Women’s Health Mag Plans “Twitter Takeover” Olympic Issue

Womens Health mag uses Twitter chats, hashtags for Olympic issueWomen’s Health magazine is planning to take advantage of the “social” aspects of the upcoming 2012 London Olympics with a “Twitter Takeover” issue for July/August.  Women’s Health publisher Laura Frerer-Schmidt told AdWeek: “We wanted to cover the Olympics in a different way than many sports brands would.”

How will Women’s Health use a print magazine to get readers to engage on Twitter?  The issue will feature a 15-page “Look of a Winner” editorial section with interviews of Olympic athletes. The section will have multiple hashtags, which readers can then use “at specific dates and times during the games.”

The hashtags will enable readers to chat online with the same Women’s Health writers that met and interviewed the featured Olympic athletes; they are designed to help magazine readers “feel more connected” with the writers. Chat participants can even win prizes by tweeting answers to questions from the magazine’s staff.

Women’s Health calls each chat a “Twitter party” and has used this approach successfully in the past; Frerer-Schmidt told AdWeek that previous chats have helped to double the total followers for @WomensHealthMag to nearly 1 million over the last six months (currrently at 978,000).

The dedicated online Twitter chat for the Olympic issue is sponsored by Procter & Gamble, who will receive seven pages of ads in the print editorial section.

Is print media an effective medium for encouraging fans to engage on Twitter?  Obviously Women’s Health must be doing something right on Twitter to have amassed such an impressive following — but will fans actively use the hashtags to learn more about their favorite athletes?