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Meet the Press: Beauty Editors Speak Out

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: October 7, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 7

Other than regularly covered sun care and other essential personal care products, Chu says editors also think outside the box and cover other industries—including fashion, the arts, celebrity and pop culture, international and economic news, politics, science and technology.

The Digital World

Another arena appealing to readers involves the expansion of consumer beauty magazines online. In order to engage their expanding multimedia interests, magazine editors have launched more interactive Web sites and reconfigured print content for online use. “They offer two very different experiences, and our readers enjoy both,” says Chu of Marie Claire, who’s Web site attracts 4.5 million page views per month. “Part of that is because we’ve been innovative,” she continues. “For example, we started the ‘Behind the Masthead’ podcast in January 2007. Since its inception, it has had more than three million downloads.”

Product podcasts and blogs, such as “Behind the Masthead” and More magazine’s “The Daily Glow” by Johnson, beauty and fashion director, enable editors to stay current with news and trends even before their print editions hit newsstands. In addition, such expanded Web sites give beauty brands more advertising opportunities and more chances to reach their customers.

Creating synergy between brands, magazines and their readers/consumers is an understated but valuable goal, according to Erick Schonfeld, co-editor of the TechCrunch blog (“The Future of Media,” GroundReport, July 10, 2008). Therefore, Web sites designed for readers to leave comments and discuss products will flourish more than sites without such open forums. “Media today is about a two-way conversation, and people, formerly known as the audience, want to talk back, and sometimes they want to talk with each other more than they want to consume what you’ve written,” Schonfeld says. For magazines that provide such an online outlet in a quick and convenient manner, so much the better. Schonfeld believes these publications are equipped to “stick around longer.”

Targeting Consumers

But in addition to timely content and interactive features, Web sites—as well as print and television marketing campaign co-stars—must feature “incredibly arresting” advertising, according to Chu, “in order to hold consumers’ attention.” Targeting the right consumer in the right way makes a world of difference. “For instance, Dior’s J’Adore TV commercial with Charlize Theron captured the spirit of the fragrance,” she says. “Also, the first series of viral Web ads by Dove—the making up of a real woman to photo-ready standards—inspired conversation and was extremely effective and innovative at the time.”