Linda Luong is the Editor-in-Chief of Where Toronto, Where Muskoka and Essential Toronto magazines, where she started seven years ago as an assistant editor. Prior to that, she worked at a children’s publication with Metroland and at Canoe.ca as a reporter. She is an avid pinner on Pinterest, Etsy shopper (her latest purchase was a Queen of a Quite a Lot print), magazine junkie, pink enthusiast, and has never come across a lemon dessert she could resist.
What was your favourite class in high school? Why?
Biology. I took it all the way through high school just so I could do dissection at the end of the year. Plus it made me feel smart talking about osmosis, cell division and homeostasis.
How did you get your start as an editor?
At Canoe.ca as a reporter during 9/11. It was the best on-the-job experience working in a busy newsroom, juggling multiple stories, deadlines, trying to stay on top of every new development.
If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
A baker. I am always baking something in my spare time – I’ve perfected peanut butter cupcakes recently, and my coconut cream cake and double chocolate brownies are often requested by my family and friends for gatherings.
Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email. It lets me digest the information in my own time and percolate potential tie-ins to upcoming editorial content. And if it’s a product pitch, please provide pictures – it helps to have a visual to go along with the message, especially if you’re going to reference a particular physical element.
We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are
no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
Really understand a publication and its mandate and audience before pitching something. I get a lot of pitches for products and services that are great, but as our publications are for visitors, some things will just not apply to our readers.
Respect deadlines. If you promise to send information, images or samples for a photoshoot by a certain date, then please do. There’s nothing worse or more annoying than having to scramble to find something else to include in an issue at the last minute because something you were expecting didn’t come in on time.
Be realistic in your pitches – don’t over promise. Please don’t promise me an interview with somebody if you haven’t spoken to their people yet and gotten the go-ahead, or please don’t tell me that a product will be in stores by my publication date just to get it in, if it won’t be in stores until a few weeks after that.
Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise – I’m a morning person.
Yes, please! Especially if they’re peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
Shower or bath?
Selling shoes at Naturalizer. I had never seen so much support hose in my life before that job.
Noreen Flanagan has been with ELLE Canada since its second issue back in 2001. In April of this year, she was named editor-in-chief. She has covered arts, entertainment, fashion and beauty for the magazine. Prior to working at ELLE Canada, Noreen worked at FLARE magazine.
ELLE Magazine online
How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
I always appreciate it when a publicist has taken the time to customize their pitch for our publication. It shows they’re attentive to our needs and genuinely familiar with our magazine and its audience. The subject line on an email pitch is essential. If it doesn’t grab my attention, I don’t even open it. When I’m going through my emails in the morning, I’m all too keen to quickly weed out the ones that aren’t essential.
What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
Open, straightforward discussion of what’s on offer and what the expectations are. Also, when possible, a prompt reply to interview requests, or at least updates as to the status of interview requests.
What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
They aren’t familiar with our audience, and hence make pitches that reflect a lack of understanding about what we’re after. If it happens repeatedly, I conclude it’s either a lack of respect for the publication or genuine lack of interest in their work.
Your pet peeve?
Follow-up phone calls with messages: “Just calling to see if you received our email…”. I can appreciate that some emails don’t make it, but for the most part, if an editor doesn’t nibble after receiving your email, it’s because he/she isn’t interested or it isn’t relevant for the book.
Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
I always appreciate humour! Either in the pitches or just the banter back and forth.