If you want any tips on how to engage with the public take a look on your local newsagent's shelves


Magazines are suitable for a wide
range of target groups as long as
they are tailored accordingly

Official: Magazines good for health
Magazines are perhaps the most popular form of edutainment used in the UK. The Department of Health have used the Dr. Foster company to produce
* Your Life! for younger women
* Fit for younger men
* Prime for an older age group

Local Primary Care Trusts also produce magazines. For example in Northeast England, Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust produced Talk about stop smoking. Both Talk and Your Life! have published evaluations that show readers benefited from them.

Tips for producing your own health magazine
Although Talk was only a one-off it was the result of extensive social marketing research. This was with a particular target group of pregnant mums to be. Research, pre-testing and evaluation is never time wasted.
Other useful things to consider are:
*  Pitch the writing at the right level both in terms of literacy and style
* Create a relationship with the reader. Although you need to be sure what you want to get across, always think of what the benefit to the reader will be. This is from their point of view not yours, which is why good social market research is so vital
* The benefit isn't just in terms of the health content. Try to reward the reader in terms of how the magazine is written. If you don't, they may well put it down very quickly. Professional journalists use things like pictures with captions, text boxes and appropriate headings to do this
* Unless the target group is very educated, keep the grammar simple. Full stops and commas are probably enough. Use exclaimation marks sparingly if at all
* People may read magazines articles in a particular sequence. The actual main text may be left to last and indeed may never be read. It is worth putting key information in the picture captions, headings and subheadings within the articles. These may be read  first, so at least people may get the main messages this way
* Newspaper articles often summarise the key facts in the first paragraph. Again this might be worthwhile if you think that some of your readers won't read the whole page
* Writing is a two person job. Get someone else to help you edit it and give a fresh perspective. Try to get the views of the target group as well before the whole thing finally goes to print
* Evaluate not only the magazine itself but whether the distribution got it to the people you actually wanted to see it

(For references click here and links click here.)

To read a much more full account of the topics covered on this page in the relevant chapter from my report on edutainment for health purposes click here

To download the whole 180 page report on using popular culture to tackle health  inequalities click here

To download the PDF software to be able to view these files click here