How To Pitch To The FT Weekend Magazine

FT Weekend Magazine November 16, 2012

The Financial Times is ‘one of the world’s leading business news and information organisations,’ recognised for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The prestigious Global Capital Markets Survey considers The FT as one of the most important business reads, with a reach of 33% of the most senior corporate and financial decision-makers surveyed in the world’s largest companies.

Total circulation for The FT stands at 600,000. This includes 313,000 paid digital subscribers who get access to premium content that sits behind a paywall.

Every Saturday though the newspaper publishes it’s FT Weekend Magazine. This glossy supplement has a very different style than the weekday FT.

The CIPR Greater London Group had the privilege recently of hosting a breakfast with the Magazine Editor Sue Matthias (@suematthias), her deputy Alice Fishburn (@AliceFishburn), as well as Associate Editors Natalie Whittle (@NatalieWhittle) and Sue Norris.

We wanted to know the workings of The FT Weekend Magazine and the Do’s and Don’ts when pitching to a supplement that reaches influential high-net-worth audience.

Speaking at the meeting, Sue Matthias reminded us that her magazine has a very different audience to the newspaper. It is not a business magazine. And to confirm this fact, Sue highlighted that 70 per cent of FT Weekend Magazine readers do not buy the FT on Monday to Friday.

Audience demographics for the magazine tell us that readers are aged in the late 30s to early 40s and are split evenly between men and women.

Reading The FT

Unlike the newspaper online, the magazine DOES NOT sit behind a paywall. Content is available openly to everyone that logs on. This generates a ‘second life’ for content that has already appeared in print.

The magazine presents content in a reportage style, focusing on features and investigations. Pictures and other visuals are very important.

Feature lengths vary between 1,200 and 4,000 words and have lead times of between 1/2 months to a few days.

The working week for the magazine starts on Wednesday afternoon, just after they have put the coming weekend issue to bed.

Sue advised PRs that the best time to contact The FT Magazine team is on a Thursday or Friday. Between Monday and Wednesday you are more than likely to be ignored.

Matthias prefers approaches via email and NOT via phone. Equally, and with The FT being an international title with regional online editions, remember to establish a relationship with your closest FT bureau, let it be in Singapore, Beijing, New York or San Francisco. If you are based outside of the UK then pitch to them as the magazine team keeps in touch with the FT’s foreign bureaus.

Sue’s top three tips when pitching to The FT Weekend Magazine:

  1. Know The FT Weekend Magazine and the section to which you are pitching. There needs to be a connection. And keep the feature idea broad, relevant and flexible. If they like it they, then be prepared for your concept to be restructured.
  2. Be aware of times and deadlines. Pitch with as much notice as possible.
  3. When selling-in, only do so via email. And remember to have an eye-catching subject. Then wait. DO NOT follow up with a phone call. Let them come back to you.

Remember that with content online the FT Magazine will very rarely (read NOT) include linkbacks to clients. So don’t ask for this.

For many PRs The Financial Times Weekend Magazine is an aspirational title. But getting in the magazine is not about the PR, it is about the magazine. If it’s good enough for them then it is great for you. Simple advice.



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