Good Housekeeping: A national treasure that still sparkles

'In good times people love Good Housekeeping, in hard times they depend on it.' That is the motto of a magazine deemed so important to the nation's survival that in World War Two, it was relocated to a castle in Wales and given rationed paper stocks to continue printing.

Good Housekeeping: new trends
Good Housekeeping: new trends

Good Housekeeping is Britain's biggest-selling monthly magazine for women aged 25 and above. Outselling Vogue by almost two to one (ABC figures), the magazine launched in 1922 and shows no sign of stopping despite the recession. PR professionals rate its influence as being on a par with The Sunday Times Style supplement.

The title relaunched this month, with a sharp new look and denser articles, although the basic format remains largely unchanged. Editor Lindsay Nicholson, who rejoined at the end of last year, says: 'We are a general interest title aiming to inspire, inform and entertain. Most importantly we are backed by the Good Housekeeping Institute - a research facility that allows us to carry out independent testing on consumer products.'

This facility is what helps Good Housekeeping stand out from the crowd of women's titles. It offers genuinely impartial advice to 'ABC1, influential women readers aged around 50 - although more than half of our circulation are women in their thirties who stay with us for years,' says Nicholson.

'Our readers like facts,' she continues. 'So long as it is fact-based, there is no subject we will not cover. Our independent testing of sex toys was a magazine first that made headlines around the world.'

The PR community is gushing in its praise for Good Housekeeping and its myriad opportunities. Juliet Addington, director at luxury travel specialist Scarlett PR, who successfully pitched a spa holiday to the team, says: 'Good Housekeeping is a much-loved and trusted publication that has pioneered the way in keeping up with trends.' On the pioneering theme, the handbag-sized format favoured by Glamour in the early noughties was actually first used by Good Housekeeping during its World War Two castle days.

The magazine is not just about spa retreats, recipes and flowery fashions, however. James Rowe, press officer at tech retailer Firebox.com, worked with the publication on solar-powered gadgets. He advises: 'The magazine's readers are women interested in innovation. We always receive a great response when our products feature in the magazine.'

Coverage in the magazine's guides is a great way to achieve an instant stamp of approval.

'Good Housekeeping's Christmas Gift Guide is a trusted brand that will always be viewed as a leader,' points out freelance PRO Fran Pearce. 'Good Housekeeping is to magazines what Delia Smith is to cooking.'

Circulation 425,407 (ABC figures, 1 July-31 December 2008)
Frequency Monthly
Publisher The National Magazine Company
Cover price £3.40
Contact Editor lindsay.nicholson@natmags.co.uk

 

A minute with... Lindsay Nicholson, editor, Good Housekeeping

Lindsay Nicholson, editor, Good HousekeepingWhat sets Good Housekeeping apart from its rivals?

Trust and integrity. If we recommend a product, we do it from a position of authority, not because our ad team thinks it will sell pages. No other women's magazine has a research institute, so none can offer readers the service we supply.

Why have you relaunched?

Good Housekeeping is now tight, sharp and dense. Conventional magazine design with 'creative use of white space' suddenly seems as relevant as bankers' bonuses. I want a magazine that reflects the way we think and feel now. Getting more information on the page also seems more ecologically responsible.

Describe your relationship with PROs

We entertain PROs in our Good Housekeeping Institute dining room, so contact is frequent. I suggest they develop a relationship with the relevant department head; offer fact-based information; bear in mind our long lead times and remember we weren't born yesterday.

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