Business models, Editorial content, Podcasts, Publications, Publishers

Women’s Health editor in chief Claire Sanderson on defying circulation trends

This week, Claire Sanderson, the editor in chief of Women’s Health (UK) talks about the magazine’s circulation growth, why they love working with influencers, and how mental health has become such a vital part of overall wellness. She also explains how integrating the print and digital teams helps them to drive audiences between both platforms, and why VR will be a huge part of health and fitness in the future.

In the news round-up the team discuss Apple’s invention of something called a ‘human editor’, Twitter’s return to profitability and Refinery29’s refining of its publishing strategy. A maudlin Chris derails the round-up with a philosophical question.

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In our own words: Esther Kezia Thorpe

Women’s Health are one of the few women’s magazines who are showing real, consistent growth, according to the most recent set of ABCs.

So one of my first questions for Claire was why this was happening. Was there a recent campaign to drive awareness? Have they had any significant giveaways at events to boost circulation, or have they tempted readers with cut-price subscription deals?

Her answer was surprising in both its honesty and simplicity. The magazine happens to be perfectly aligned with one of the biggest trends in Britain and further abroad: wellness. Not just fitness, but the concept of eating, drinking and generally looking after your physical and mental health.

Also pleasantly surprising was how enthusiastic Claire was about influencers – social media stars who are often seen as a threat to traditional media. But instead, Women’s Health works with top fitness and wellness influencers where they get to be on the cover of a print magazine, and in return bring in their ‘borderline fanatical’ audiences of their own.

Yet there’s something that Claire only mentions briefly which I think also holds great significance in making Women’s Health stand out – after all, they have plenty of competition from magazines in the fitness and wellness space. It’s that their content is science-backed, well-researched and fact checked. They draw on research papers from world-leading universities, but present the information in an accessible way to their audience.

Perhaps in today’s world, among all the fad diets and popping jade eggs in unmentionable places, people actually welcome just a little bit of hard science about what works in women’s health.


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