Hearst's Men's Health and Women's Health will host four weekends of wellness events beginning on 9 January in the publisher's biggest online event to date, allowing the two magazines to "own the month".
Matt Hayes, chief international brand officer at Hearst UK, told Campaign: "The demand for fitness advice is there for the whole of January. There is a lot of content with some regular touchpoints throughout the four weeks."
For Men's Health Weekenders, chef Tom Kerridge will lead a cooking class each Saturday evening. Audiences are encouraged to purchase the ingredients in advance and follow along to produce meals including a rib-eye steak chasseur and quattro stagioni omelette. Nikki Clare, Hearst UK's head of events, said this level of interactivity would ensure strong engagement.
"We have lots of other different media forms which serve different purposes, but events really give you that deep level of engagement and that captive audience," Clare said.
"With a physical event, it's very unlikely that someone's going to get up and walk out halfway through. With a virtual event, you can switch off more easily. So really ensuring that engagement level is there is really key for us. We've really focused on doing that through the interactivity of our events. With the cook-along, it's more likely that the audience is going to stay the full duration to create the same end result."
The sessions will also feature workouts and talks, with talent including presenter Davina McCall, personal trainer Jillian Michaels and reality TV personality Spencer Matthews. The variety of sessions were curated to take into account the breadth of the online audience and a focus on being "fit at any age".
Hayes added: "The audience can be based anywhere. We are targeting a much broader age group. We've also got those core consumers of Women's Health enthusiasts and Men's Health enthusiasts that are turning up for these.
According to Hayes, Women's Health polled its readers on Instagram at the end of last year and found that 86% said they were working out at home.
"And that was at a time when gyms were open. Taking that into consideration, I think we will have a much bigger, broader audience than we were even expecting a few weeks ago, because very few people across the country are able to attend gyms due to tier four restrictions. We know that our audience are working out at home, they want advice, they want to engage with trusted brands."
Businesses will have the chance to exhibit at the "Men's Health marketplace" and "Women's Health marketplace" during the final weekend. Consumers will receive a digital event guide and marketplace electronic magazine featuring a selection of leading wellness brands.
The January events follow virtual events created by Hearst UK in 2020 including Esquire Townhouse @ Your House, the Cosmopolitan Careers Festival and Bazaar at Work Week.
"I don't think virtual is going to go anywhere," Clare added, regarding scheduling events for the rest of 2021. "I think there will be a requirement and a demand for both. And so we'll be looking at how we shape our content, the format of our events and our talent to continue to appeal to the wider audiences."