MEDIA PROFILE: Real Simple's mission is making life easier for its audience

Whether it's sharing everyday tips to make a reader's life easier, or being among the more responsive magazines to PR pitches, two-year-old Real Simple has proven to be aptly named.

Whether it's sharing everyday tips to make a reader's life easier, or being among the more responsive magazines to PR pitches, two-year-old Real Simple has proven to be aptly named.

Real Simple has come a long way since its launch in 2000, when Martha Stewart presumptuously referred to it as "real stupid." For the past two years, the Time, Inc. publication has clearly made moves that are anything but. The not-quite-monthly (bimonthlies are done for June/July and December/January) currently boasts a circulation of 1.2 million, and was recently voted Advertising Age's Magazine of the Year. Fortunately for those trying to place their clients in this two-year-old success story, it is "very open to getting pitched with new ideas," according to Tom Prince, the magazine's executive editor, assuming the material is relevant. With no set editorial calendar, it is necessary to understand what Real Simple is all about in order to get its staff to hear you out. Statistically speaking, readers are women between the ages of 25 and 54 who have a median household income of $79,200. Eighty percent of them are college educated, 58% have professional or managerial careers, and 62% are married with children. Beyond demographics, Prince says, "The reader I envision is a smart, educated woman who has high goals for herself, but sometimes falls short. The magazine is intended to help her feel better about meeting and not meeting those goals." Products designed to help women do just that are featured throughout the publication, and are probably the best bet for getting placement. As the title indicates, all contents of the magazine are meant to simplify life for readers in one way or another. Products that make it onto the pages are ones that "save time, space, or money," according to Prince. Exclusives are not required, but being offered a product or service first increases chances for placement. The magazine is divided into various sections, all aimed at offering simple solutions in the areas of beauty, clothes, etiquette, food, and home. The Organizer, for example, is a regular section in which tips are given on how to get a room, handbag, or area under the sink in order. Your pitch should be targeted using common sense: If you have an idea or product that can help with organizing closets, it would make the most sense to pitch the style (Elizabeth Mayhew) or home (Jane Burdon) editor. Alice Leeds, president of Alice Whitman Leeds and communications director for the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) organization, describes Real Simple as "pretty responsive." She pitched the magazine on her client, International Decor New York, for a luncheon being held on October 16 to introduce a series of prints made from valuable engravings. "Our main target was home magazines," says Leeds. After originally e-mailing a media list announcing the luncheon to associate home editor Christine Camean, Leeds followed up with two phone calls before she received a call back. Camean ended up sending a reporter to the event, which Leeds recognizes "was impressive, considering there ended up being a Nor'easter that day." The back sections of the magazine are less product-focused. These are also open to pitching, but Prince warns, "If there is even a whiff of commercialism, we tend to reject it." How They Live and Wise Woman are two opportunities for PR pros to get clients themselves, and not just a client's products, onto Real Simple's pages. This might even be an opportunity to get yourself a little press, too. This issue's Wise Woman is Lisa Eggerton, a PR executive from Magnet Communications in San Francisco. Both sections highlight real people who have something interesting to offer about everyday life. Prince explains, "We're looking for people who the reader would want to be." Editors of specific beats are listed on the masthead, and Prince says it is acceptable to pitch him directly. Citing a six-week lead-time, he says he prefers to be pitched by standard US Mail because "faxes tend to get lost, and I end up having to just print out the e-mails I receive." He acknowledges, however, that the method is slightly outdated, and says his second choice is to receive e-mails. All of the editors' addresses follow the same format - Prince warns that he never has time to be pitched over the phone. On the whole, Real Simple is approachable about new ideas, and is not overly particular about how and to whom information is delivered. It is determined, however, to keep its mission of saving time, space, and money for its readers consistent. Although it is evident from just briefly flipping through the magazine, Prince goes out of his way to remind pitchers that the publication is not about celebrities. "We like to be somewhat driven by the news, but we do not fall victim to hype. We don't want to be the tenth magazine this month that talks about Madonna's new movie." ------------ Contact list Real Simple Address 1271 Ave. of the Americas, 41st floor, New York, NY 10020 Tel/Fax (212) 522-1212/467-1398 Fax (212) 687-5222 Web E-mail Managing editor Carrie Tuhy Executive editor Tom Prince Style director Elizabeth Mayhew Home editor Jane Burdon News editor Lesley Alderman

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