PR Guru interviews Rebecca Long, editor, Women’s Health & Fitness magazine

  1.  What sets Women’s Health and Fitness (WH&F) apart from others? Aside from being the longest-running title in our category, our claim to distinction is 100 per cent original content and independent ownership. With no licensed content or obligations, we can drop or add a story or product at the last second, and implement changes and initiatives almost instantly. We were also this year the first in our category to launch an interactive iPad edition, with multimedia enriching the reading experience, and rich media enabling clients (and PRs) to more deeply engage our audience. Recognising the potency of digital platforms in tandem with traditional media, we are also set to unveil a number of other exciting franchises under the WH&F brand. Stay tuned!
  2.  What are your readers expecting when they get their copy? Almost a year since we launched the ‘new look’ WH&F, I hope regular readers have come to expect a congruent, content-dense magazine that speaks to their efforts to be their best in areas spanning physical and mental health, beauty, style, nutrition, fitness and sex. We aim to be the magazine equivalent of a best friend (with multiple PhDs!), who won’t hesitate to call you out on your issues, but will always be cheering you on. We’ve received great feedback on the re-vamped title from readers and clients, who have noted the conversational, slightly irreverent t
    one, balance of science and entertainment, new line-up of experts, increased content volume, diversified subjects and edgier, contemporised design.
  3. “The three things I look for when deciding on a story… are relevance to one or more of our core themes, relevance to our readership, and timeliness against seasonal, calendar or media happenings. I also consider a story within the context of a particular issue (which tends to have a loose ‘theme’) and evaluate its value to the reader, against alternatives. Each page is valuable real estate and every word – let alone every story – needs to earn its place!
  4.  “If you want to pitch a story idea to me… please familiarise yourself with recent issues and pitch to a specific page or section. (If you haven’t bothered picking up a copy of the mag, why should I bother trying to imagine how your product could work for my readers?) Importantly, whether you’re pitching a new running shoe, scented candle, lipstick, fitness class or psychology guru, forget about your client and KPIs and tell me what’s in it for me/my readers. (As a former PR consultant, I know tailoring pitches is time consuming, but the proof of the pitching is in the clippings folder.)
  5.  What’s the best part of your job? It’s not the invites, beauty products, food and sneakers (although I do love trying out products we feature), but the honour of being invited into the lives of some seriously awesome women. It’s a privilege to be entrusted with people’s personal stories, and to share and witness the strength, wisdom, courage and tenacity behind big and small personal triumphs. I also love that my job doubles as a personal challenge, to consciously live and behave towards being my physical and mental best (plus, my inner science geek gets a dopamine hit every time I discover a new piece of science)! Working with, and learning from, an exceptional team is the icing on the cake.
  6. People may be surprised to know that I’m a skinny desk potato whose idea of training is reading the latest Harvard report on hypertrophy, rather than hauling iron (although every time I cast a cover model I swear I’m going to start lifting). My other revelation is that I’m an ardent opponent of ‘dieting’ and obligatory exercise – I’m acutely aware of how pervasive and damaging poor body image can be and of my responsibility to promote healthy attitudes and practices. The best reason to eat healthfully and exercise is feeling and being strong, energetic, healthy and happy.

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