Media is a fast-changing landscape, so as PRs we never rest on laurels when it comes to learning more about our industry. Back in April, our Senior Account Executive Claire Butler spent time working with the talented team behind Britain’s leading food magazine, delicious. Here’s what she discovered…
For anyone working in food PR, the holy grail is for your clients to appear on the glossy pages of a respected national food magazine like delicious. As media tastemakers, they tap into the current zeitgeist, set the tone for the month and draw their loyal readers into a celebration of food.
I met with the editor, Karen Barnes in November last year. A huge fan of Cornwall, Karen likes to visit whenever she gets the opportunity, and a colleague and I had the pleasure of meeting her while she was here on holiday. We spent an enjoyable hour discussing some of our clients, shared restaurant recommendations and chatted about all things food. It was a really positive experience and on the back of that, I felt brave enough to ask about the possibility of spending some time working with the team at delicious. to better understand how they put the magazine together, what stories and products make the cut and why.
During my three days, I shadowed Editorial & Features Assistant, Phoebe Stone. Under her instruction, I put forward content for the news pages of the June issue; took part in taste tests and collated the results (under strict guidelines set by Karen – she wasn’t head of the Good Housekeeping Institute for nothing); compiled a list of products to test in gadget of the month; trawled Instagram for ‘What You’ve Been Making this Month’contenders; attended a tasting of the new summer and frozen ranges from a leading supermarket; put together a list of important dates, festivals and events for October inspiration ahead of their planning meeting; conducted some background research on a chef Phoebe was due to interview; and put forward bank holiday activity suggestions for the digital team. All strictly confidential and great fun. Here are some key learnings I took away with me…
- The whole team contributes ideas at planning meetings for features, interviews, recipes and recommended products.
- Although some features are planned a year in advance, they work five months ahead and are working on all those issues simultaneously: reading, building content, shooting and planning.
- Content is all about balance; light and shade to provide thought provoking pieces alongside more light-hearted articles. Recipes require the right balance, offering a mix of simple and challenging options, using easily accessible ingredients catering to the full range of dietary requirements.
- News pages are left until the last minute – 1stof the month is the deadline, as they go to print between the 13th-15th.
- The delicious. reader is a keen cook, so they’re mainly interested in featuring gifts, condiments and cooking ingredients rather than convenience foods – although they might include a shop bought dessert to accompany a recipe.
- Karen and Phoebe are the key contacts for news, product information, foodie gifts, taste tests and reviews.
- Deputy editor, Susan Low, is the best contact for travel, features and book reviews.
- For chefs, recipes and restaurant suggestions, Karen is the person to get in touch with – nothing will be featured unless they’ve tried it themselves.
I’m not going to lie; I didn’t want to leave. It was a really enjoyable experience. As a small team working together, delicious. put their heart and soul into every issue which you get a sense of when you read the magazine. With a combination of foodie insights, accessible yet impressive recipes, interesting articles and beautiful photography evoking the mood of the season, the magazine really lives up to its name. Thank you, delicious.!