Editor's Desk: Isobel McKenzie-Price, editorial director, housetohome.co.uk and Ideal Home

Ideal Home, a monthly homes magazine that has been running since 1920, has just undergone a major relaunch. PRWeek asks the editor about the changes.

Isobel McKenzie-Price: Ideal Home editor
Isobel McKenzie-Price: Ideal Home editor

What changes have you made to the title and why?
We’ve gone for a basement-to-roof renovation. Everything is different – the structure, the design, the typography, the cover and even the logo. We did several stages of research, and got some amazing and very directional feedback. For example, we received an overwhelmingly positive response to a more contemporary serif type style logo, with the same provenance as Look and Grazia.

Who reads Ideal Home?
Anyone who loves their home because they see it as the backdrop for all the best things in their life; kids, family, friends, their personal quality time. The magazine is not about any particular style. It’s about helping you showcase your own personal style in a contemporary way.

How does your online offering fit in with the magazine?
Ideal Home has been a great springboard for launching our online homes network, which includes housetohome.co.uk, now one of the biggest homes content sites in the UK. The network comprises brand websites, directories and blogs all under a parent portal. Magazines and web are a great combination – print is a pure tactile luxury, while online is brilliant at offering a breadth of choice when you’re looking for personalized info, right here, right now.

What is your relationship like with PR professionals?
Without great PRs we just couldn’t do our job, especially with the explosion of new ideas and products to keep track of. The best PRs are the ones who keep close to my department heads and really get to know what they’re looking for, so they can give us an edited selection that saves us time and legwork.

How can PR professionals best work with the magazine?
The key to getting coverage with us is to understand what our brands are about, and give us ideas that are appropriate for our consumers. Less really is more, when you’re rushing to pull together products for an interiors shoot, or hunting for that perfect kitchen makeover. Instant access to images and info is vital for us too, particularly online where we’re creating new content every day. I’m glad more PRs are using social networking tools now, but there’s still a lot of unexploited opportunity out there. Twitter is a key driver for us right now, but not as many PRs are using it as I would expect.

What are your own personal media must-haves
I wake up to the Today Programme, although I do hate the way the UK news media cheerily focuses on sensationalist trivia whilst our economy and personal freedoms are being dismantled in the background. I worked in New York for three years, and much prefer their newsprint style. I’m a tech junkie, so my top relaxation site is CNET.com. For homes inspiration, I love blogs; I think Ideal Home’s homeshoppingspy and housetohome.co.uk’s roomenvy are brilliant; their editors have evolved them into very personal takes on the interiors world. I grew up on a farm in Suffolk, which explains my biker-girl addiction to rock – my secret vice is Muse. My can’t-miss TV shows are Doctor Who and Mad Men. You wouldn’t catch me dead in front of a Strictly or Anything on Ice. I’m a huge podcast fan and never miss the BBC’s In Our Time, or the hilarious Radio Free Skaro – I like to commune with my fellow Doctor Who fanatics on a daily basis.

Circulation: 187,322, Jul-Dec 2009 ABC
Contact: individual_editors@ipcmedia.com or ideal_home@ipcmedia.com

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