Media: Double Standards - Just don't address them as 'women over 40'

The editors of Psychologies and Easy Living talk about the key to success in a crowded market and appealing to the older woman.

MAUREEN RICE - EDITOR, PSYCHOLOGIES

- Briefly describe your magazine.

Psychologies is a mainstream glossy focused on personal development and positive living.

- What separates your title from the competition?

There's nothing else like it. Our success is a testament to an appetite for difference in this market, which I think has been very underestimated. We include either perennial subjects - relationships and parenting - with a different and deeper execution, or new subjects that other women's magazines generally don't cover: spirituality for atheists, the psychology of high heels ...

- How do you appeal to the older woman?

By not developing "age-adapted" content. Older women are not a homogenous group, and it's a mistake to try to define them by experience. There is nothing more irritating or patronising for many women over 40 than being addressed as "women over 40". Appealing to this woman has to be subtle, an attitude that's woven through the warp and weft of the content, rather than adapting the content itself.

- What's the key to success in such a crowded market?

A genuine point of difference, a genuine voice, consistently strong execution and a good publisher.

- Are British women ready to forego celebrities for something more cerebral?

Why should you forego one for the other? It's entirely possible to enjoy good celebrity stories and to like something a bit "more cerebral". I know I do. They aren't mutually exclusive - though you might think so, looking at our newsstands.

- What do you offer advertisers that other titles don't?

Our readers are early adopters and opinion-formers. They're bright, well-educated, affluent and engaged: the kind of women advertisers most like to talk to, but find difficult to reach reliably by other means. Our magazine is text-heavy, has no distracting fashion well, and deals with intimate and absorbing material. Our readers engage with it fully - it's not a "flick-through" read. So, advertisers get a triple whammy of clearer standout, trust by association and demonstrably longer dwell-time.

- Can you tell us about any new editorial or commercial developments in the pipeline?

Like everybody else, we have a lot of exciting things happening with our website. There are lots of plans for some new and innovative commercial developments, too, but they're still at the "secret" stage.

- Who's been your favourite cover star, and why?

Susan Sarandon, for being brainy and the least "spun" celebrity I've ever met. Jerry Hall for being funny - it cheers you up just being around her. And Sarah Ferguson, because I can't help admiring her for getting back on the horse.

SUSIE FORBES - EDITOR, EASY LIVING

- Briefly describe your magazine.

Easy Living successfully marries excellent practical content with gorgeous, stylish imagery. It informs on every aspect of busy women's lives in a glamorous, intelligent, relevant way, and is all about making life as easy and great as it can be.

- What separates your title from the competition?

We are the only magazine in the market to have such distinctive colour-coded sections. Our readers love this device, and even rate our colour-coded contents page (usually low in people's affections) as one of their favourite spreads in the magazine. The other thing that separates us from our competition is that we are a genuine general-interest magazine with strength-in-depth throughout. Because each section is broadly equal in size and weight, nothing appears "token" in Easy Living.

- How do you appeal to the older woman?

We appeal to the sort of women who grew up with the mid-80s launches of Marie Claire and Elle, who have glossy expectations, but whose life stage dictates that they want - and need - more from a magazine than just shopping and celebrities. So we deliver useful and good-looking solutions for every aspect of these grown-up women's lives in a more stylish way than is offered by the competition. We also take care to have a sense of humour, but not be "silly", and to keep a close eye on small, but important, turn-offs, such as mini-skirts, baby-faced models and ridiculously unaffordable clothes.

- What's the key to success in such a crowded market?

Sticking to your guns. I re-read my first editor's letter often in a note-to-self kind of way. We set out to be beautiful, useful, modern, intelligent and relevant and, while the magazine should always be moving forward, these core values should remain the same.

- Are British women ready to forego celebrities for something more cerebral?

I don't see why the two things need to be mutually exclusive. Many of our readers also admit to reading a celebrity weekly and seem completely at ease with having both titles on their coffee table. That said, the same readers also articulate their desire to see interesting, intelligent, age-appropriate cover stars on Easy Living, rather than someone who just took their top off on Big Brother.

- What do you offer advertisers that other titles don't?

A proper, well-put-together breadth of content that allows us to fish in many advertising pools. My publisher is very proud of his "Prada to Pringles" description of our ad business, and in my opinion, justifiably so.

- Can you tell us about any new editorial or commercial developments in the pipeline?

Conde Nast has a relentless commitment to marketing, so we'll continue to do supplements, covermounts, point-of-sale activity and subscription marketing. We've nothing to give away beyond that.

- Who's been your favourite cover star, and why?

Intelligent, glamorous, class-act women seem to work best for us: Kristin Scott Thomas, Iman, Jemima Khan, Mariella Frostrup and this month's Kristin Davis cover are some of my all-time favourites.

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