Marie Claire, which saw readership slump by nearly ten per cent in the past year, is doing just that. A research project was carried out earlier this year to discover what educated women aged 25 and over really wanted from a magazine – and the title was revamped accordingly.
For a women’s title, Marie Claire is surprisingly hard-hitting and PR professionals who dismiss it as more glossy ‘fluff’ are in for a surprise.
New editor-in-chief Trish Halpin says the magazine is read by intelligent women who are in tune with global issues. It has gained a reputation for covering difficult topics.
The September issue followed women born into prostitution in India and their attempts to change the future for their daughters. ‘Marie Claire tackles topics other magazines would not cover,’ says Halpin. ‘It is famous for its global reportage and for giving a voice to women who otherwise would not be heard.’
The 21-year-old magazine also has an eco-tradition, although the ethical page will not feature as regularly in future, to some PR professionals’ disappointment.
Antony Waller, PR manager for fair trade fashion company People True, says: ‘It was a shame the dedicated ethical pages by Lisa Grainger were dropped. Marie Claire had a real USP. However, the relaunch issue did contain some weighty features and I hope these continue.’
Halpin counters: ‘The ethical subject is something we will cover as and when it is relevant. It is always in the back of our readers’ minds, but they do not want to be reading about it all the time.’
For fashion PR professionals, Marie Claire remains at the top of the list, despite the drop in readership. Emma Hart, director at Push PR, says: ‘All our fashion clients are very keen to gain editorial coverage in Marie Claire. The response from being featured is positive and beneficial.’
Prizes and partnerships are a useful route into Marie Clarie. EdenCancan worked with the magazine on giving away a pair of flip flops to every reader. ‘This was a great opportunity to align the brand with a major women’s consumer glossy,’ says senior account director Jonathan Kirkby.
The website attracts more than five million page impressions a month and should not be overlooked.
Halpin says: ‘The site has a lot of PR opportunites – buy of the day, competitions and reader offers.’
She is confident of Marie Claire’s survival. ‘We believe with our new look, features and ideas, we are in a strong position,’ says Halpin, adding: ‘Show me an industry that isn’t struggling at the moment.’
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A minute with... Trish Halpin, editor-in-chief, Marie Claire
Who reads Marie Claire?
Our readers are educated, stylish women aged 25 to 30-something. It is a very broad reach – they could work in anything from marketing and PR to social housing and health.
Describe your relationship with PR professionals
We work with PROs day in, day out, and could not function without them – no magazine could. But it is all about targeting your message.
PR pet peeves
I delete 50 emails a day from PROs. Why send the editor a press release about a vegetable chopper? I’m not going to read it and it drives me mad. Find out the right person to contact.
Which celebrities work well?
It is important for the cover star to look friendly. All magazines have A-list Hollywood stars on the cover. We work hard to get something different out of the celebrity. Recent cover stars are kooky and funny women, such as Eva Mendes and Maggie Gyllenhaal.