But Karen Livermore, Woman's editor, insists the research, and relaunch, was audience driven rather than 'a panic over sales figures'.
PROs have welcomed the new look. Boudoir PR MD, Sally-Anne Stevens, says: 'This is certainly a progression for the title. The increase of fashion and beauty product placement broadens the demographic significantly while maintaining the core values of Woman.'
The research, involving 120 women, helped the editorial team gauge exactly what women want. For PROs there are opportunities in the new sections of the magazine. As Livermore says: 'I talk to agencies and PROs all the time. I'm very interested in new things and ask them to take a fresh look at the title.'
The core readership remains 35- to 65-year-old women who are feisty, like to have fun and shop. Readers put their family first, but do not want to be defined by their family, Livermore says.
'The magazine aims to do the legwork for readers. We have recipes that work for different moods, for health we have news, ideas and solutions. It's very pragmatic and talks to the readers the way you'd talk to a friend over coffee.'
The tone of the magazine has also been revamped. The title now adopts a very can-do attitude on its pages that tries to empower readers. Reader and celeb stories are still dramatic, but they now have to end with a positive resolution to make the Woman grade. Any gossip has to be fun and playful, not malicious, and readers are not to be pigeon-holed.
Livermore says: 'Life can be tough at the moment and some magazines pull women apart and put women down, but our readers want a positive take.'
Halpern MD Jennifer Burner agrees that the new approach achieves its aims: 'The division of the publication into "your life" and "your time" makes it easy for readers to digest each section. The tone of voice throughout is empowering, with key headline and sub-sections using language that appeals to "girl power".'
The pages of the magazine may have been overhauled, but online Woman remains a presence hosted on IPC Media's Good to Know website and a Facebook page.
Livermore explains: 'At the moment we are really just concentrating on print. I think everyone is aware of multi-platforms, you can't ignore that. But it's not our focus at the moment. All the rest comes next.'
PROs warn, however, that the title may be missing a trick in not having its own bespoke website. Burner argues: 'More emphasis could be placed on this front,' and Stevens adds: 'The concern for every print title is the consumer thirst for online media.'
Price: 92 pence
Circulation: 309,878 (ABCs Jul-Dec 2010)
Publisher: IPC Media
Lifestyle: Cath Brown
Fashion: Caroline Baxter
Beauty: Katie Corcoran
Food: Mitzie Wilson
Travel: Charlotte Richard
A MINUTE WITH ... KAREN LIVERMORE, EDITOR, WOMAN
- What are the PR opportunities?
'Supermarket Checkout' covers deals on everything from food to fashion. 'Bloke at the back' is with a male celeb. He doesn't have to be tall, dark and handsome, but he has to have something interesting about him. 'Don't tell me I can't' is where we profile readers who refuse to be pigeonholed. 'Weekend' looks at theatre, concerts, music, radio, books and excursions.
- Why is there more fashion in the magazine?
There are now between 11 and 13 pages of fashion and we have a huge fashion team on board. The emphasis is on how it works for you and about being fashion confident. It all comes back to understanding your reader, what they want, and what they're willing to try.
- How can PROs get in touch?
PROs should contact section editors direct on a Tuesday, when planning for the following week is done. But if it's a lifestyle idea, these pages go to press three weeks before publication. News is written on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Of what should PROs be aware?
We're not looking at things that are too young for our audience - we won't be interested in an interview with a teen celeb. However, we would be interested in the JLS tour, for example, because our readers would go to that with their daughters.