HOW TO PITCH A Beauty Writer

Today’s How to Pitch is all about beauty and relaxation. If you represent a client in the beauty or spa industry, you need to know about Jacqui Pini and her Gannett-backed blog Indulge.  Jacqui writes about high-end cosmetics, the latest spa treatments, and international beauty trends, so if you have a client or two in this industry, you’ll want to really read her pitching preferences.

Even if you’re not in the beauty industry, her tips are great for anyone who is trying to draw media attention to a product, so please read on.  Here’s how to pitch a beauty writer: Jacqui Pini.


Mopwater: What is your name, news organization, current city and beat? What types of stories do you write? How long have you been with your news organization?

JP: My name is Jacqui Pini and I am a news editor and blogger for a Captivate-a leading alternative media company that delivers more than 54.5 million impressions a month, and is backed by the Gannett News Company.  I summarize news, business, sports, lifestyle and entertainment stories. I also write one of Captivate’s lifestyle columns called “Indulge,” where I cover the latest spa trends and high-end beauty products from all over the world. I have been with the company for 4 years and prior to that I was a TV news producer for a station in West Palm Beach, Fla. I have been interested in journalism my entire life and I have a Master of Science in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University.

Mopwater: What kind of stories and products are you most interested in covering, and in what context?

JP: For Indulge, my favorite stories involve anything new, unusual and interesting in the world of spa treatments, beauty trends (for men and women), relaxation and more. Expert interviews are a great way for me to get important technical information to a reader in a fun, personal way.  I also like to cover new products before they hit store shelves – because who doesn’t want to be the first one to report the scoop on a new product? Finally, I have a fondness for studies and reviews, which I like to elaborate on and editorialize on the results.

I truly believe public relations professionals are part of what makes all of the above topics happen. They play a major role in helping journalists bring value and something new to a reader.

I update Indulge 2-3 times a week, but here are a few recent ones:

Hollywood Hairstylist Sally Hershberger

Best Websites to Buy Beauty Products

Eyelash Extensions…Going to Great Lengths

Anti-Aging Around the World

Mopwater: What’s the best pitch  you’ve gotten  recently?  Why did this pitch impress you?

JP: I just received a pitch from one PR exec that was especially well done. It came the morning after the Golden Globes and she sent me a brief email about her product (which was new to me), named a few celebrities wearing her product at the Golden Globes, had an expert stylist available for comment and had attached 1 photo of the product. I wrote her back right away and told her I was interested and wanted some comments from the stylist and she had the information to me within an hour. This is what I liked about this pitch:

• It was a new and interesting product
• The pitch was brief and had everything I needed
• She was responsive, but did not hound me
• The pitch was timely
• She had an expert available for comment
• She included just 1 photo so my email was not overloaded

Overall, she made covering her product very easy and interesting for me.

I also have a PR contact in Las Vegas who pitches her products really well. She knows what I like to cover so she comes up with good story ideas and relates them to her products. It is enjoyable to work with her because she is fun, polite and creative. She respects my time and is never offended when I do not want to cover her clients and is also respectful of my job if I cover any of the products negatively.

Finally, as a news editor I work with a PR professional in NYC who always has the best financial studies. A long time ago he reached out to me to see exactly what I like to cover and really paid attention to what I told him. Because of that conversation, he only sends me things that are relevant to my work … which means I always read his emails because I know he will never waste my time.

What’s the easiest way to get ignored by you when pitching?

JP: I understand the need for mass emails, but people sending them over and over with no relevance to anything I am doing is annoying. It gets to a point where I have to send some people to the spam folder. I hate to do that, because I know press releases take a while to write, but too many random emails from one person or company is aggravating. I believe investing a few extra seconds in tailoring emails to select people will get them read much more often than a generic “Hi there” email.

I also had an experience with a woman who had a great story, but hassled me (over and over) to include her client’s name in places where it wasn’t at all significant. I understand we all have jobs to do, and I am happy to include names when they are relevant, but I wasn’t writing an advertorial for her. I can only imagine she had someone above her saying “get (client’s) name in there 10 times!!”

I also had a man one time call me with a big pitch about these event photos he was going to send me. I intended on using them and never received his email. So I followed up with him about a day later and still never got them. At that point he would have been wise to check back with me … he didn’t. Next time he attempted a pitch I kind of blew him off.

Mopwater: What additional advice would you give people pitching you?

JP: I would say to send me an email or give me a call introducing yourself and ask what topics I cover, what information (studies, interviews, new releases) I like to receive and in what form. And then stick to what we discussed. If you are consistent, polite and reliable with interesting pitches I think you have a good shot with any journalist.

Mopwater: What is your preferred method of contact?

JP: I prefer email first, but I do not mind the occasional phone call. After I know the person a little better I am happy to chat on the phone every so often.

Tell us more about you: Who are your favorite journalists? What book are you reading?

JP: My favorite journalists are Diane Sawyer, Sanjay Gupta and I really respected and enjoyed watching Tim Russert. I also think Jeanne Moos is hilarious.

I am currently reading “The Loved Dog,” by Tamar Geller, “Pearls,” by Elisabeth Strack and “Run.” By Ann Pachett. I almost always have at least 3 books going at once and rotate through them depending on my mood.

Another thing that keeps me quite busy is the fact that I am co-owner of Museum Way Pearls, an online pearl jewelry retailer out of Boston. We have a beautiful line of pearl jewelry that has become very popular, but in being a small business I occasionally do a little marketing and PR myself!

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