People often ask me who the Redbook reader is. I used to answer, "Which one? There are at least five" - before launching into a breakdown of types: the young professional women balancing work and home in suburban or metropolitan areas; the even younger stay-at-home moms in the exurbs who married out of high school or during college; the aspirational can't-wait-to-marrys all over the country, and so forth.
But as I got better at listening to our audience, and as I got to meet them - on Facebook, through Twitter, through redbookmag.com, through the blogs so many of them keep, in person at mall events and so on - I realized there were millions of different kinds of our readers out there. And, that what made the Harley moms, the stitch-and-bitch moms, the widowed moms, single moms, two-times-married moms, the breast-cancer-survivor moms distinct from each other was a much more vital way of making them feel included in everything we do than what made them the same.
Through my own Facebook page - which I invited our readers to join, as well as the magazine's fan page - I see the daily ups and downs of what we call "grown-up life": the disgruntled posts after a hurry-up morning has gone awry; joyful greetings to friends, who are the lifeboats in busy women's lives; the celebration of small joys, like a sunny day or a cheap pair of shoes, each of these a shout-out to be heard and witnessed before another day jammed to the hilt with "to-dos" flies by.
Yes, we moms want to be witnessed, to spend some time on our "to-be" list, instead of merely living our "to-do" list, to get to be women first sometimes, just for ourselves. We get to be a "mom and" these days, not "just a stay-at-home mom" or a "working mom," but a mom and a yoga teacher, a mom and an entrepreneur, a mom and a community organizer, a mom and a beauty addict, a mom and a church leader, a mom and so much more. And the only way for a marketer to learn the "so much more" is to open your ears (and your email in-box, and your Facebook page, and your whatever else you can imagine) and ask the question: "Hello, who are you?" And then listen.
What I hear back through all these channels - and then publish in the magazine, on the web site, in our mobile phone applications, and everywhere else Redbook is - is the lovely, joyful sound of women finding their way in a complicated world, putting their unique fingerprints on everything they do, and, most inspiring of all, standing by to support other moms and women as they find their own way.
I have learned so much about who this group is by listening in on their individual conversations, and I have been able to make the magazine and all its properties feel more rich and inclusive because of it. But the best part is being included in the conversation: To be a magazine editor and a woman and a mom.