We’re changing, but we’re also staying the same
Image: saying goodbye to H2Open but hello to Outdoor Swimmer
We are changing our name to Outdoor Swimmer and increasing our publication frequency to monthly
Is H2Open a good name for a magazine about open water swimming? Clearly, when I launched the magazine six years ago, in February 2011, I thought the answer was yes. I still like it in fact, and I know that a lot of our readers do too.
So why are we changing our name to Outdoor Swimmer? That which we call H2Open by any other name would still have the same inspirational content produced and be written by the same great team. Does it matter what we’re called?
Unfortunately, the name H2Open does present a few issues. Even though we’ve been around a good few years, we are often referred to as “H2O Magazine”, “H2O Open”, “H2O Swimming” and various other combinations. For people who don’t know us, we often have to explain we’re a magazine about open water swimming, which either triggers a flash of understanding or a blank look.
This lack of immediate recognition is one of our motivations for changing our name to Outdoor Swimmer. The label on the cover immediately tells you what’s inside – inspirational stories and advice for people who swim outside. This is particularly important for us in 2017 as we’re investing in expanding our presence on the newsstand and independent newsagents. On a crowded shelf, it’s important that potential readers immediately know what to expect. While it’s said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, people do make snap buying decisions on magazines based on what they see on the front.
Our other big news is that from next issue (that is, our first issue of Outdoor Swimmer) we are becoming a monthly magazine. We find the prospect both exciting and scary. With a bi-monthly schedule it sometimes feels too long passes between events and our coverage of them, and we also have to reject lots of interesting stories because we don’t have space.
Increasing our publishing frequency to 12 times per year means we can be both more timely and publish more swimming stories. The scary bit is that it will mean doing twice the work we’ve been used to!
In December last year we carried out a reader survey about what you want to see in a magazine about outdoor swimming. Many thanks to all of you who responded. The survey showed us that we’re already doing a lot of things right and highlighted a few areas we can improve, so you can look forward to refinements to our content over the next year. These include more content about preparing for swimming challenges and inspiring stories of ‘normal’ swimmers.
The first issue of Outdoor Swimmer will be our April Issue, which we will publish towards the end of March. After that we will have an issue every month. If you’re a subscriber, you don’t need to do anything at this stage as you will automatically receive Outdoor Swimmer. The content of H2Open has always been driven by feedback from the outdoor swimming community. The same will be true of Outdoor Swimmer. We always enjoy hearing from swimmers and readers, so do keep sending us your pictures and stories.
Throughout 2017 we’d also like to spend some of our weekends getting to know some of you a little better. Please let us know if you run a club or an outdoor swimming group and would like one of us to join you for a swim. We will then feature your group in an article in a future issue of Outdoor Swimmer.
A rose may smell as sweet by any other name but a magazine is a little different from a flower. The name needs to reflect the content, not just in a way that’s understandable to those of you who already read and support us, but also to anyone else who might join us in the wonderful world of open water.