Magazine: Women’s Health: March 2011, Editor-in-Chief Michele Promaulayko.  Women’s Health is produced in its main office in New York, NY. Women’s Health releases 10 issues a year, usually with two combined summer and winter issues.  As far as I can tell, most if the content is produced by freelance writers.  My basis for this conclusion, is that after scouring five issues, I had a list of about 180 different writers, with only about 10% of those names appearing in the staff box, or contributors page.

What are the demographics? Women’s Health appeals to about 10 million women all over the world.  While its largest circulation is located in the United States, it also distributes in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Turkey.  I believe that the target audience is women, ages 18-45, with some type of college education. Women’s Health media kit describes the type of women they are writing for as, “contemporary, confident, and ambitious.” They want their readers to feel like they are getting advice from an honest, trusted friend.

Women’s Heath advertisements are geared towards younger women.  You don’t see ads for denture adhesives, or AARP anywhere within this publication.  What you do see, are ads for makeup, skin care products, hair products, running shoes, athletic gear, and diamond engagement rings. An example, is a Cover Girl make-up ad featuring Taylor Swift, she’s young, hot, and famous, just like most of the women in their advertisements (inside front cover). That right there tells me that their median age for readers must be somewhere between 20-38. Also, their cover always features a young (mid-twenties to mid-thirties), hot, fit actress, or celebrity.  Inside, their feature Q&A session is all about what this celebrity eats, how she work’s out, and how she stays balanced in such a chaotic life.

Psychographics: The women that read Women’s Health are looking for answers on fitness, health, and love.  Some want to be wearing the latest fashion trends and makeup, while others are struggling with body issues and are turning the pages of WH in hopes to find the answers to their fitness questions.  The readers of WH also seem to be looking to better their life overall, either financially, by getting ahead at their job, or physically, by pushing their current workout goals.

The stories in WH feature fitness trends and tips, the latest fashion do’s and don’ts, the hottest new sex positions you have to try tonight, and deliciously amazing healthy recipes.  Their feature story, “Buy, Sell, Freeze” (Jan/Feb 2011, p. 150), informs women of childbearing age, of the potential health risks associated with egg donation, and using frozen eggs to conceive.  This article is geared towards that median age group of 20-38.

What is the magazines formula? Women’s Health strives to teach women how to achieve balance in an often chaotic life, with a focus on health and wellness.  It aims to make women feel good about their lives and their bodies through fitness and health education.  They want their readers to know that being attractive doesn’t mean that you have to be skin and bones.

In every issue of Women’s Health there is a Letter from the Editor, Advisors, Tell Women’s Health, Ask Women’s Health, Scoop, The Average Women, and  What Men Think.  Their regular columns include, Style & Beauty Lab (fashion advice and body care), Get Fit Tricks (self explanatory), Healthy Doses (all about your health from the gyno, to food, to the environment), Slim Down Strategies (mostly about food choices), Eat Smart (all about cooking), Sex & Love ( you guessed it, hot sex and relationship advice) and finally, Life Skills (ways to achieve your inner balance and career goals).

How does the cover attract the audience? Every cover features a beautiful, healthy, not anorexic looking, celebrity and the words are large, bold faced in a magnitude of colors.  They show case their best stories on the cover, ones that make the reader want to pick it up and learn more, such as “Sleep Tight Every Night.”  I don’t know about you, but as a college student I don’t get enough sleep, and when I do finally lay down and try to achieve that heavenly bliss called sleep, it takes entirely too long.  Another clever attention grabbing caption was, “Easy Money Outsmart Cash Traps and Double you Dough!”  What women wouldn’t want to double her dough?

Are there any advertorials? Fortunately, there are not any, what I would classify as advertorials, in this magazine.  There is a Pantene ad that comes close on page 120, by  posing as an article with an attention grabbing title, but upon a second look, you can see the pictures of “Panteen only” products all over the page.

Women’s Health Online: features some of the articles that are in the current paper copy, as well as popular articles from back issues.  The web also gives you access to content that you can’t get in the magazine such as Women’s Health Workouts To Go, Women’s Health Fit Coach, and Eat This, Not That! all of which are an additional charge to customers. Personally, I read the magazine at home and check out the website via my iPhone, when I am in transit.

How Are Feature Articles Developed? Some of the articles use humorous titles, and others pose scary questions that the reader feels she needs to know the answer to, even if she didn’t even know the topic existed.  Other articles start off with quotes and statistics, or uses a line like, “we all know someone who…” WH uses a variety of ways of developing their feature stories to attract to their very diverse audience.

Women’s Health covers a wide range of topics, and usually has several large feature stories in one magazine. For example, the feature stories in the December 2010 issue are about getting a hot body fast, turning good sex into great sex, rescuing your relationship, and breast exams. I would say that overall, the writing in WH is great.  Based on their sound reputation, I trust what authors write in WH, and use their tips daily with much success.

What did I learn about the secret to success of magazines? The key is making your magazine look attractive and interesting. I wouldn’t pick up a magazine that didn’t have startling topics splattered all over the front of it. You also have to introduce new topics and topics some people are afraid to talk about.  You need stories that evoke emotions.  In the Tell Women Health section, readers write in thanking WH for a story and describe how it changed their life, or they write in pissed off because they felt the story was something they didn’t need or want to know.  You have to know what your readers want, and sell it to them. 

What are the submission guidelines? I scoured the website, magazine, and The Writer’s Market, as well as calling several phone numbers on the website with no luck.  However, their media kit includes a lot of information a freelance writer would need including issue deadlines, and an editorial calendar.

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