Hearst Takes Voice to Heart & Gives The Pioneer Woman Her Own Magazine

A series of voice-focused trends are beginning to evolve within Hearst’s magazine arm

This week at Hearst, it was announced that they will be using a new Food Network persona to diversify their magazine brand by giving them their own magazine, a trend we expect will grow with more Food Network personas. Women’s Wear Daily writes:

Hearst Magazines and Scripps Network Interactive have entered into a joint-venture deal to launch The Pioneer Woman, a new glossy with Food Network star Ree Drummond.

The first issue of the magazine will debut in June and it will be edited by Food Network Magazine editor in chief Maile Carpenter. Hearst said it will introduce two issues in 2017. It could not be determined what the frequency will be long-term, but in previous magazine launches, Hearst tends to test out the glossy before ramping up full-scale.

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The magazine is based on Drummond’s web site, The Pioneer Woman blog, which she started in 2006. The site picked up steam and Drummond found herself working with Food Network to launch her own show, also of the same name, in 2011. Her popularity has led to a cookware, dinnerware and home products line with Wal-Mart, which opened last month. She also recently opened The Mercantile, an eatery, bakery and general store near her ranch in Oklahoma.

WWD notes that “Hearst entered into a partnership with Scripps in 2008 and through that relationship, the companies have launched Food Network Magazine and HGTV Magazine.” But the formula is tried and true for Hearst, “which has also developed magazines around Oprah Winfrey with O, the Oprah Magazine…and Dr Oz: The Good Life. The company inked a deal last year with Lena Dunham to distribute her newsletter called Lenny Letter.”

This next move in the play for leveraging personal brands as magazines comes after Good Housekeeping’s Jane Francisco has been put at the helm to head up Hearst’s LifeStyle Group with the goal of modernizing women’s magazines. Her new role will really come to fruition with a new team in January, but it’s clear that everything above and below is related to a new branding shift and expansion into more defined female voices.

According to another article in WWD,

“Under the new lifestyle group, Francisco will oversee Meredith Rollins, Redbook editor in chief, and Woman’s Day editor in chief Susan Spencer. Francisco told WWD that her “mission” is to work with the current teams and create her own group that will “deliver content that has a distinct voice.”

“I think those other brands have a distinct personality that has evolved,” Francisco said of Redbook and Woman’s Day. “When Elle Décor, Veranda and House Beautiful [the design group] were put together, they had one marketing team…they had very specific direction from each of brands. Hearst was able to be more efficient and reduce overlap and create more unique content for each of the three brands.

We’re seeing more and more magazine publishing companies grow their brands with new products, and Hearst is certainly taking a tried and true route of putting popular brand personas front and center.


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