5 Minutes With

25 June 2021

5 minutes with...

Faye Smith

Deputy Health Editor at Future PLC



"Good clear information, great selection of high res images, and something new that would make our readers excited."

Please provide a brief introduction to yourself & the titles you work across at Future PLC?

I’ve been at Future for about four years now, and am the Deputy Health Editor across several titles including Woman & Home, Woman, Woman’s Own, Chat, w&h.com and goodto.com. Working in the Lifestyle hub is very hectic, as mixing weekly and monthly deadlines can mean constant pressure. I’m also a digital lead, which means all digital health content from the Lifestyle Hub has to come through me.

Give us the inside scoop, what is your favourite part about working as Deputy Health Editor at Future PLC?

There are lots of perks, but the best one by a mile is when a reader will contact us to say they’ve read a health feature and it made them get checked out by a GP/specialist and it’s saved their life. It doesn’t happen everyday, but when it does it makes everything worthwhile.

What is it you look for from brands you're looking to feature?

Good clear information, great selection of high res images, and something new that would make our readers excited.

What’s the most memorable approach you’ve had from a PR (good or bad)!

The worst is when a huge amount of waste or expense has been used for no reason, such as extreme packaging for tiny samples. I was once sent three slices of bread via a courier. I don’t live in central London so it must have cost a fortune and was very underwhelming to unwrap! I’ve enjoyed taking part in virtual events (such as cocktail mixing or yoga) during lockdown, especially as it means all the household can get involved. My most memorable event was for a mattress company. We went to a Narnia-themed room, all laid on beds and had an A-list actor read us a bedtime story. I thought it was just going to be a recording of his voice, but he was there in person… it was epic!

What types of products and price points are you personally looking to feature?

Health covers a really broad spectrum of things, so it could be anything from supplements to fitness buys, gadgets, sex toys, healthy package holidays, food and drink launches, wellness apps etc. As I work across so many brands, price points aren’t so much an issue, but it has to be good value and available across the whole of the UK.

If you could give a PR advice on what to do to get your attention and secure coverage with you - what would it be?

1 - Don’t cc in everyone else I work with. Working in a hub across so many different magazines must be confusing for PRs, but if I see an email has been sent to five other people along with myself, I tend to ignore it as I don’t feel it’s exclusive, so there’s no point pitching it.

2 - If you’re freelance or feel like the world is going to end, let me know. I hadn’t realised how hard it can be sometimes for freelance PRs to get paid unless they have something featured. While I’m not advocating begging to get things included, I am human, I know how hard life can be, and if you feel like you want to give up, then let me know as I might be able to help (or know someone who can).

3 - Don’t promise if you can’t deliver. If I do a big shout out for quotes and a PR comes back to offer me a great doctor or expert, then make sure they are free to do it. It’s such a waste of time if after I’ve selected someone, written up some questions, set a deadline, then I’m told they are not available. If you’ve got a great expert and they give good quotes within the deadline, I’m always going to use them again and again.

4 - Use a nice easy font to read. Everyone laughs but I make the font huge on my screen, so if I can’t see your pitch without squinting, I won’t read it.

5 - Be rest assured that I always save emails for later. If the quotes and tips are good, I will save them until I have a slot. Nothing is deleted.

Did you always know you wanted to get into journalism? How did you get into it?

I always knew I wanted to work in magazines. I used to have a Saturday job at my dad’s fishmongers when I was 14. I always made sure I’d bought all the teen mags I loved in the week and would save them up to read on my lunch break each Saturday. I’d read everything, even the credits up the side.

Tell us something fun that people don't know about you?

I used to do a lot of acting in my spare time. I auditioned for the opening ceremony of the 2012 olympics but somehow got put into the dancing tryouts instead. I got through and performed in the stadium, but it was three months of being totally out of my comfort zone!

What are you most looking forward to this year as things open up?

I’ve loved working from home, but I have missed my colleagues. I’m looking forward to seeing them in person and having a laugh – it can make the busy times better. I’d also love a holiday, but I’m not getting excited about that just yet!