Deanne Hess Kaczerski – Web Director, Marie Claire & RealBeauty.com
The flexibility and ever-changing face of the digital space can be daunting for any print magazine to navigate on a daily basis. But for new Marie ClaireWeb director, Deanne Hess Kaczerski, the constant challenges are worth being on the forefront of the continuing digital revolution.
Before Hess Kaczerski was added as Web director to Marie Claire this month, she served as Web director for ELLE.com and RealBeauty.com. In her position, she will retain her duties with RealBeauty.com. She is expectedly ecstatic about expanding her responsibilities across conventional staples of the print realm, particularly about helping any way she can in cultivating a broader online audience.
“I’m beyond excited to join the Marie Claire team and help the amazing print staff achieve their vision for the magazine, online,” she said.
Marie Claire is a time-honored brand with a reputation as impressive as its continued longevity in the cut-throat magazine industry. In her first year, Hess Kaczerski plans to increase unique visitor growth, along with page views. This, in turn, will aggregate an online following to match the already loyal print following.
“I want to bring the new vision of the magazine to life online. And by doing so, create new audiences that will not only become loyal users, but also loyal subscribers.”
Focusing on the digital space can be very demanding due to the constant push for continuous content. But this is precisely the type of environment that Hess Kaczerski has thrived in throughout her career at Hearst. She does not subscribe to the print versus digital rivalry that has plagued the industry. Instead, she believes that when all facets of media at an outlet are designed to complement and congeal with one another, both the brand and content, flourish.
“We, as an industry, need to move away from the digital vs. print…I think in order for a brand to succeed, the print, digital, mobile, tablet, etc., components need to be in sync.”
With this in mind, her advice for anyone entering the field of journalism is to learn as much as possible about the digital side. This will increase a journalist’s overall value to a publication and help solidify status as a valuable member of a team, for both print and digital mediums.
“When you have some downtime after an issue closes, you can also help out your digital counterparts – they will appreciate it tremendously!”
As for being a team leader, Hess Kaczerski recognizes that one of the most important lessons a journalist can learn is how to admit when a mistake has been made. “Humility can be a tough pill to swallow,” she said. “But in the digital age, things happen so quickly, sometimes mistakes are made.”
While the “sorry to inform you” email is difficult to write, owning up to errors will help professionally in the long run.
“You never want to be that person that constantly passes the blame, this is especially true when you manage a team.”
The speed with which news is reported is undoubtedly the most drastic change Hess Kaczerski has seen across her field. “Everyone is reporting news now, especially on Twitter,” she said.
With a flooding of information being made available before all sources can be checked, the responsibility is placed on journalists for accuracy and it’s important to be wary of any information they read or receive.
Hess Kaczerski referenced an age-old adage, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The influence journalists wield can shape the audience’s image of a brand, which stresses the necessity of being right versus being first. Checking sources might be the most basic rule of journalism, but it’s important not to underestimate why it’s necessary.
“It’s Journalism 101. Unless an outlet is tagging something exclusive, if only one source is reporting something huge, it may not be correct.”
On the crest of the digital wave, content is king and managing that content is no simple task for any print magazine. Once only available to print subscribers, large publications like Marie Claire are on the forefront of delivering premium content to an audience that’s always eager for more.
Hess Kaczerski said email is always the best way to receive pitches.
An important element of what content is selected, is if the story pitch is on brand. “I receive pitches all the time without a thought about the brand or its users,” she said. “The difference between me deleting an email versus reading one and accepting the pitch is simple – It must be on brand and relevant to the Marie Claire reader.”
“The best way to get your pitch read is to tailor it to my audience. Know who the Marie Claire audience is and how your pitch would affect them in their everyday lives,” she explained.
“It is extremely helpful to receive pitches with an opening sentence directly referencing how this new product/tip/etc. affects my audience,” she said.
When pitching, it’s fine to send a follow-up email if nothing is received within a few days, it’s possible it has been caught up by a spam folder.
Hess Kaczerski is available on Twitter at @deanneology.
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