Many magazines develop franchise issues or stories that act as editorial anchor points and help drive ad sales. And like those same many magazines, Kathy Andrew, marketing manager for finance magazines Alpha and Institutional Investor, had limited resources to roll out big PR campaigns every time the magazines featured prominent editorial.

Yet, for Alpha’s annual list of the highest paid hedge fund managers, a simple e-mail notification to media outlets, and the subsequent coverage, yielded a 206 percent increase in Web-based subscriptions. And not just for the three-month trial subscription;89 percent were for the full year.

"One week prior to the release on the Web site I ran a PR campaign that consisted of a ムteaser’ release to reporters in our internal database," says Andrew. "I spent the next three days fielding calls from journalists all over the financial spectrum and was able to get the New York Times and Financial Times to run stories on the day of the release."

Andrew notes that the teaser, sent to select outlets prior to the official news release, gave journalists the chance to break the story themselves. "If I hadn’t sent before the release, the papers wouldn’t have felt like they could break it, she says. "The last thing they want to do is source FT or the Times."

From there, it was about being prepared. Andrew made sure the Web site was ready for the incoming traffic from the other outlets. Specific banner house ads were developed to promote the story and subscription offers. Since most of the magazine content is behind a subscription wall, Andrew created a beefed up landing page for the hedge fund story. More copy than normal was previewed on the page, which helped facilitate links from the papers which don’t normally link to password protected stories. Copious directions on how to subscribe were also provided online.

After the external coverage hit, Alpha, a weekly, had a 206 percent increase in subscriptions after the first week, a 71 percent increase in week two, and a 73 percent increase in week three. "Only 11 percent of the Web subscriptions were the 30-day trial period," says Andrew. "I thought this would be a higher percentage and was encouraged to see that prospects saw the value of a full-year subscription."

Andrew adds that the number of subscriptions generated from the coverage that resulted from the one press release teaser surpassed what a $30,000-$40,000 direct mail campaign would have produced.

An added bonus is the sales team has even more ammunition to take to advertisers. "Now ad sales has a great PDF put together and they can go to advertisers and say, ムLook at all the noise we made last year, we’re going to make it again this year,’" Andrew says.