Ladies, Get 'Radiant'!
By Jennifer E. Jones
The Church was always good at meeting the needs of parents, kids, and teens. However, 20-30-somethings who did not fall into those categories seemed to fall through the cracks instead.
So when Cameron Strang and a few friends came together and published Relevant magazine in 2003, suddenly the lost, postmodern generation had a place to call home. Three years, 80,000 subscriptions, and a small empire later, Relevant is not only taking over, it has a sister magazine… literally.
“Each year we launch a different part of the company,” says Editorial Director Cara Davis. “By last year we had RelevantMagazine.com and Relevant magazine. We had a ministry division called the Relevant Network. We dabbled in apparel and of course we had the books. We were at a place where we were open to start a new publication.”
Relevant readers wrote into the editors asking for a publication specific to women that held the same values of “GOD.LIFE.PROGRESSIVE CULTURE.” While Relevant was never intended to be a guy’s magazine, Davis says that a quick survey revealed that most of their readership was male.
“It’s kind of an anomaly in the magazine world where nearly 80 percent of readers are female,” she says. “We realized that there was more we could do to address the needs of women.”
Thus Radiant was born.
“It’s a mix of spiritual, practical life, culture, and entertainment,” Davis says. “We have articles on jumpstarting your faith. We have two music features on Heather Headley, an artist on Broadway who now has an R&B album, and then Natasha Bedingfield, who’s Daniel Bedingfield’s sister from the U.K. We have stories like ‘How Sexy is Too Sexy.’”
Radiant also tackles topics such as travelling, volunteering, and relationships – platonic, romantic and otherwise.
They’re not buying into the Cosmo/Glamour way of reaching women. For example, Davis assures that the cover of Radiant will feature a normal girl – no Eva Longoria, no Beyonce Knowles, no super models.
“There won’t be celebrities on the cover. Relevant is like that for the newsstand value, whereas Radiant is going to go with a representative female – the type of girl who reads the magazine or the type of girl who you’d want to be friends with,” she says.
With Christ at the core of their publication, Radiant seeks after women who are sick of magazines that only focus on sex and fashion… And they’re not the only ones to see the changing tide.
“That’s what accounts for Real Simple’s success,” Davis says. “It was the first magazine to break out of the mold and be mass market and not deal with such superficial issues... Even the fashion magazines are wising up that women want more.”
Most spirituality in women’s magazines leans toward new age and generic faith. However, Radiant is preaching a Jesus-specific gospel without thumping any Bibles.
“I think it comes naturally for women’s publications because women on average are just more inclined to be open to things like that,” Davis says. “So, Radiant doesn’t have to hide the fact that it’s Christian. For Radiant, it won’t be as alienating because we’ll see more and more spirituality in magazines.”
Radiant and Relevant alike stand out as Christian “lifestyle” magazines in a sea of publications that thrive on a particular niche. It’s something Davis is proud of.
“Right now you have Christian women’s magazines and all they talk about is spirituality. Then you’ve got mainstream magazines that just deal with [fashion]. Women do want a magazine that talks about their life from a holistic standpoint.”
Since its premier issue in early 2006, Radiant is enjoying rave reviews from female readers who want more from their magazine. As Davis and her staff map out the rest of their journey into women's hearts, they're ready to explore every aspect of God's abundant life for His "radiant" girls.
Visit Radiant Magazine Online
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