The Guardian, among others, and edits features and commissions articles. Susie also runs a successful consultancy business, including the popular course “Lessons From a Journalist: How to Secure Press Coverage.” We have found that a good back story is the key to success with Susie – for inspiration, check out her BBC coverage of Ben Francis, the founder of Gym Shark.
Lucy Douglas is a great freelance journalist whose writing has appeared in The Guardian, Telegraph, Courier and various B2B and SME publications. As a freelancer, Lucy covers small business, startups and entrepreneurship, as well as lifestyle features on beauty, spas and travel. She has a particular interest in responsible business. Lucy has a strong Twitter presence over at @lucydougtweets.
Jon Card is an accomplished freelance journalist specialising in business, technology, media and politics. He has written for The Guardian, Elite Business and others, as well as authoring a book on the subject called “How to Make your Company Famous”. Jon is active on Twitter and will regularly retweet posts with important information for SME owners.
Emma Sheppard, is a freelance business journalist for several major outlets, including Wired, Sifted and The Guardian, among plenty of others. She accepts pitches by email or DM. She has written a plethora of fantastic articles on running a small business, the SME sector and the workplace. She is based in London and has recently launched a small business of her own, a cool riverside brewery.
Rebecca Burn-Callander is a well-known business journalist with vast experience covering small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is the former enterprise editor of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and she has also worked as an editor at both Real Business Magazine and Management Today. As well as writing for various online and print publications, Rebecca provides commentary for TV and radio, appearing on BBC Radio 4, Share Radio, Sky News, Channel 4. She also speaks regularly at small business events across the country, including the Telegraph’s annual conference, The Festival of Business, and has recently launched her own podcast aimed at small business owners.
Dealing with journalists is a skill that you can learn. It might seem intimidating at first, but remember that they are just people, and usually very busy ones. If you put in the time and effort to build relationships with these SME publications, you will be rewarded with media coverage, brand profile, and links to your website. It’s worth the investment.
And if you need help getting your SME PR strategy off the ground, then contact us for an informal chat about what you need – we might be able to help you, or we can point you in the right direction if we can’t.