Service of Discovery: The Secret Ingredient Behind the Reinvention of Good Housekeeping magazine. Rosemary Ellis and Pat Haegele Give GH Readers Something They Don’t Get Online: Discoverable Information. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview.

March 25, 2013

Good Housekeeping Magazine: An American Institution
“Getting a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval may mean the difference between tepid and rapid sales.“ – CBS Sunday Morning, March 24, 2013

GOOD HOUSEKEEPINGGood Housekeeping has been around for almost 128 years and is still thriving today as it did in yesteryears. That is a fact. Another fact, like any good magazine, Good Housekeeping has been evolving with each issue since its inception. Case in point–the magazine was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and another case in point, the recent reinvention of the magazine last January, which introduced a brand new Good Housekeeping. Recently, I was fortunate to visit with the editor and publisher of Good Housekeeping at the offices of the magazine at the Hearst Tower in New York City.

The entire history flashes in front of your eyes as you walk into the offices of the magazine, passing through the Good Housekeeping Institute. The day I was there it was like a beehive at work, the testing of products that has been taking place for more than a century. Today the winning tested “swimsuits” are put to the test as the models try the winning suits and the photographers snap the pictures for an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Passing the Institute, I reach the Good Housekeeping “living room,” and the “dining room,” adjacent to the living room. Unlike any other magazine interviews that I have conducted, there was a real “at home” feeling. Good Housekeeping is an American institution.

But what’s the future for this publishing mainstay in the age of digital?

Rosemary Ellis, Editor in Chief and Pat Haegele, Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer, of the magazine have seen the future of Good Housekeeping and they are extremely excited about it. Picking the brains of their customers proved both enlightening and fascinating, as extensive research showed that today’s Good Housekeeping reader wants something a bit different than her mother before her: they want convenience, more extreme graphics, with visuals that pop, information between the pages that is so discoverable even Christopher Columbus would be impressed–and they want FUN.

TOFThe “service of discovery” is at Good Housekeeping’s helm and is what both the editor-in-chief and the publisher believe is most important in today’s magazine. The content must be fresh, conversational and extremely fun for today’s GH reader. The brand with the Seal and the Institute will still provide information about products that the reader loves and can trust, but will now also add an element of engaging discoverability to the mix.

It’s an interesting and long overdue concept. Rosemary Ellis defines it this way: “It’s what online cannot do; tell you what you didn’t ask for, but that you really want to know.”

Picking up a print magazine is a far different experience than going online, and both captains of this huge ship understand that. Flipping pages in print is always a discovery because the information between the cover and back page is something that the reader had absolutely no part of conceiving, far different from online, where to get information the reader has to ask for it first. And while the reader of Good Housekeeping’s print version discovers surprising and entertaining content, it’s always relevant because of the research and discussion that goes into each issue.

Of course, Good Housekeeping hasn’t ignored their digital companion website and other online resources in all of this, having revamped their online presence with the same discoverability. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone, but especially the reader–the most important part of a magazine’s success story.

Mr. Magazine’s™ Seal of Approval has been stamped all over this reinvention for Good Housekeeping’s future. It promises to be an exciting and entertaining tomorrow over that digital horizon.

Read my entire interview with Rosemary Ellis and Pat Haegele at the Mr. Magazine™ Interviews here

And watch the CBS Sunday Morning segment about Good Housekeeping by clicking on the link below.

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