Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
The latest offering from ShortList Media Group launched this week in the shape of Mr Hyde, a daily email for cash-rich, time-poor men. Gorkana caught up with editor-in-chief Tom Cullen and editor Jonny Pile to get the low-down on the key content areas and why they want to hear from PRs.
After an exhaustive research and development process, Mr Hyde launched on October 18 as the newest email offering from the ShortList Media Group. It is a daily (Monday to Friday) email aimed at affluent, cash-rich, but time-poor, men in their late 20s to early 30s - the Mr Hyde man knows how he wants to spend his life, but not how to go about it.
Mr Hyde's vision is to be an authoritative brand that people can trust and look forward to reading.
The name, Mr Hyde, comes from the Robert Louis Stevenson classic novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. But it's far more than that for the team. It takes notes from the book about letting your hair down and the darker side of men, but it's also about being the person you really are after 6pm, not the person you are at work.
The editorial team is currently made up of Tom and Jonny. Tom has a strong online background, building and filling websites for four years. Jonny comes from the ShortList magazine team where he has been news editor since 2010. Another team member is joining next month and the team will continue to use freelancers when needed.
Mr Hyde needed to look as good as the tone it was offering. The team knew from Emerald Street (the daily email for women launched in 2011) that illustrations would be a very important part of the daily email. The team is working with an illustrator named Jack Hughes who provided a style that was “unique masculine slick and modern”. The aim is for these images to become synonymous with Mr Hyde without being linked to the logo.
The initial launch target for subscriptions was 12,000, but the team has clocked up 20,000 in the six weeks ahead of launch. The target for this time next year is 60,000.
Research has shown that men are "very different beasts" to women when it comes to opening an email. The team will send out the daily email between 9am and 10am as this is the most likely time men will read it.
Before launching Mr Hyde, the team undertook extensive testing, via focus groups, to find out what readers wanted. A huge number of emails were sent out on various topics from film to going out, and from these the team found a happy medium of what men were after in a daily news email.
The team is very keen that Mr Hyde evolves to be a distinct brand from ShortList. There will be naturally be some crossover, but for the most part content will be exclusive to Mr Hyde.
Five key passion areas for men came out of the team’s research: Fashion; Grooming; Going Out; Entertainment and Technology. These five areas aren’t set in stone and it’s likely that others will be developed in the future.
Fashion is still of huge importance for men, and with this Grooming. The ideal grooming products for Mr Hyde are those that work and have an interesting story. If PRs can find a quirky twist on products and how they work, the team is likely to be interested. They’re interested in trends for both fashion and grooming and are keen to be able to tell readers why they have decided to feature the products they’ve chosen. Fashion content should be sent to Jonny and copied in to ShortList’s style director Adrian Clark.
Going Out was something the team realised that men needed help on. The section will cover not just the bar you should go to, but the drink you should order and why; alongside what food you should be ordering at what restaurant; and even what exhibitions, museums and galleries you should visit.
Entertainment covers music sport, apps, gaming and film. Tom wants PRs to bear them in mind when it comes to anything from the latest Hollywood blockbuster to arthouse movies. The team realise that most men won’t be going out seven nights a week so they are also interested in hearing about home entertainment products and ideas.
The team don’t claim to be absolute experts when it comes to Technology and want to hear more from PRs on what they can offer. For example, if they are doing something on the top five headphones they will want to find the best expert who can tell readers which are the best to buy.
At the bottom of the Mr Hyde email will be a feature called Urban Carnivore, which is a daily restaurant review with a heavy focus on meat. If PRs have a great burger or steak place, or a restaurant is offering a special, they should contact Jonny.
Every Mr Hyde email will have a quirky surprise in it. For instance, Grooming might have the three eye gels that will restore your look on a Monday morning, but there may also be a feature on the three haircuts that won the presidential election. It’s these quirky bits that Tom thinks will have people opening the email every day.
The team will be covering travel within the next couple of months after the initial rush of the launch.
Competitions, giveaways and discounts will be part of Mr Hyde content. All need to have a high-end feel and Tom said PRs should get in touch with ideas. There is currently a competition running for a month to win a £2,000 watch.
At the moment Mr Hyde will only cover male products. This could change in the run up to Christmas and Valentine’s Day. There are no plans as yet for Christmas content, but Jonny welcomed ideas from PRs. As it gets closer, the team will likely send out media alerts detailing what they’re after.
The team hopes that everyone across the UK will be able to find something that interests them in Mr Hyde, but there will be a strong London bias.
Four stories are published each day: a large feature, the regular Urban Carnivore feature and two more stories, which could be a news piece or a video clip.
The team will also include links from stories "within reason" so if PRs have something they are promoting, they should let the team know and there is a possibility of it being linked. Tom also said good content would be pushed out by the ShortList team to maximise exposure.
Working with PRs
Jonny is the best person to contact in terms of Mr Hyde content and said PRs should email him as soon as they have something that they think he would be interested in – he works roughly two weeks in advance.
Exclusive content is welcome but Jonny understands that that can’t always be the case. PRs should get in contact as early as possible. Letting him know about a launch that’s taking place the next day is too late.
Jonny wants PRs to feed in ideas on pictures and videos as the team doesn’t have the time to shoot all its own content. There is a happy medium when it comes to branding and Jonny would prefer to talk to a PR before something is shot.
To make a pitch stand out, PRs should think about a different angle on a story – it’s not just pitching a story about headphones but explaining why they are in fashion. Tom gets more than 300 emails a day and can’t read every release he gets, so it’s really important that all the information is right at the top.
The team likes to get out and meet PRs, as it’s great to put faces to names. Jonny thinks this is the best way to build relationships and, from that, generate superior content. Suitable times to meet change regularly for Jonny, but at the moment he suggested afternoon coffee.
While Mr Hyde is the ShortList email, they are two separate entities. The teams work very closely together and Tom said that while a pitch may be sent to Jonny, it may well be considered for the magazine and/or the website as well.
The team is happy to receive press event invites. If something is spot on for them, they're happy to travel. Tom said he wants PRs to be the first filter for relevant invites and encouraged everyone to get a feel for Mr Hyde content before making sending out an invite or making an approach.