"More women are going to the news stand than they were last year," said Claire Sanderson, editor in chief, Women's Health UK, speaking at the PPA Festival in London last week.

"The house of Women's Health wouldn't exist without its strong print foundation – it is the tangible product and everything basks in its glow."

The publisher has enjoyed five years of consecutive profit growth, and relies on its magazine to provide the strong core of the brand, which holds the values its audience relates to.

Sanderson explained that readers have placed their trust specifically with the print magazine, alluding to a recent survey by the Edelman Trust Barometer which found 70 per cent trust magazine media as opposed to 30 per cent trusting social, with 53 per cent of people worried about being exposed to disinformation online.

"Trust to our brand is paramount," she said.

"We are talking about their health, and so empowering them to make changes to their lifestyles requires a deep level of trust."

Once audiences trust the print product, she continued, the publisher is able to extend that relationship into social media and continue to engage with them online. This is the approach the team has followed with its new app, WH Transform, which launched last week costing £48.

The magazine's cover stars boost the publisher's presence online, as they go on to promote the edition to their own audiences.

"The social media fitness stars are shifting copies by the bucket-load – these women have a hugely engaged, fanatical following of millions," she said.

"They go on one-woman PR campaigns to promote us – it's impossible to quantify the amount of targeting and PR we get from this.

"And some of their audience are quite young, so we are able to interest them into the print magazine."

Claire Sanderson speaks to delegates at the PPA Festival

Through a variety of campaigns such as In Shape My Shape, where Women's Health gave away body-positivity slogan cards to readers, they have been able to boost their presence online by asking readers to tag the magazines in photographs.

"We are thinking in 360 all of the time, so wanted to create a social media buzz – and we could not have predicted how successful it would be," she said.

"Just from the top 20 celebs and influencers sharing these cards and the hashtag, it reached 49 million people – it really does prove the power of the news stand when it is working successfully with digital."

Another example of a campaign that launched in print and then moved on to social media was My Strong Mind, a project designed to draw attention to mental health by interviewing women at the top of their game who have all overcome struggles in the past.

They asked readers to log into Instagram to post with the hashtag #MyStrongMind to talk about what keeps their minds focused. Instagram was so impressed with their messaging that the team invited Women's Health to a live panel discussion with some of the women that took part in the feature.

It was one of the highest ranking global live streams on the platform that day.

"What started as a print idea went global," she said.

"Women are going to the news stand in droves – we are empowering them, and this approach is working. They are coming to our events, downloading our apps and buying our products, and that is the power of the news stand."

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