Media: Why Tatler is becoming 'frisky'

'I want Tatler to be the most fun girl at the party, not the rich cow you want to slap,' says the magazine's new editor Kate Reardon, as she explains her vision for the monthly magazine.

The first edition of Tatler under Reardon's control comes out this month.

While it is not a dramatic departure from the magazine's previous direction, Reardon is determined to bring a sense of humour to Tatler's glamour and fashion focus. For PR executives, this means adding a witty angle to a pitch for coverage in the high-end title.

Reardon replaced Catherine Ostler as editor in January, following 11 years as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. It is Reardon's second stint on Tatler, after becoming fashion editor aged just 21.

In the 21 years since her original appointment, Tatler has continued to serve an extremely privileged readership; they have the highest average household income of any magazine, at £122,746.

The magazine's bread and butter is fashion, exclusive features and the social lives of the well-to-do. Reardon says these staples will stay: 'If you hate Tatler, then you hate the social side of it, and there's nothing I can do to change that. If you love Tatler, you love the social side of it.' Instead, she says, she will make the magazine more 'frisky'.

'Imagine a diagram of two circles. One is glamorous, the other is funny and Tatler is the shaded area in the middle. We believe it is our job to entertain,' says Reardon.

But the humour will not be moronic or bitchy. 'It will be a place where clever people read funny things. If we are going to be writing about enormously privileged people, then we need to do it without any pretensions, snobbery or snootiness,' she adds.

For Reardon, the hallmarks of a good PR pitch are an awareness of the readers and a degree of wit. Stories have to be exclusive, funny and glamorous. Fashion and people stories will make the cut.

'Tatler is unique for intelligent, sophisticated style and glamour. The party pages are my guilty pleasure,' says Fearnhurst PR MD Sam Fearn. 'The magazine is about fashion, society and celebrity, so content needs to be new and interesting,' she says, adding that PROs need to be familiar with the three-month lead times.

Both Fearn and Charlie Pearson, founder of The Lifestyle Agency, agree a targeted pitch is crucial.

'Tatler is still the bible of style and is one of the holy grails for PROs and clients alike,' says Pearson. 'Society and notoriety are its words "de jour", but if you want coverage, my advice is simple: homework, homework, homework. Know the magazine from back to front.'

Broad-brush approaches will certainly not impress Reardon.

'If PROs can't be arsed to find out who is the relevant section editor, then they are not doing their job very well,' she warns.

Quick facts

Circulation: 87,258 (Source: ABC, July-December 2010)

Readers: 21 per cent are under 24 years of age; 44 per cent are over 45 (Source: NRS, July 2009-June 2010)

Deadlines: At least three months in advance

Publisher: Conde Nast

Contact: Belle Rice PA to editor and editorial assistant; belle.rice@condenast.co.uk or phone 020 7499 9080

A MINUTE WITH ... Kate Reardon, editor, Tatler

- Who reads Tatler?

Our readers collectively spend £165m a year on fashion, £128m on travel and £17m on jewellery and watches. On average, they take five holidays a year and have two homes, according to a TGI 2009-10 survey. The average age is 40, which is six years younger than Harper's Bazaar. But 21 per cent of our readership is under 24 and 44 per cent is over 45. Tatler is a magazine for a type of person, not a certain age.

- What advice do you have for PROs trying to pitch to Tatler?

The most important thing for PROs is to read the magazine before they phone or send an email. It is faintly insulting to be sent a general pitch that you know would work in 21 different magazines. It does not warm one's heart. If a PRO spends time crafting a pitch for Tatler, we are more likely to be flattered into submission.

- To whom should PROs pitch - and when?

Look at the masthead for contact details. Pitching me directly is largely a waste of time.

I am not being snobby, but I have a tsunami of emails every day, so it is more likely to get lost in my inbox. Contact us three months ahead.

- What about your website?

I have a cunning plan to improve our website. I am unable to give details yet, but I am stamping my feet to make it happen faster.

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