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    Coffee with a Journalist: Mia Maguire, The Daily Beast

    This week on the podcast we’re talking with Mia Maguire, commerce editor at The Daily Beast, Scouted. She covers new products, product comparisons, deals, and how-tos.

    During the episode, Mia shares her pet peeves about pitches, how she’s connecting online and offline with sources, when it’s appropriate to follow up with her, and more.

    Click below to listen to the full conversation and read below for highlights from the interview:

    CWJ View Transcription CTA


    What She Writes About

    [00:02:51] BB: I love it. Excellent. Yeah. Quite a handful of different verticals you can get into. Speaking of that, for you, Mia, specifically, as the commerce editor, tell us a little bit more about that role and what you're looking for pitch-wise because I want to make sure people understand what it all entails.

    [00:03:11] MM: Sure. So I'll just start by talking a little bit about my vertical on The Daily Beast. It is called Scouted. It started up in 2018. So basically, it's kind of a service journalism vertical. It's commerce pieces, meaning we are trying to help our readers discover new products. We do product comparisons. Which one should you buy? Is this worth your money? Is it not? We like to help people find things that basically they couldn't have or wouldn't have discovered on their own with just a basic Google search. So we kind of scour the web and try to find great deals, great value, and just great products that people might want to buy.

    “​​It's a great perk to get to try all these products and also get to share them with my friends and my family…” 

    Then also, just we love to do how-tos, compare and contrasting different products. But most of the content is shoppable, so to speak. Again, I think that most publicists now are familiar with affiliate links and online marketing, so that's kind of the revenue driver and the crux of our business. Our goals are centered around making money, and that comes from people clicking through our articles on Scouted and hopefully making a purchase, and we get like an extremely small commission, but it all adds up.


    Her Thoughts on Pitches

    [00:06:09] BB: For you, Mia, what does a good pitch look like?

    [00:06:14] MM: Yes. So a good pitch – Well, let me just tell you what I don't like. What I hate the most is when publicists ask, “What are you working on,” and they don't tell me about their brands. They just expect or perhaps it just seems like they expect me to just go through my entire editorial calendar and send them a list. I like don't have time to do that. That’s just kind of like the bare bones and I see that a lot. 

    [00:06:42] BB: That’s kind of lazy.

    [00:06:44] MM: Yeah. 

    [00:06:45] BB: Don’t you find that lazy?

    [00:06:47] MM: Yeah. I think they mean well. I think they come out as, “How can I help you?” But it’s actually just not helpful at all because I just don't know what to tell them. It's like, “Who are your clients?” There needs to be some sort of two-way street to work with a publicist.

    [00:07:05] BB: Is it better to say, “Hey, Mia. Here's the clients I have. Maybe there's a fit. Let me know.” Is it better just to be that efficient with it?

    “But I personally don't mind publicists DM me, but a lot of editors do not like that at all. I just personally don't mind it.”

    [00:07:13] MM: Yes.

    [00:07:13] BB: Okay, good.

    [00:07:15] MM: Then it’s also really helpful when someone has taken the time to look at my articles, and they perhaps mention it. That just kind of stands out to me as an editor like, “Oh, they read my –” Maybe it's just an ego thing, and I'm like, “Oh, cool. They read my story.” But it just shows that they've taken the time to at least familiarize themselves with what I actually cover, and it also just kind of makes it a nice dialogue. It is conversational. Then whenever it's conversational, I feel like, “Oh, I've talked to that person before.” Kind of that person stands out in my inbox more. Yeah.


    How to Build a Relationship with Her

    [00:13:00] BB: Gotcha. Okay, that's good. That's good for people to know. Okay. Excellent. Mia, what do you feel? I'm was going to ask you about the exclusives or embargoes, but that kind of doesn't pertain here because I'm sure you're not doing an exclusive on a new lash builder or something that just hit the market. So we won’t get into that. But how does one, if at all, make a relationship with you these days?

    [00:13:23] MM: Honestly, I still really like when people make an effort to get to know me. I mean, we're kind of in yet another new normal, I guess, where I have gone on some in-person IRL coffee meet ups, and I've also still continued to do some just Zoom virtual coffee dates with publicists. I mean, I hate to say it. But really just having like even just 15, 20 minutes of FaceTime, even if it's virtually with a publicist, it really helps me like, “Oh, when I see their name in the inbox, I want to make sure that I get back to them because I've already invested time.” They've invested time. I mean, it’s not like, “Oh, they, they really reached out so I better –” It’s more of like a subconscious thing. But anytime there's like a friendly meet up or even just when someone, like I said, takes the time to like read an article and put that in there, that just really helps them stand up for me and the email stand out in the inbox when I see them.

    [00:14:23] BB: Okay.

    [00:14:49] BB: So you're open to coffees.

    [00:14:51] MM: Yes.



    Learn more pitch tips and insights from previous guests on Coffee with a Journalist in our journalist spotlight videos available for free on YouTube.

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