Meet Sunday Life Editorial Director,
"Our Philosophy has always been to celebrate women & their achievements."
Pat Ingram, Editorial Director of Sunday Life, is arguably one of the best-known names in the history of Australian magazine publishing, up there with the likes of Ita Buttrose, Kerry Packer and Nene King.
Now “a million years after those heady days”, Ingram’s words, not ours, when the Paper Giants ruled the roost, Ingram admits she still loves being back on the tools editing a single title.
For women of all ages
What makes Sunday Life readers unique is that they are a broad demographic – young women in their 20s to women 60-plus, from singles to those in relationships, mothers and grandmothers, high-income earners and the more budget-conscious. But what they have in common is a shared love of reading fascinating profiles, thought-provoking content about love and life, and keeping across the latest trends in fashion, beauty, health, home, food and travel.
Competition in publishing is everywhere these days, Ingram says, even more so as we ease out of the pandemic. But with that competition comes discipline and the need to make bold, fast decisions.
Redefining me-time reading
Sunday Life has made significant changes to its content during the pandemic.
Ingram says: “We have retained all our editorial pillars, such as fashion, beauty, food home and health and the like, but we tailored them to fit the climate and the changing lifestyles of readers. For example, we focused our food pages more on easy family meals, our home pages on ways to update and accommodate working from home, and how to refresh the home environment.”
Similarly, Ingram says the magazine has skewed its health offering to focus more on mental health and exercise, and the beauty pages to at-home treatments.
“We encouraged our big band of high-profile regular columnists such as Jo Stanley, Brooke Boney, Dr Susan Carland, Kerri Sackville and Kathy Lette to share their pandemic experiences. And we have reinforced our commitment to being a me-time treat for our readers,” Ingram points out.
It would appear that Sunday Life’s changes have been resonating. Great readership growth across the last two quarters saw the title hit 510,000 in the latest Roy Morgan numbers.
With digital drivers keeping society obsessed with the next new thing, how has weekend publishing remained exciting after all these years?
“It’s still the thrill of producing a tactile experience,” says Ingram. “We have a sophisticated readership, and the feel of the magazine is very important. We have also upped our number of regular columnists, so readers keep getting fresh voices, while mixing up the comfort of familiarity with seasonal themed issues.
“For example, we introduced new special themed issues such as Winter Reading where we showcase leading fiction writers. We have teamed up with Good Food to produce a monthly special food section, which runs the first Sunday of every month with Sunday Life. And we’ve made our beauty and home-style pages more product-focused in line with the online shopping boom.
“As we celebrate 25 years of publishing in 2022, more special issues will mark this milestone, offering brands great go-slow content that can be leveraged to tap into our readers’ Sunday state of mind.”
Closing the loop: From tactile experience to digital driver
“Last year we had some exciting and successful executions in conjunction with our advertising partners such as Mecca and Blackmores. Travel is another area where we expect to see greater involvement as the industry strengthens post-pandemic,” says Ingram.
“We will also innovate the way in which we help to connect the offline experience with the digital world. At last year’s Nine Upfront event, Sunday Life announced the launch of ‘shop the page’, using the simplicity of the QR code to enable instant access to retail outlets from the magazine spreads to drive retail dollars.”
A Cover Star Tells and Sells a magazine
One thing that has never changed since newsstands dictated what people choose to read is the power of the cover star. The Sunday Life cover philosophy has always been to celebrate women and their achievements.
Ingram says: “We have broadened the range over time to reveal more women in the arts, film, literature, opera and ballet, as well as sport and politics. From Julie Bishop, Alice Pung and Deborah Mailman to Ajak Deng, we put women of all ages on the cover. From young achievers to older women. It’s about striking the right balance on who is going to intrigue, excite and garner the reader’s attention. What worked one month won’t necessarily work the next. It’s all about timing.”
With Pat Ingram at the helm, and a quarter of a century under its belt, perhaps Sunday Life’s greatest work is yet to come.