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Better Homes and Gardens editor Julia Zaetta talks 2018 plans

The print product is the most-read on-stand monthly magazine in Australia

There are three types of Christmas people, according to the long-standing editor of Better Homes and Gardens, Julia Zaetta.

There are the “Christmas creatives”, who “begin all their Christmas planning and making in October”. The month of November is for the “traditionalists”. They are the people who begin getting organised and tend to “do much the same every year with a few twists here and there”. The third group of people is the “last-minute maniacs”. They start to prepare for the big holiday in mid-December.

Zaetta admitted to being a member of the last category. “We spend more money than anybody and we’ve done very little planning.”

The Better Homes and Gardens magazine started publishing content related to the festive season from its October issue to cater to the three categories of “Christmas people”.

The print product is the most-read on-stand monthly magazine in Australia. In the 12 months to November 2017, Better Homes and Gardens had a readership of 2.339m (emma) and 1.728m (Roy Morgan).

The secret to its success is that the team behind it always approaches content with the mindset of “will the customers love this?”, Zaetta said.

The Better Homes and Gardens brand has always been about three things: ideas, inspiration and information.

“We rarely feature celebrities or other people in our content, unless they are featured on the TV show. We are very determined to ensure that everything that is featured on any of the Better Homes platforms is all about making the reader the star.

“We have a deep and abiding love affair with our readers,” Zaetta said.

Having been the editor of Better Homes and Gardens for just under 40 years, Zaetta has seen the brand evolve into the superpower it is today. However, she is not ready to let it rest on its laurels just yet. “I still believe there are many more things we can do with BH&G, because we do have this love affair with our customers. I say this pretty genuinely, having been around forever.”

The focus for BH&G in 2018

1. Better Homes and Gardens Shop

The brand will be looking to expand its e-commerce offering next year. Launched a few years ago, the Better Homes and Gardens Shop features products that fall into these 10 categories: Craft, knit & crochet, cushions & throws, decorative accents, outdoor, gardening, better wine, and home.

“We want to expand the offering with things that people can only get exclusively on the Better Homes and Gardens Shop,” Zaetta said. “We have some big plans for that.”

2. Expand on travel content

“Better Homes and Gardens customers are travellers. We are hoping to extend our travel offering to them, because we know they love getting out there,” Zaetta said. She is currently working on a cruising special, which will be about 24 pages long.

3. Unifying the TV, digital and print team

A key strength of the Better Homes and Gardens brand is that it has a strong presence on television, digital and print. The TV show gives the magazine a lot of video content to play with. However, the team working behind each of the platforms is divided, Zaetta said. “We will be working on becoming one department of content producers.”

Asked if there will be any staff cuts as a result of this process, Zaetta said: “Oh good God! I hope there will be more people here. No casualties. If we can make this happen that will be a gorgeous thing.”

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