How to Pitch a Story or Guest Column to Seattle Business

December 30, 2009By Seattle Business Magazine

1. AUDIENCE: Seattle Business Magazine has thousands of readers. Most are business, health care and nonprofit executives living in Washington state. They tend to have high incomes and are involved in important business decisions. They look to Seattle Business magazine for perspective on business and economics in Washington state. We do not cover companies headquartered out of state unless they have a major presence here.

2. THE BUSINESSES WE COVER: Although we focus on companies that have at least several million dollars in annual sales, we make an exception for startups or other companies that have significant growth potential. We will also consider smaller companies that may have a larger impact on the business environment or represent a larger trend.

3. STORIES WITH LEGS: Magazines operate on long lead times. We typically require a story to be delivered to us two full months before the issue comes out. And once out, magazines tend to be passed around for months afterward. That means it’s critical to pitch a story that has a long shelf life. The story should still be relevant months after it is written. When you are pitching a story, think about what our readers will be interested in three to four months out. Consider changes that might take place in the industry and make sure the story is written in a way that prevents it from being overtaken by events.

4. STORY IDEAS: We are always interested in stories about why particular companies have succeeded or failed. That’s our bread and butter. But there are an endless number of other ways to approach business stories:

  • Find a national trend and look for its counterpart in the local scene. That applies to everything from health care reform to stimulus spending and changing labor trends.
  • Be the first to identify a trend. With fewer journalists covering business, there are more opportunities to be the first to identify new trends. There are lots of people blogging about daily events. Fewer people are taking a step back and looking at the broader trends.
  • Make sure you answer the “Why?” and the “Who Cares?” question. Is the company offering a new product that will change the world, a new approach to distribution or a more efficient way of managing a process?

5. READ THE MAGAZINE: Each section of our magazine takes different kinds of stories with different length. Your story has a better chance of being accepted if it is targeted at a particular section. If you are a manager or business professional, you can get a free subscription by filling out the subscription form here.

Startup: This section leads our magazine. It includes numerous shorter pieces including the following:

  • BRIGHT IDEA: A story about a company with an innovative technology or business idea. These companies are often startup companies. We are looking for ideas that are fresh or have the potential to introduce major changes in an industry.
  • EXECUTIVE MOVES: Recent hires, promotions, resignations or firings. We usually look for C-level changes at companies.
  • SPOTLIGHT: A profile of a company of recent interest.
  • ON REFLECTION: An analytical story that discusses a recent trend.


Our Department stories focus on specific sectors of the Washington state economy. They include, but are not limited to, health care, technology, human resources, finance, manufacturing, green business, real estate, law and media. These can be narrow stories or industry trends, but they tend to be relatively narrowly focused.


Our feature well includes major trend stories, profiles of important people or corporate strategy pieces. These stories tend to have a broader focus. We typically run two to three feature stories per month, of which one is our cover story.

Guest Columns

Anybody who has expertise in a particular field can submit a guest column for our Commentary page. You can send a completed commentary or short pitch via our contact page. The columns should be about 700 words long. Columns that are timely will be given preference. Columns that appear to be written to promote a particular company or product will not be accepted. Seattle Business does not pay for the columns. Nor does it charge for them. We reserve the right to use any guest column sent to us on our website and or in our magazine. Commentaries are essays that address an issue of broad interest to our business readers in Washington state. They can be about government policy, trends in business or social changes that affect business. We are looking for fresh analysis. We encourage essays that are provocative provided they are well argued. Here is an example of a well-written commentary.