Meet the Journalist: Woman & Home's Kath Brown

Meet the Journalist: Woman & Home’s Kath Brown

Kath Brown, editor at Woman & Home, tells us why the brand has initiated its 50 over 50 Awards and why now is the best time in history to be a woman over 50.

Since becoming editor last September, what changes have you made to the magazine?

My main aim since taking over Woman & Home has been to make it more modern and youthful because that’s exactly what this audience now is. Our goal is to be the voice of the modern grown up woman, the go to destination for women over 40 and commercial partners who want to talk to her.

This demographic has been evolving for the last few years and is now at a seminal moment. Today, midlife women are very different to the generations before them and age is meaningless. Kate Moss is 43. Davina is 50. Dawn French is 60. Over the hill? Invisible? Not anymore.

Women are feeling their power and flexing their economic muscle – they have way more disposable income than any other demographic – and I wanted us to be at the heart of that. Our covers and art direction have been given a modern refresh and there are more inspiring lifestyle pages particularly in fashion, beauty and homes.

We understand that a magazine like ours is a luxury item at £4.50 and we make sure it is jammed packed with original, relevant content that our audience will love.

What are the Amazing Women 50 over 50 Awards? Why have you launched them?

When I first took over as editor and started working with the team, we talked a lot about how to position ourselves. No one wants to be pigeonholed and the barriers of age are totally blurred. But on the flip side of that, we didn’t want to hide the fact that we are unashamedly aimed at midlife women.

The language to define this market has been difficult in the past – middle aged, menopausal, mature… not the sexiest of descriptions. So, we are all about owning it. We’re 50 and we’re proud. We’re not anti ageing, we’re pro ageing and that’s why we launched the Amazing Women Awards 50 over 50 – to celebrate the sheer brilliance of this generation.

There are truly inspiring grown up women everywhere these days – in politics, fashion, the police force, on TV. And while compiling Woman & Home we discover awesome ladies working in their local communities, setting up successful businesses and generally holding up the world. We think they all deserve awards actually.

Can you give a brief overview of your team, including who does what?

The Woman & Home team is small but brilliant. My deputy is the amazing Miranda McMinn who oversees features and looks after commercial. We call her the ideas guru and she is a master at tone of voice.

Also on features is Charlotte Williamson – the best features editor in the business. Our celebrity director is Nathalie Whittle, queen of the last minute cover shoot and associate editor (health and wellbeing) is Jane Druker.

Dave Dowding is creative director and he creates beautiful layouts with Katherine Stock, senior art editor, and Katie Harris, senior designer. Chief sub is Emma Badger and her deputy is Carly Rigley. In pictures we have Emma Smith and Louise Connolly and last, but most certainly not least, there’s the lifestyle team:

  • Fashion: Julia Morgan, Charlie Moore, Samantha Rnic and Lydia Taylor
  • Beauty: Rosie Green and Fiona McKim
  • Food: Jane Curran.
  • Interiors: Jennifer Morgan

What are important things to consider when you produce content for the title’s audience of women over 50?

They’ve read it all before, so tell them something new and inspiring. In recent research we found our readers love our inspiring, positive, intelligent tone of voice – they expect nothing less than brilliant journalism so we have signed up some fantastic names like Allison Pearson and Anna Murphy.

Our women have cash to spend, but they want advice on spending it wisely. So, edited choice in fashion, beauty, travel, homes etc is hugely important. They have no problem shopping in Aldi for the award winning champagne (well why wouldn’t you?) but they’re also quite happy to splash out on an amazing holiday in Vietnam if we say it’s brilliant.

Are there any specific content areas which are very popular with your readers?

Yes. Fashion and beauty are both hugely popular because this woman wants to look modern and glamorous. She is also mad about travel (with family and girlfriends) and loves to read features about inspiring women who are achieving great things.

Health is a big area because she’s the gatekeeper to her whole family’s wellbeing (millennial kids, small kids, husband, older parents… she’s in charge of it all). Food and interiors are also important. She loves to entertain and show off her stylish home and great cooking skills. I mustn’t forget books – this woman reads up to 40 a year!

How does content vary between the magazine and your digital platforms?

The same rules apply really. All our content is very targeted to this demographic. Anyone who tells you the 50+ market isn’t digitally savvy needs to wise up. The Woman & Home audience is as highly engaged with their smartphone as everyone else and they love our content.

We have just updated our website, which receives 500,000 monthly uniques and 2.7 million UK page impressions. We have a 49% open rate on our daily newsletter (it’s so compelling I usually end up opening it myself) and we have 1.2 million Facebook followers.

We are also doing more and more experiential – our readers love to get together with like-minded people, especially when there’s Prosecco and a goody bag involved.

What is your relationship like with PRs?

PRs love Woman & Home because they know a mention either in print or online will shift product. We are a highly trusted brand and we don’t take that trust for granted. If one of our editors says something is good then it really will be.

As an example of this, we recently mentioned a personal stylist in a fashion feature. It was buried deep in the copy with no image but the stylist got several new clients as a result of it. It’s the power of Woman & Home.

Finally, when was the best time in history to be a 50+ woman?

It’s now of course! Only a few years ago women complained about becoming invisible when they hit a certain age. Well we’re not having that anymore. We are the pioneers of modern ageing and at Woman & Home we are proud to lead the charge.

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