Simplify and 9 other tips I learned from the new Woman’s Day

June 14, 2007

I do not believe in redesigns. I tell my clients all the time that magazines are not born for redesigns and face-lifts. Plastic surgery will not help. The best way for a magazine to succeed is to debut a “new editorial platform,” to keep up with the times. Change is the only constant in our business and for us to change it means we have to go beyond a redesign. Woman’s Day, starting with the July 10 issue debuts such a “new editorial platform.” The last of the women’s service magazines to reinvent itself is Woman’s Day. I was able to find 10 good examples to follow in the process of “reinvention.”
1. Simplify. Editor in Chief Jane Chesnutt writes, “If you can count on learning one thing in our pages it’s to simplify, simplify, simplify.”
2. Navigate. In the age of the internet, magazines can be the best vehicle to ease the navigation through the pages. Woman’s Day offers an easy to follow navigation marker: Live Well Every Day.
3. Create a Splash page. In order to make navigation easy, every section of the magazine must have its own opening page. I call that the “Splash Page.” Woman’s Day offers four splash pages: live well, health, solutions, and eat well.
4. Welcome from both ends. Make sure that your readers feel welcomed whether they look at the first page of the magazine or the last page. In Woman’s Day My Daily WD welcomes you on page one and the Last Word help you re.new on the last page.
5. Engage in all pages. From the editor’s letter to the masthead Woman’s Day engages the readers with more than 11 entry and exit points. Pages that a lot of people write off as wasted space, Woman’s Day creates a good hook for readers to stick to those pages.
6. Group. Do not be afraid to gather all the information about the same topic in the same place. Whether it is an article, a department or some tidbits of information put them all together in one area of the magazine. Readers are busy. They like for you to save them time from searching from one side to the other of the magazine in order to find all the health articles. Place them in one place. In Woman’s Day if it is food and eating well, it is all on pages 125 through 152. It is all about food. No flip flops here.
7. Promise and Deliver. A lot of magazines promise and a lot of readers buy the magazine once for the promises, twice for the delivering of those promises. Woman’s Day promises 84 Health Tips, 20 Ways to Save $100, 13 Top Fat Busters, 15 Favorite Summer Recipes and 10 Top Power Foods… Do not be afraid from too many promises. Remember you can never have too many promises if you deliver on them in the magazine.
8. Bonus. Always try to offer your readers a bonus. Something extra. Something for nothing. It make readers feel good and at the same time benefit from the added bonus. Keep the bonus related to the magazine mission and focus. Woman’s Day offers a free Summer First Aid Chart.
9. Personalize. Make the magazine the reader’s magazine and not the editor’s. “my daily WD” is a very good example of such personalization. All what you need is to write your name.
10. Repeat and Repeat. Do not be afraid of repetition. Readers are creatures of habit. It they like something, they want more of the same. Editors get bored faster than the readers. Keep that in mind and let us hope for a repeat with the next issue of Woman’s Day.

One comment

  1. Jeez, Samir, get a copy editor, will you? Ironic an “expert” critiquing magazines, has so many mistakes in his copy. An example:
    5. Engage in all pages. From the editor’s letter to the masthead Woman’s Day engage the readers with more than 11 entry and exist points. Pages that a lot of people write off as wasted space, Woman’s Day create a good hook for readers to stick to those pages.

    How about putting an “S” on the end of “engage”? “Exit” instead of “exist.” I’m not going to do the whole thing, but there are more.

    Thanks Emily…I do indeed need a copy editor…what can we do without one? In the meantime, here is tip number 11 we can learn from this…never rush to post anything before reading it twice, thrice and four times… This is another reason I do not consider blogging journalism… I will never publish anything in journalism without sending it through my copy editors. Blogging is a different story. It is my thoughts rushed to print… Many thanks. Now, back to the tips….

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