Please welcome to the Editor’s Q&A corner MarieClaire.com Features Editor, Danielle McNally.
Q: Marie Claire magazine is such a well-known publication among women. Tell us about the digital platform you work for, MarieClaire.com.
A: Our website serves as a compliment to the print magazine, but also as its own distinct media destination. We are so much more than a website: MarieClaire.com editors produce original content, including breaking news reporting and longform features, shape the brand’s presence on social media, and are responsible for producing original video, both short-form and mini-documentaries. Through it all, though, we stay true to the Marie Claire ethos, which is that if it matters to women, it’s in Marie Claire. All that is underlined with a chic, sophisticated, yet edgy aesthetic.
Q: As features editor, what does a typical day look like for you?
A: This question is always hard to answer, as it really depends on the news cycle. However, everyday I spend the mornings working from home, drinking coffee and eating breakfast, as I go through the news that has come in overnight and determine whether we want any of our columnists (who I also oversee) to write a response piece. By mid-morning I’ll head to the office and the middle of the day is typically filled with meetings with the art or video teams, discussions about SEO or social strategy, etc. For whatever reason, I tend to feel my strongest ability to focus and really get in the groove in the afternoons, so that’s typically when I’ll edit drafts that have come in from my writers.
Q: What do we need to know about your readers/audience?
A: Marieclaire.com’s audience is savvy, sophisticated, and engaged. They want to know about the latest fashion and beauty trends, which movies and TV shows they should be tuning into, how to have a better sex life, and how to stand up for their rights and improve the lives of women around them. None of those things is any more or less important than the next.
Q: What format do features usually take?
A: “Features” implies a range of types of stories and content. We’ll post op-eds, personal essays, investigative reporting, dissections of social trends, etc. A variety of kinds of stories as well as subject matter is one of the things that I think helps keep us seeming fresh and relevant.
Q: Many of my readers remember the mix as the main point of entry for the Hearst digital publications. What is the best way to pitch marieclaire.com these days?
A: If they are pitching a feature, my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) is just fine. I can’t speak for my colleagues, however.
Q: What are the main topical areas you oversee with features, and are there any particular topics/types of articles you wish you’d get more submissions for?
A: We publish a lot of features on politics, women’s issues, and social justice (so think: reproductive rights, sexual assault, etc.) But we are by no means limited to that. People need some levity in their lives, too, and we’ve published features on the Instagram slime trend, a Weight Watchers cruise, the ballet dancer Melanie Hamrick and more. If it’s happening in our culture, I’m interested in hearing a pitch about it.
Q: For print, I assume a pitch is appropriate. For digital do you prefer a pitch or a complete article be submitted?
A: Pitch please!
Q: What information should a writer include when they email you their pitch in order to make your job easier?
A: Give it a headline, and be sure that your couple of paragraphs (no more, no less) tells me why this story should be told now and why it’s right for marieclaire.com.
Q: Point us to some of your most popular recent pieces so potential writers can get familiar with the tone and format of pieces that do well with your audience.
A: These are a few of my favorite longforms:
And here are a few of my favorite features (formatted slightly differently than longforms):
Q: How quickly do you typically respond to pitches, or is there a timeframe when writers should move on with their piece if they have not heard back?
A: Writers are always free to pitch to multiple outlets when they pitch to me, I just ask that they alert me as soon as a pitch they have sent to me is picked up elsewhere. I think that’s only fair, considering i really cannot give a time-frame for accepting or rejecting a pitch. On average, I’d say, if you haven’t gotten an answer from me in a month, follow-up.
Q: On a personal note, can you share what are you reading currently?
A: I read a lot of fiction in my personal time, since I read so much non-fiction all day at the office. I just finished “The Woman In Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware and am about to start “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne
Q: What’s next for MarieClaire.com?
It’s hard for me to say exactly what’s coming down the pipe for MarieClaire.com, but certainly you’ll be seeing more video, including series.