Kelly Wilks, acting editor at Girl Talk & Girl Talk Art, talks about producing content for pre-teen girls’ magazines, and how they fulfil a role as a ‘favourite big sister’ to their young readers.
What do you love most about working in pre-teen magazines?
Quite simply, I love our readers. They’re still at an age where they are very keen to tell us exactly why they love Girl Talk and Girl Talk Art magazines, and they like to get involved too. It’s why we include a lot of interactivity in the magazines, so they’re not just reading but they’re doing something too.
Do you remember reading magazines during your pre-teen years? How did they help you?
I don’t remember having any loyalty to a particular brand, but my bedroom was papered in pop posters so I must have bought a lot of mags! They helped to give me all the information I wanted on my favourite band so I could go and talk about it in the playground the next day.
I also remember having cute posters of Snoopy or Smurfs on my bedroom door, so that’s what I keep in mind when planning issues of Girl Talk. Pre-teens want to feel older, but they’re not embarrassed to still love the cute stuff!
What is Girl Talk‘s ethos?
We consider our magazine to be the favourite big sister of our 9-year-old readers. They love us because we’re fun and we understand them. They come to us for advice, amazing facts and fun ideas because they know we’ll never judge them.
When are PRs most useful?
PRs are most useful when they can offer us exclusive content that our readers would love. If it’s tailored to suit Girl Talk, then we can really impress our audience.
Are they ever a nuisance?
In an ideal world, PRs would know what deadlines we are working to and contact us at least eight weeks in advance. It can be so disappointing to hear too late of something that would have been absolutely perfect for us.
Describe your ideal story
I’d love to get David Walliams and Jacqueline Wilson in boxing gloves in a battle for the best children’s author. But I’m not sure that fits our ‘friendly’ theme so much!
How has the title changed since you first joined?
Both Girl Talk and Girl Talk Art have undergone redesigns to make sure the magazines look fresh and exciting. We also include YouTubers on our covers now, and we have re-launched our own YouTube channel.
Also, following on from the success of our Girls Are Amazing campaign, we are committed to including positive role models in our editorial, and featuring a diversity of girls who reflect our audience. But overall the tone of the magazine has stayed the same, which is friendly, funny and inclusive.
What do you see in the future of the magazine?
Girl Talk is approaching its 22nd year and sales have increased by 25% year-on-year, so I don’t see any reason to make any great changes in the near future. We’re staying entertaining and relevant and it appears to be working!
As for Girl Talk Art, this magazine has undergone the biggest change of our titles. I really feel like it has found its style and identity and I hope to see it pushed more into people’s consciousness in the future.