Telum Talks To: Sarah Henry, Editorial Director at Are Media New Zealand
Which publications do you work across and what topics do each cover?
They are vast and varied. Are Media is New Zealand’s largest magazine publisher. I get to be involved with content that connects with 2.6 million New Zealanders. On one side, we have the mass-market powerhouses of Woman’s Day, The Australian Women’s Weekly New Zealand Edition and the iconic New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, which cover celebrity and real life stories, as well as core lifestyle pillars such as food, fashion and health.
Then there is Your Home and Garden, our 360-degrees multi-platform home brand, which not only presents ideas and inspiration for Kiwis and their homes, but also services them right through to product purchasing with our recently launched online marketplace, Shop Your Home and Garden. Kia Ora is Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine. This premium brand covers travel, business and enterprise, alongside cultural pursuits. Rounding out the portfolio is New Zealand Listener, our current-affairs title. It is a weekly magazine and has a new premium pay-walled online site. It is not unusual for me to talk about Taylor Swift, reality TV, Prince Harry, lipstick, mammograms, feature walls, tapware trends, tropical islands, hotel amenities, government policy, and controversial health reform in a single sentence.
What does a day in the life of an Editorial Director look like?
Some days are a blur of content planning, celebrity shoots, commercial activations, advertising brief contributions, marketing initiatives, networking, launches, future strategy sessions and blue-sky thinking, while others involve report writing, P&Ls, cost analysis, IT niggles, and lunch at your desk. The beauty of media is no two days are the same and they’re never boring.
What are some highlights from your career at Are Media New Zealand?
Every single day we get to share stories from extraordinary Kiwis and after more than 20 years of doing it, I’m still blown away by that and count it as a personal highlight. With my business hat on, it would be launching this company amid the chaos of Covid, and seeing it grow and thrive thanks to the talented people who work here and give everything day in and day out. They know their audiences so well and continuously create content that not only engages their audience emotionally but also drives an action.
Which companies and industries do you most enjoy working with?
With such a wide range of brands, we work with people across the board, from the charity sector, to premium finance and luxury goods. The organisations that think outside the box and trust us to hit their objectives in the way we know works for our audiences are the most enjoyable to work with. Never underestimate the power of a good story.
What is in your journo toolbox?
Wine, botox and a sense of humour! I also love the Notes app on my phone. I often get random ideas at random times and just record them there in the moment. Some make more sense than others at the end of a week, but there is usually one gem. Monday.com is a great tool to get things done and keep everyone on track and on the same page. Contacts, contacts, contacts - knowing who to go to for the information you need is a must. Also cultivating authentic relationships with your contacts. My pet hate is being addressed “Hi lovely” when I have never met you!