Focus on KidAround with publisher Tracy Thomas

KidAround is a quarterly magazine for parents of children up to the age of 12 living in Essex. It covers listings, local information, activities, events and competitions in the area.

This week, FeaturesExec caught up with publisher Tracy Thomas to discuss the motivation behind launching the magazine, working with PRs and how she’s spend a day off relaxing.

About the publication:

Tell us a bit about KidAround:
KidAround is a free, quarterly listings and information magazine for parents of children aged from birth to twelve in Essex. There are two editions, one covering NE Essex, and one covering Central Essex. Total copies distributed each quarter currently 92,500 over both editions.

What was the motivation behind starting KidAround?
I moved to Colchester from London in 1998, when pregnant with my daughter. I found it very difficult to discover essential information about my new town, and my new life there as a parent. I felt there must be other parents who would welcome this information set out in a user-friendly way.

How do you differ from other media outlets in your sector?
Uniquely, we carry many “lifestyle” listings sections, which offer readers valuable “what’s on, where to go and who to call” info about their local area. Because the content is so useful, readers keep hold of their copy and refer to it over and over again.

Describe a typical reader for us:
Local parent with children, seeking information about parenting where they are.

What stories are you most interested in covering?
Parenting/child related.

How do you decide the content and headlines?
Is it useful? Will our readers benefit from looking at it.

How does the editorial process run? Do you have specific days when you focus on different aspects or is the planning on a much more ad-hoc basis?
We hold quarterly editorial meetings when we plan the next issue. Some editorial sections run at the same time each year.

Do you produce a features list?
Yes we do.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs?
Not really, we tend to receive press releases and act on things we are interested in.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Press releases on new products, and willingness to offer competition prizes/reader offers.

What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Email to our production manager, Lisa Ward on

About you:

Describe a typical day at work:
Busy busy busy! Making sales calls, administering the business, dealing with enquiries from my staff and clients, production work, accounts. It’s all there!

What do you love about your work?
I love working with my team, and no two days are ever the same.

Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I was previously a lawyer. I ended up as a publisher when I started KidAround, and have had a steep learning curve!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Trust your instinct.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
Run a cat rescue home or a bookshop.

What’s your idea of a relaxing day off?
Swimming, reading, New Zealand sauvignon!
[img|jpg|Tracy Thomas]

New! Check out our Media Jobs board for PR and Journalism vacancies Learn more