Our flying visit to breakfast at Gorkana's Mirror Online media briefing

Mirror-online
Words by Emma Lowe, Smoking Gun PR Media Manager
“We want the ‘Hey Doris!??? of stories – in fact we want a lot of ‘Hey Doris!’ stories.??? Pete Picton, Editorial Director
 
As the seventh most shared news site in the world, and producing a incredible 500 stories a day, the Mirror Online is a news force to be reckoned with.
After a successful start to the year with the site driving its largest amount of readers to date, the Mirror Online has seen increasing demands from its audience -with some of their best content performances for the first time ever happening around 10pm.
Speaking at the Gorkana Media Briefing on May 27, Editorial Director Pete Picton, said their secret to success was engaging with what their audience – claiming newsrooms now (more than ever) are dominated by what their readers want.
Picton, who previously working for the Mail Online and Sun Online, was appointed by Trinity Mirror in June 2014, his employment showed a real shift in the  the publisher’s further movement towards digital focus.
Lifting the lid on the Mirror online’s readership and giving out tips for PR’s, Picton outlined exactly what we need to know about the changing world of the Mirror Online.
Top Tips for working with the Mirror Online:

  1. …And Action!

The Mirror Online loves multi-platform content, when packaging stories they want to see from PR’s great pictures, an embeddable- not overly branded- video, interactive quizzes and infographics. With video there is no restriction on how long your content should be – just one golden rule make sure your video tells a story.
The site is always looking to boost readers and following so it’s important to keep updating their content. If you have a great related case study or quote which will add to a breaking news piece, then get in touch.

  1. Today’s stories are tomorrow’s fish and chip paper?

In terms of news this hasn’t been the case for a long time, however unlike other publications the Mirror newspaper doesn’t automatically transfer content directly to online.
If you have a great story gain coverage in the paper it may get missed on the web so be sure to chase. Equally when selling in in content look to establish relationships with online and print so no coverage opportunities are missed.
When it comes to making friends with the press, Pete Picton advised honouring relationships on the paper before online, a story with any kind of embargo on the copy is wasted on the website news desk. Online don’t want copy for a possible tomorrow they want words for right now! Equally any great story will be listed in the paper’s news conference – which the Mirror Online sit in on – if they want it they will fight to get it up online before print.

  1. Stories to dine out on…

Mirror Online readers just love food! Some of their most popular, heavily trafficked stories come from food related articles. For example, behind the scenes at McDonalds: how to make a big mac was one of their biggest stories in April. So if you have a good news stories or features – find a foodie angle.
As well as food, Mirror online readers love showbiz and the soaps, sports and human interest stories. Note: The website is keen to build on its female audience, which could be an excellent opportunity for PR story placements.
Mirror Online’s most clicked on stories last year included: Charlie Hebdo, solar eclipse, election, soaps, Top Gear, Celeb BB – proving its a real mixture of content!

  1. Get the App!

With their biggest readership falling in the 18 and 26 year old bracket, it is unsurprising Mirror Online readers get most of their tabloid-hits from their mobile phones and tablets. Many of their readers engaged through social media, predominantly Twitter.

  1. Lazy Sundays

Sunday night audiences are on the up! This shift proves people are checking their media content when they are away from their desks. In recent months, online monitoring has found Sunday night audiences are one of the busiest of the week – opening up new demands for story content.

  1. To read or not to read

“Think of you being the person you’re pitching to and grab attention in the subject line.” Pete Picton said. Extremely busy and under pressure to generate content quickly, online journalists don’t have time to sift through your press release to see what the point is. Be clear, be helpful, put your story in the subject to help them make a snap judgement.
With breaking news, and working on fast developing stories, journalists again don’t have time to listen to “PR drivel??? on the phone. Be concise and get in before conference – which for the Mirror Online is 8:30am.
Concluding the session, Picton summed up what the Mirror Online really needs: “We want the Hey Doris! of stories. There is a saying in newspapers that you would flick through the paper and shout to the person next to you, ‘Hey Doris! Look at this story!’ We want those kind of stories, every paper would have one. With online – well we want a lot of ‘Hey Doris’ stories.???