Client: Mended Hearts
Audience: Mended Hearts members; heart disease patients in their 40s and 50s; cardiologists and cardiac surgeons.
The magazine is mailed 6 times per year to Mended Hearts members as well as cardiologists’ practices around the nation. The magazine’s content is also uploaded to the Heartbeat Now mobile app.
Mended Hearts is the world’s largest and oldest peer-to-peer cardiovascular patient-support network. It has grown from a group of four people in 1965 to 20,000 members operating out of more than 300 chapters in 460 hospitals in the U.S. Their goal: to reach 1 million patients by the year 2018.
For 65 years, Mended Hearts has built a strong reputation for being a friend in need to millions of heart patients nationwide — and Heartbeat magazine, the official publication for Mended Hearts, is the pulse that keeps these relationships going.
The national staff of Mended Hearts felt like Heartbeat magazine had no clear editorial voice. And while they were doing a great job of getting the magazine to their members, they wanted to get Heartbeat into the hands of non-members by providing content that would be of interest to them. Mended Hearts national staff also wanted to grow its membership (and readership) to those in their 40s and 50s and are living with heart disease.
We started with a reader survey, asking members for their input. Next, we developed story ideas based on that reader survey. We then began forming relationships with sources, including physicians and researchers who could serve as authoritative, credible subject-matter experts for the content. Most importantly, we put the patient at the center of the story by ensuring that every major feature includes at least one patient’s perspective on the topic. We also started an editorial advisory board, whose members join in on the content-planning process for each issue.
Results: To date, the redesign and repositioning has resulted in rave reviews from members and from the Mended Hearts staff, and it has won numerous national awards for Best Design and Most Improved Publication. Prompted by members’ enthusiastic response, Mended Hearts increased the frequency of Heartbeat from four times a year to six times a year. And thanks in part to the increased frequency, two new sponsors have signed on to create custom inserts for the magazine, which directly boosts Mended Hearts’ bottom line. In the next quarter, we expect the magazine to increase distribution through doctor’s offices and cardiac rehab facilities throughout the U.S.
“The magazine is shockingly better than it used to be.” – Jodi Lemacks Esq., National Program Director