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Good media relations can often go hand in hand with advertising campaigns and ad placement.

Media Relations Interview Questions

Publicity and Ad Responses

  • Have you published all of our news releases? (This assumes that the releases are relevant and timely.)
  • What have the responses or clickthroughs for our ads and releases been?

Publication Slant

  • Do you have any marketing success stories to tell? Any failures?
  • What ad received the highest response? What news release? Why do you feel they were successful?
  • Which ads and releases received the poorest readership? Reason?
  • Which ad received the highest readership? (This comes from readership reports that some publishers may perform. Most don't.)
  • What was the most popular article written last year? The worst?
  • What trends are there in the industry?
  • What are your publication's relations with industry associations and/or trade shows put on by them or other promoters?
  • Does your publication put on any seminars or local area table top shows? Can our client participate?
  • Do you publish an index?
  • How much have you covered of our industry verses the other publications?


  • What percentage of your circulation is paid and what is controlled? (Free circulation to qualified industry people who have returned a signed request.)
  • How long has it been since you received your current circulation's subscription requests? (The majority should be one year.)
  • Do you have any rotating circulation? (This is a pool of possible readers which the publisher will choose from to fill out his circulation. If the pool is 100,000 and the publisher uses 20,000 per issue it will take 5 issues to start the cycle over again.)
  • Alliance for Audited Media and Business Publication Audit Worldwide audits are used to verify media circulation and readership. Audits cost the publication approximately $25,000 (for a 40,000 circ. title) and are a minimum requirement for purchasing space. If no audit is available the second best circulation verification is post office records.

Rate Negotiation

  • Most publications will let you use the previous year's rate card if you keep your current frequency. You can use some 1/4 page ads to help reduce your budget and still get the frequency discount.
    Try asking for an additional frequency discount, "Just because you deserve it!"
  • Are their ad pages up or down? How does that compare with their competition?
  • What is the editorial to ad ratio? (60/40 is the requirement for 2nd class postage.)
How To Realign Your Marketing Communications with Sales

Value Added Services

  • Publications will do various marketing services for you based on expenditures. Services can be frequency discounts, mail out surveys, benchmark studies and ad studies but you have to publish in those issues and/or commit to a larger program. Usually if you advertise at least three times a year you can get a respondent satisfaction survey. Or if you go from a 3 to a 6 time frequency you can get a before and after benchmark study of your awareness. Here is a list of the most popular:
  • Inquiry follow-up survey. They mail a survey to your responses and ask if they received the information requested. This is a way to check up on your reps if you just turn the responses over to them. Of course this doesn't help with the reps that refuse to follow up on leads and circular file them.
  • Benchmark studies. The publication will survey their readers on an nth name basis to determine your buying preference. Then after you have published a major increase in advertising with them do a follow-up survey to determine your increase in awareness.
  • Share of mind surveys.
  • Send the publication to about 100 of your customers with a personal note from the editor. Good for issues you have helped write. This helps them increase circulation and gets your article read.
  • Free equal page of editorial for each ad placed
  • 2 for 1. Free ad in another issue for each placed.
  • Free 1/6th page ad in the back of the book for each one page ad placed. These are good for wear parts sales of distribution of catalogs.


  • What other books have you published to educate new employees in the industry?
  • Have you published a handbook or a history of the industry?
  • When was the last time you published an anniversary issue?


  • The industry is made up of several types of people, some read publications, some go to shows, some go to special industry schools and some just do it.
  • What schools serve the industry best?
  • Do you publish regional or job title specific issues?
  • One of the best ways to learn about an industry is to go on sales calls with manufacturers or service providers. What experiences can you share?


  • What percentage of your revenue comes from your digital publications?
  • We feel that educational material, building codes, state standards or handbooks are the most popular.
  • We would like to have a hot link from your site but would only be willing to pay about $300-500/year.

How can we help?

  • What feature articles would you like and what would its slant be?
  • Would you like a tour of the facility?
  • What can we do to help you?