Louisa Austin combines her journalism skills with her passion for beauty and make up with her online magazine MakeUpTrends. Read on to feel pretty, and witty, and bright…
About the publication:
What was the inspiration for starting the magazine/website?
I always wanted to have a publication that was my own, and my number one passion is beauty and make up. I decided to combine my journalism skills with my passion and create MakeUpTrends. I went for an online magazine as opposed to print as I wanted to target women aged 18 to 55 and felt the internet was probably the best platform.
What kind of reader are you hoping to draw?
It is a site predominantly for women (although men are very welcome to take a look!) and is targeted at the 18 to 55 age group. Readers will be interested in unbiased reviews of the latest products and daily updates about product launches and goings-on in the industry.
What subjects and stories are you most interested in covering?
As mentioned above, I cover reviews and news of all aspects of make up and beauty. I also write a featured post regularly which tackles serious subjects such as scarring and skin cancer, etc. Anyone who has a story to tell would be more than welcome to contact me.
What will make your outlet different from the others in your sector?
It is completely unbiased and so is not influenced at all by advertising and free products. Readers know that what is posted on the site can be completely trusted. I also combine a magazine format with a blog style of writing.
How will you decide the features, news stories and interview subjects?
Anything that inspires me on a day-to-day basis. I listen to friends chatting, see what people are talking about on Facebook and twitter, get ideas from emails readers send to me and, of course, PRs.
Will you plan any features far in advance?
Some features I do plan far in advance and have an idea of when they will appear. This is the case for my featured posts which, as I mentioned, normally have a more serious note about them. However, day-to-day posts are usually written the day they are posted or a couple of days before.
About you and freelance journalists:
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists?
I don’t at the moment but may consider it in the future. However, I would love to encourage guest posts so if anyone would like promote their blog or website let me know and we can sort something out!
Do you work closely with PRs or do you keep them at arm’s length?
I work closely with them and prefer it that way. As a new publication they can save my skin sometimes and many of them have given me great ideas for posts.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
I am happy with the way PRs deal with me and at the moment wouldn’t change a thing! Actually, there is one thing. Some aren’t as into social networking as I would like them to be. A mention on twitter can do great things!
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Just pop me over an email and we can go from there.
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Sometimes PRs send me something that gives me an idea for something else and so everything is useful in some way or another.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
Something you realise when you are freelance or work on your own business from home is that you are never off-duty so regarding emails, send them over whenever. I know quite a few PRs who work in the evenings and that’s fine.
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
A typical day comprises of being woken up by Smudge and Fudge (pussy cats) at about 7.45. I then have a shower, decide I can’t stomach breakfast yet and sit down in my office. I go through all my emails, which can take a while even though I only checked them before I went to bed the previous day. I then check
Facebook and Twitter (and The Daily Mail, ssshhhh) and plan my posts. Posts can take from half an hour to a couple of hours to write and I normally have an argument with Photoshop during this time. I also do quite a bit of guest posting on other sites and freelance work. It all helps raise the profile.
What interests you most about your job so far?
Well, I love make up and beauty and so writing all day long about anything and everything to do with that is great. I also love reviewing products because if I find a good product I know it be beneficial to tell everyone about it. I also think it is important to highlight products which I am not impressed with so people can be educated before they spend any money. However, I do always make it clear that it is just one person’s opinion…
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I have worked and still do for the Champion Media Group based in Southport. They publish local papers and a glossy lifestyle magazine called Gr8life which I edit alongside MakeUpTrends. They have been extremely supportive of my venture and I honestly don’t think you could find better a company to work for. I am very lucky!
Do you tweet? Why, why not?
Until about a year ago I was a Facebook addict but couldn’t really get into tweeting. Then I realized when I started the website that it may be beneficial to me and am glued to it now! It’s invaluable when it comes to promoting something and has changed the face of PR. One little tweet by someone in-the-know can do wonders for a business or product.
If you could time travel what time would you go to?
I would go to around 2040. I am always wondering what the publishing world will look like in 30 years time. Will there be no print publications as predicted or will print surprise everyone and ride out the rather stormy outlook it has at the moment? I also want to know if there will be a new Facebook and Twitter doing the rounds – what will social networking look like then? The mind boggles…