Katherine Lalancette – Beauty Director, LOULOU
Covering the same topics day in and day out can wear down a journalist’s sense of excitement and enthusiasm about their work. This is a problem most people encounter after a given amount of time working on similar projects. That is why Katherine Lalancette, new beauty director of LOULOU, makes it a priority to find unique approaches to well-tread topics to keep content fresh and entertaining.
Before Lalancette was promoted to beauty director at LOULOU this month, she was beauty editor, but her relationship with the magazine began more than four years ago. She worked on translations and data entry when she first joined LOULOU and has come a long way since then. She is ecstatic about facing new challenges that come along with overseeing an entire magazine section.
She credits Michelle Richardson of The Gazette in Montreal for providing her with a framework that she has carried into later writing endeavors. “She trusted me with important stories and helped me grow leaps and bounds as a writer and reporter,” recalled Lalancette.. She also thanks Julia Cyboran and Joanie Pietracupa at LOULOU for the mentoring they provided, which she believes is the reason she has reached her current level of success in journalism.
In her new position, she has welcomed the responsibility of the entire beauty section and the accountability that comes with a greater sense of ownership in her work.
She also looks forward to increasing the conversation between the LOULOU beauty team and its readership. She hopes conversation between the publication and readers across print and online will form a dialogue-rich community around beauty content, where readers can swap tips and exchange stories.
“It opens up the dialogue and makes our jobs much more interactive,” she said. “When you put so much time and effort into a piece, it’s great to get feedback from readers and engage with them, spark a discussion.”
When deciding on story topics, Lalancette understands that covering a niche topic, like beauty, stories can become repetitive and grow stale. However, she believes niche writing pushes journalists to tap deeper into their creativity to keep stories unique and fresh. “Covering a specific beat can allow you to develop an expertise in a topic and explore it from a variety of angles,” she said.
While on the hunt for innovative approaches, new innovations and realizations on well-tread topics can be revealed.
“Fashion and beauty magazines are all about experience. You want to provide the reader with a respite from daily toils, a sort of escape into fantasy, while also being informative,” she said.
Even in a world of instant online access to information and sources, Lalancette believes people are always the best sources when looking for story inspiration. This is especially true when covering a niche topic, where industry professionals and new contacts are great for learning about new trends and sharing ideas.
“Make connections and get to know people. My stories are inspired by individuals.”
That is not to say she does not embrace all the opportunities that social media presents. “I think it’s given us a whole new platform on which to diffuse our craft and connect with the audience,” she said.
Lalancette’s advice to young journalists is to seek out and consume as much variety as possible. Tracking trends in the industry and identifying key influencers can help uncover novel story ideas that have yet to be explored.
Most importantly, Lalancette believes in the power of what she writes. Instead of simply going through generic rigmarole of covering topics, it’s important to re-discover a topic from a new angle creating a renewed perspective for both the writer and the reader to experience together.
Email is always best when sending a first pitch. It’s important to convey the unique angle of the story in a clear, attention-grabbing subject line.
“Most importantly, tell me why I should care and why my readers should care,” she said.
The best advice Lalancette can offer to PR professionals looking to forge a solid relationship with a journalist is to understand the importance of deadlines.
Also, avoid overstepping privacy boundaries. Messages on personal cell phones and private messages via Facebook are not appreciated.
“I have a work phone and a work email and I am more than happy to use them!”
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