Trish Halpin, editor-in-chief at Marie Claire, discusses the magazine’s 30th birthday issue, how the publication has changed over three decades and how PRs can work with the title.
Today sees the release of the 30th birthday issue of Marie Claire. What is the secret behind the magazine’s longevity?
When Marie Claire launched in 1988 it was the first women’s glossy to combine thought provoking features with aspirational fashion and beauty. Global reportage stories, investigative reports and features about empowering women the world over was really quite ground breaking at the time.
While the editorial delivery has evolved over the three decades, we’ve stayed true this DNA, and gender equality, the rights of women and girls, finding success as well as purpose in your career and life are still as relevant today as they were then.
I’m hearing the phrase ‘brands with purpose’ everywhere at the moment, and I don’t think that anyone would deny Marie Claire has been a brand with purpose for the last thirty years.
Are there any special features you’ve commissioned to celebrate the milestone?
Yes we commissioned a series of conversations between high profile women to tackle the topics that we’re all talking about.
A couple of examples are “Guilty Feminist” Deborah Frances White and comedian Aisling Bea discussing friendship and feminism; MIA and journalist Deeyah Khan on race and identity, while shoe designers Charlotte Olympia and Sophia Webster share their experiences of building their businesses and brands while having seven babies between them along the way.
I also travelled to Ghana with my 14-year-old daughter Esme to meet young girls who are doing their best to stay in school despite poverty and teenage pregnancy. For me, girls’ rights and education are the most important issues Marie Claire has championed over the past 30 years.
The landscape has changed dramatically for women over the past 30 years, how have these changes shaped your editorial strategy?
Well, it has and it hasn’t. Yes the world looks like a very different place because we see so much of it now via the digital landscape, we travel more etc. But as I mentioned before, there is still so much inequality, a continuing lack of diversity, plus a very tough economy and political uncertainty so our readers still want us to tackle those issues.
A very big change of course is how women are consuming media and engaging with brands. While print remains at the heart of Marie Claire, we are reaching a growing audience of like-minded women through a number of different channels, our digital and social platforms, experiential events like our careers conference Future Shapers Live; beauty shopping via our Fabled by Marie Claire website and store; and in the next few weeks we’ll be launching a new fashion shopping portal called The Marie Claire Edit.
Has the magazine’s audience changed over the past three decades? What is the combination of loyal, long-time readers and those who are discovering the brand?
Today we are looking less at age demographics and more at the shared values and outlook of our audience. I recently received a letter (an actual handwritten letter no less) from a woman in her 60s who bought the very first copy of Marie Claire and is still reading it today, and I had a tweet from a 30 year old reader who told me she loves the magazine because it shows how multi-faceted modern women are.
What is your relationship like with PRs? How do you and the team like to work with them?
PRs are crucial to the work we do at Marie Claire and establishing good, long standing relationships is really important to us.
I really like it when I see that a PR has thought about why the brand they are promoting is right for Marie Claire, what the angle of the story could be or reference a similar feature that you’ve seen in the magazine, particularly if they don’t already have a connection with us.
We hate being bombarded with random items in lots of packaging that will clearly never make it into the magazine or website, so I’d much rather PRs saved the money (and planet).
Finally, if there is one celebrity or influencer who embodies Marie Claire‘s outlook on life, who would it be?
It has to be our 30th birthday cover star Jodie Whittaker! Becoming the first female Doctor Who is really big deal and I think she’s going to be such a great role model for girls and women everywhere. She’s a brilliant actress, a real professional but also really down to earth, warm and friendly in person too.
- Picture credit: Tracey Griffin