Good Weekend is the longest-running, well-read newspaper inserted magazine in the country – found inside The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. The lift-out has close to a million readers who’ve received quality content on weekends for more than three decades. The editor of the weekly title Katrina Strickland spoke to Mediaweek about what content receives the strongest reception, recent highlights for the brand, and plans for a podcast launching next month.
Strickland explained how they write definitive stories on the people, places and issues that matter to Australians. “These longform features are the heart and soul of the magazine,” said Strickland. “Augmenting them are humourous shorter columns by the likes of Danny Katz, Benjamin Law, Amelia Lester and Paul Connolly; recipes and reviews to help readers decide what to cook and where to eat out on the weekend; tips on how to style your home and plan your next holiday; and our two most-loved columns, The Two of Us and The Quiz.”
Strickland said Good Weekend’s readers love stories that go to the heart of who we are as Australians, how we live and where we’re going. She said they can be profiles or trend stories, great sagas or huge injustices. They can be serious, funny or heart-wrenching.
“The ones that get the greatest response tend to be stories in which the people featured have been through something significant – so there’s a compelling story trajectory, a lot of human emotion, and lessons or life changes out of it. Our readers also love a really strong political profile.”
Good Weekend has an almost even male/female split among readers. Strickland said: “The majority are A/B social demographic, about 64% are tertiary educated and their household income is 28% higher than the average Australian household. It’s a mass market magazine with a premium readership, a rarity in the market.”
Strickland shared some of the brand’s recent highlights. On the Australia Day weekend, they did a 16-page bushfires wraparound which featured the best photographs The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age photojournalists had taken of the bushfires. “This was conceived and put together in little more than a week, against a very tight deadline. The photographs in the wrap, and many others, were then sold through Nine’s The Store, with profits going to the rural fire services of Victoria and NSW, and WIRES. The wrap received an incredible response, with some readers buying multiple copies of the magazine, others sending copies to friends and family overseas, and one reader buying a copy of every single photo in the wrap.”
Strickland also highlighed the number of journalism awards the magazine’s writers have won over the past year. “Melissa Fyfe for her story on the Melbourne doctor who mapped the clitoris; Tim Elliott for stories on smoking’s new frontier, the anti-vaxxer movement and the Wentworth by-election; Amanda Hooton for stories on the vaginal mesh disaster and on the banking royal commission; Konrad Marshall for a series of profiles on sports people; and Mick Barnes for his moving piece on life in a retirement home. These awards underline the quality of writers in our stable, and their ability to pick topics that resonate.”
Strickland said the brand plans to launch Good Weekend Talks in March. “For this weekly podcast a feature story from the magazine will be read out loud, followed by a Q&A style conversation between myself, the writer of the story and another expert in the field.” Strickland revealed they hope to augment this with live events, also staged under the Good Weekend Talks banner, throughout the year.
“Another plan we are working towards is doing The Quiz Live events in both Sydney and Melbourne. We will also launch 52 Best Wineries mid-year, a list of the best wineries across Australia and New Zealand by respected wine writer Huon Hooke and his team at The Real Review. But most importantly – in terms of plans for 2020 – our main focus will remain on publishing quality features that get Australia talking.”
Top Photo: Katrina Strickland, editor of Good Weekend