Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Christian Guiltenane, former OK! editor and associate editor of Attitude, reveals all on the launch of aspirational website GuysLikeU.com, which is aimed at young gay men and their friends, why he sees it as the gay version of Cosmo and what PRs should be thinking about when pitching ideas.
What inspired you to launch the site and what's the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome?
I have worked for the last 15 years in celebrity journalism but spent the last two years working at Attitude magazine where I also edited a digital magazine called aTEEN, the first of its kind, aimed at gay guys aged 16 to 30. The magazine went down a storm and I really enjoyed the new direction and producing something that had a bit more depth to it.
When I left Attitude, I decided to create GuysLikeU to fill a gap that I thought was missing on the market! Gay media, for me, is very politicised, and there's been a definite a shift away from what real gay men go through and their interests, whether serious or superficial. Aimed primarily at young gay men, I see the site as a gay version of Cosmo - lifestyle, celebs, problems, careers, readers stories, fashion, grooming and boys and jumping on stories as soon as they happen! While the celeb content is important to attract readers in, the main focus is on the real stories from readers which vary from the dating scene right through to suffering from anxiety! Every topic that every young gay can identify with is covered.
There are a number of gay lifestyle websites and titles. What makes GuysLikeU different?
The other gay websites in the UK are great at reporting on the latest gay news taking place in the world and that's their USP. It's all very politicised. But GuysLikeU is more focused on the everyday lives and interests of everyday young gay guys! What ever it is they live through each day, will be reflected in features. Of course, world issues and big news stories will be touched upon via our columnists which currently include gay bobsleigh star Simon Dunn, Celebrity Big Brother star and activist Austin Armacost. Their version of events will make tough world issues easily digestible and create debate with our readers.
Who is your target audience and what are they looking for your title to provide?
The site is aimed at gay guys who who have just come out, or are finding their way in the world in terms of their sexuality or career. So there will be lots of guys sharing their coming out stories and chaps who reveal how they landed their dream jobs. It's all very aspirational. This is a site to reassure people that they are not alone in what they are going through and that anything is possible. Also this is a site that will appeal to a broad mainstream cross section of the gay community not just the 'Shoreditch types'.
What's the biggest misapprehension about your title and its audience that you would like to correct?
I would like people to understand that the website reflects the interests of its young readers. So yes there will be great stories covering all manner of subjects and there will be cheeky tongue in cheek features about sexy guys too. But the website will never be sleazy or ever cross the line of decency. Bottom line, it's an aspirational site that will give young gay guys all they want from a website - serious content, fun content and informative content but delivered with a very distinct voice that I don't think the other sites have.
What stories, outside of breaking news, are you interested in running?
We are always on the look out for fascinating personal stories:
- Coming out stories
- Dream job advice
- Personal stories from readers and celebs about tough times in their lives
- Personal style stories
- Any story that our readers themselves can identify with
GuysLikeU includes regular features such as ‘Careers’, ‘My Story’, and ‘Cheeky Pleasures’. Are you currently working on any other regular features for GuysLikeU?
The site has only been running since the start of December, so I'm focusing on those features at the moment! However, as the site grows, we will be introducing some very tongue In Cheek celeb features from later this month and will also be increasing the music / film / TV / theatre / product review output from this month too so PRs, please let us know about what's coming at us!
We are also about to start including video interviews and features on the site which will give readers a much more exciting website to enjoy. Think old skool Heat for gay guys! One stop shop for everything.
How can PRs helps with these features?
From the feedback the website appears to be read by media savvy young guys so it is our duty to keep a breast of what's going on in the world of music, film, fashion and TV. We are always looking for celeb interviews - the reach of the site is massive - for example, our Gleb Savchenko interview was subsequently picked up by the tabloids and so was read outside of GuysLikeU, while our Keegan Hirst exclusive was picked up a cross the US! We are also planning on covering more events, openings, launches and showcases. I am keen also to do on set reports from tv and music sets or gigs.
Basically, I want GuysLikeU to become the place every one goes to find out all they need to know about what's going on in popular culture and we are already breaking stories before the rivals - We ran the Kylie Christmas video before anyone else did, ran stories about gorgeous Aidan Turner in And Then There Were None way before the other gay websites and a day before the MailOnline.
GuysLikeU includes a section dedicated to celebrities. Which celebrity would you most like to feature on the website?
I am very lucky that having been in the industry for so long that PRs have been very supportive in offering me time with talent so I already have some big names lined up in the next couple of months. We are looking for mainstream and niche stars who have opinions and have some thing to say plus we will be celebrating our favourite stars from the past.
What are your plans for 2016 and what can we expect to see on the site that we haven't seen before?
As the website flourishes, I am hoping it will get bigger and bigger and will in turn begin to set an agenda. A lot of the other sites tend to follow the news, or rehash what is already out there. I want GuysLikeU to react immediately to an event or a happening immediately with our own take. I also want to continue to break exclusives that the mainstream press will pick up on and produce photo shoots that will look stylish and eye-catching.
I am also currently in talks with some big companies regarding advertising or sponsoring certain sections of the website, which could prover very exciting. If anyone else is interested in sponsoring or advertising on the site, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christian was talking to Gorkana's Amy Barlow.
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