Media Interview with Bernadette Fallon, editor of All About You
All About You lovingly compiles content from Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Prima, House Beautiful, Coast, and Bella to bring its devoted readers (and casual browsers) the best of each magazine, online. Editor Bernadette Fallon works with the creative bunch over at Hearst to do this, getting hands-on, sharing ideas and working hard. But does she ever get time for lunch? And will I ever get 'It's All About You' by McFly out of my head?
About All About You
How would you describe the audience for All About You? As it covers content from a number of magazines (Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Prima, House Beautiful and Coast) is there a real mixture of women that visit the site?
Yes, we have readers from all of the magazines we work with – this has recently been expanded to include Best magazine and its 300,000 readers – and also, of course, people who don’t always read magazines but are online browsers. Our audience is united by their love of food, recipes and cooking, pride in their homes, interest in health, diet and fitness, love of good fashion and hard-working beauty products. They are a creative bunch – the craft channel on All About You is consistently our most popular – and love a good holiday, spa break or just getting into the great outdoors. Which is why they come to All About You.
Do you have a personal favourite out of the five magazines, or are they like children you can’t choose between?
I love them all equally!
Do you work closely with the other editors at Hearst?
Yes. All About You is a rather unique product at Hearst; we work across so many print titles and I deal with not only print editors, but entire magazine teams. The web editors at Hearst work closely together as well, which might surprise people – it’s not all about trying to keep your next great idea a secret; we are very much into sharing ideas and insights so we all can benefit.
All About You interacts with its audience; do you find social media useful?
Yes; it’s not really an option to ignore social media these days – it’s a bit like breathing, really.
About you and freelance journalists
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists?
Yes, we commission freelance articles across all of our channels, though budgets vary by topic – we don’t have a huge budget for our travel channel, for example.
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
Yes, writers are quite welcome to contact me directly with a brief synopsis of their idea. It will then be forwarded to the relevant channel editor, who will make the commissioning decision.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
The ability to write for the All About You audience in a style that requires minimal editing, and to produce copy quickly and efficiently.
If you can, tell us about the best approach you've seen from a freelance…and the worst…
The best is always a concise email, with attached samples of work if it’s a first pitch. I suppose the worst is always when somebody is mad keen to contribute something to a channel we don’t have…
Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
We work closely with many PRs, as keeping up-to-date with new developments and launches is key for several of our channels.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
There really is no need to make repeated phone calls to check if we received a press release; it could save you a lot of time. If we like it, rest assured we will get back to you – and if we don’t, no amount of phone calls will change that, unfortunately.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
First by email, or with an invite to an event or press launch where relevant.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
New products, experts for comment.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you, and what is your deadline for contributions?
We publish daily; contact anytime by email.
Describe a typical day at work on All About You: What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
The role of a web editor is very hands-on. Not only do I plan, commission, sub and write features, I also source pictures, build web pages, update home pages, post in the forums, blog and do the million other things that go into keeping a site up to date and immediate. I also work closely with our commercial, production, traffic, marketing, e-commerce and magazine teams to make sure all parts of the website are performing well. I meet with PRs to find out about new products, attend press shows and launches, discuss new opportunities and – occasionally – get to eat lunch!
What interests you most about your job?
The pace, variety and evolving nature of digital publishing – it’s such a new and fast industry; there are constantly new developments to keep up with. It’s never ever dull.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I’m from Ireland and I started off as a freelance journalist there, writing arts and lifestyle features and columns for newspapers. Then I moved into radio and had my own arts show, launched and edited a glossy Irish take on Time Out magazine, before moving to London to work in online journalism.
Do you have a mantra or motto you live by?
If you had to choose a theme song for yourself, what would it be?
Now we've learnt all about Bernadette's work, it's all about you! You can head over to the website here.