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Meet the Press: Beauty Editors Speak Out

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: October 14, 2008

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More’s Johnson—another beauty editor who conducts desk-side appointments with cosmetic brands’ public relations teams, R&D professionals and other beauty experts—says her editorial information stems from several sources. In addition to daily interviews, she attends product launch events, industry workshops and seminars; she reads press news in print and online; she conducts online reader surveys; she goes undercover in stores to speak with beauty sales teams and observe shoppers; and she gathers reader feedback and suggestions via e-mail. “As beauty director, it’s really all about developing and maintaining strong relationships with PR teams on an ongoing basis—keeping the communication going, even when there is no new product news,” Johnson says. “Those e-mails and phone calls are as essential as vitamins and sunscreen.”

Other than regularly covered sun care and other essential personal care products, Chu says editors also think outside the box and cover other industries—including fashion, the arts, celebrity and pop culture, international and economic news, politics, science and technology.

The Digital World

Another arena appealing to readers involves the expansion of consumer beauty magazines online. In order to engage their expanding multimedia interests, magazine editors have launched more interactive Web sites and reconfigured print content for online use. “They offer two very different experiences, and our readers enjoy both,” says Chu of Marie Claire, who’s Web site attracts 4.5 million page views per month. “Part of that is because we’ve been innovative,” she continues. “For example, we started the ‘Behind the Masthead’ podcast in January 2007. Since its inception, it has had more than three million downloads.”

Product podcasts and blogs, such as “Behind the Masthead” and More magazine’s “The Daily Glow” by Johnson, beauty and fashion director, enable editors to stay current with news and trends even before their print editions hit newsstands. In addition, such expanded Web sites give beauty brands more advertising opportunities and more chances to reach their customers.

Creating synergy between brands, magazines and their readers/consumers is an understated but valuable goal, according to Erick Schonfeld, co-editor of the TechCrunch blog (“The Future of Media,” GroundReport, July 10, 2008). Therefore, Web sites designed for readers to leave comments and discuss products will flourish more than sites without such open forums. “Media today is about a two-way conversation, and people, formerly known as the audience, want to talk back, and sometimes they want to talk with each other more than they want to consume what you’ve written,” Schonfeld says. For magazines that provide such an online outlet in a quick and convenient manner, so much the better. Schonfeld believes these publications are equipped to “stick around longer.”

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