Interview: Lisa Benenson

Lisa Benenson was formerly editor-in-chief of Working Mother and Working Woman, as well as the editorial director and VP for the magazines' parent company, Working Woman Network.

Lisa Benenson was formerly editor-in-chief of Working Mother and Working Woman, as well as the editorial director and VP for the magazines' parent company, Working Woman Network.

She has also served as a reporter and editor at other magazines and newspapers. She spoke to PRWeek about Hallmark's foray into the magazine world.

PRWeek: How long has Hallmark been out on newsstands?

Lisa Benenson: We are coming up on our one-year anniversary. We published our first issue in September/October 2006. We're bimonthly, so we've completed our first six issues, and we're working on the seventh now.

PRWeek: How does your title differentiate itself from competitors?

Benenson: [It] really builds itself off the incredible heritage [of] this 100-year-old company. We're all about service with a story.

We need to take [readers] beyond simple how-tos and into why you want to do something...

The magazine is built in five discrete sections: Inspire, Renew, Nest, Connect, and Nourish. Its structure is a bit more like a newspaper than a magazine because each section is very content-rich.

PRWeek: What are the demographics of your readership?

Benenson: Our target reader's median age is 43, with a household income of more than $78,000. Sixty-eight percent are married, and 48% have kids.

PRWeek: Is the space competitive?

Benenson: It's incredibly competitive. For anyone [else] to [develop] another women's lifestyle magazine would probably not have been the best business move, but we have Hallmark behind us. [It] has an enormous number of things it brings to the table that we can leverage.

PRWeek: How is the Web changing the business there?

Benenson: I think the Internet's impact on online businesses in general - and online magazines in particular - has been remarkable.

[Of course,] it depends on the magazine. Certainly for Time and other news magazines, they don't break news anymore. For [titles] like Hallmark, it has opened up a huge range of new opportunities.

[The Web] really allows the print magazine to engage more with readers. It [lets us] create a dialogue that wasn't there and extend our editorial philosophy and our formula to a broader audience... [It's a big] advantage for us because we have this gigantic e-commerce engine of Hallmark.com [that] we get all the benefit of.

PRWeek: Any advice for PR folks who'd like to see their clients mentioned in your publication?

Benenson: Be good reporters. When a press release comes in and it's clear [the writer did his or her] homework and is providing me with valuable information, [it will] stay on my desk instead of going into the circular file.

Name: Lisa Benenson

Outlet: Hallmark magazine

Title: Editor-in-chief

Preferred contact method: editors@hallmark.com

Web site: hallmarkmagazine.com

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