Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Woman's Own hit the news stands this week with a fresh new look and a new standalone website. Gorkana catches up with editor Catherine Westwood to find out all about taking the reader on a rollercoaster journey, controversial 80th birthday plans and why PRs should always email their pitches.
Firstly tell us about the new-look magazine.
The new-look Woman's Own is confident, upbeat and honest and offers celebrity interviews and news alongside compelling real-life stories. Every page celebrates the modern woman and mirrors the readers. Real women are included across the whole magazine, from testing the newest don't-miss diets or anti-ageing products to modelling figure-fixing fashion, while *Woman's Own experts advise on all-important health and wellbeing issues.
Also offering outstanding value for money from big brand discounts to cost-effective recipes and shopping bargains, Woman's Own is well-rounded, informative and inclusive.
Describe the new-look magazine in four words.
Positive, great value, expert and honest.
What promoted you to give it a makeover?
All titles need a refresh over time, and Woman's Own needed to reflect the needs of readers in the current economic climate.
Any regular slots added / removed?
Daybreak presenter Lorraine Kelly has joined us as columnist, which I am delighted about as she's a talented journalist who adds both personality and opinion to Woman's Own. She now has a double-page spread that would have been a celebrity interview before.
I've also removed some other celebrity pages so I could replace them with twice as many real-life stories. The TV and Chill Out pages have been condensed from six to a spread.
I have been mindful to keep the key pillars for our core reader, but have revitalised them all.
What is your favourite part of the magazine now?
The amazing mix of real-life stories – they run through the entire range of emotions from uplifting to shocking, sad to funny and inspiring. We take the reader on a fantastic rollercoaster journey.
You've also just launched a new website. Why now?
Because it's 2012 and it's long overdue! Woman's Own is no longer a magazine, it is a brand, and we wanted to be a multi-platform brand as this meets the needs and demands of the readers.
How much of the magazine content will go online?
There will be small parts of the magazine online. The idea of womansown.co.uk was to create an extension of the magazine online, not to replicate it. The site has been created to complement the new design of the magazine, but I wanted original content on the site that gives the reader a reason to visit.
How much, if any, content is produced for online only?
There will be money-saving offers, celebrity news, Q&As from all our experts, hair ideas and extra diets, including our new Woman's Own Diet Club.
Talk us through the key channels of the new site.
The Celebrity channel provides us with the chance to be bang-up-to-date with news about the stars and provides a direct link to Richard and Judy's Book Club who we are linked with.
The Fashion and Beauty channel provides a service for the readers answering Q&As, the latest fashion and beauty updates, often based around our Age less franchise, and a hairstyles gallery for endless inspiration.
The Health channel encompasses Woman's Own Diets, offers general healthy living advice and tips, plus access via Q&As to our counsellor and doctor.
The Food channel offers recipes in two categories – Low calorie and quick and easy, both of which are essential to our readers.
The Save channel provides a Today's Offer to help our readers spend less and a Q&A section to provide them with valuable money saving tips and advice.
Which parts of the magazine / website do you think are the most PRable?
Our interviews with celebrities. Our outstanding real-life content. Our Age less (anti-ageing) franchise.
What advice would you give to a PR pitching to the team?
- Do your homework. Find out who you should be pitching to – don't just send everything in to the editor!
- Take a look at the new-look Woman's Own and assess whether your content is right for the brand and readership.
- Brevity and images are better than too many words and nothing to illustrate your point.
What's the best way for PRs to get in contact?
I would always say email. If you phone up, it's likely you will be asked to put it in an email. Calling and launching into a full-on PR sell isn't always the best tactic on a hectic weekly magazine!
*Are you open to meeting up with PRs?
Yes, where relevant of course. But I also like my department heads and team to see PRs where possible too.
You feature a lot of competitions. What's the ideal prize a PR could offer?
Something with mass appeal. Vouchers for high street brands or supermarkets are a huge hit especially in the current economic climate. Holidays are also good, as are gadgets, especially cool ones like iPads and smart phones. Our readers also love beauty products, but every day basics, like winning toilet rolls or teabags for a year, is also very popular.
Is there anything you wouldn't accept?
Holidays without flights.
Are you up for suggestions on experts for the Save Channel or do you search them out yourself?
We have our own expert, Savvy Shopper Andrea, in the magazine and online who often includes consumer experts. Readers are encouraged to tell us how they save money and those we print in the magazine receive £50.
You've got your 80th anniversary coming up in October - any chance of a sneaky heads up about plans?
I am so proud to be part of such a fantastic heritage brand and at such a momentous time. We do have lots of plans for the 80th birthday, but want them to be a surprise for our readers.
What I can reveal is one of them will be rather controversial – but you'll have to buy our birthday issue (date TBC) to find out why!