Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Leon Hurley, GamesRadar+ executive news editor, on bringing content under one umbrella, creating shareable stories and why PRs need to be upfront when pitching.
TotalFilm.com, SFX.co.uk and GamesRadar.com merged into one website in November to form Gamesradar+. What was the thinking behind the move?
It was really the best way to use the people and brands we had. Where before we had lots of different sites all with differing levels of resources, all working on different CMS platforms, we now have one large portal channeling everything. It makes the best of our reach across the areas we cover and combines it all into a feed of content across games, films and TV that works really well for our audience.
What has been the reaction from readers?
It’s been really positive. It’s good to see stories being tweeted and retweeted and passed around on Facebook. It’s also been great to see single page news stories holding their own against GR+’s more traditional gallery-based content as far as traffic goes.
Our existing audience has taken to the news feed instantly and the traffic shows the new focus is already bringing in new readers.
Talk us through the main channels on the site.
Obviously first up is the home page which is everything: reviews, features, news, games, film, TV - it’s a cross section of all the content on the site. Next up is the news channel. Again, this covers those core areas but obviously focusing on what’s happening now. Then it breaks down into the online portals for the various magazines, so Official PlayStation Magazine, Official Xbox, Edge, GamesMaster, Total Film and SFX. For the individual properties their feeds are a combination of their own content and anything relevant to the platform.
What news story would tick all the boxes for you?
I think anything where you read it all without even realising, or immediately want to tell the person next to you. If either of those things happen it’s a story you should be writing up. That can be finding the interesting angle in something everyone’s covering, through to unearthing the bit everyone has missed. We cover all the big stuff obviously, because people expect to be informed, but we also want to add, expand and create content by capitalising on all the individual specialties and opinions we have access to.
How closely do you work with your Future counterparts?
The GR+ team is split across US and UK so those teams work together, plus we talk all the time in chat channels and meet up for regular weekly conferences calls. I’m currently working with the mag teams so that we can push news based on their interviews and events through the site in the lead up to the on sale. It’s an approach that has a dual benefit as GR gets to claim the stories that usually end up NeoGAF or Reddit and the magazines get a greater level of exposure and promotion online.
Tell us about the typical Gamesradar+ reader.
They’re passionate about the big games, really. I’m still looking at the stats and working out what people like but as a rule it’s the CODs, the Destinys and so on. They want to know about the big, console releases.
What do your readership stats look like?
It's all looking very healthy right now with massive traffic growth in the last year. UK sessions and unique visits have doubled, and we’re getting similar rises globally. We regularly exceed 100m page views each month, although the growth there has been tempered through the improvements we’re making to the existing content mix. News is the latest part of that joining our established editorials, features and multi-platform/brand reviews.
What can PRs do to help?
Be clear and upfront. If I have to scan the mail a few times to work out what’s going on you're at an immediate disadvantage to someone who’s told me exactly what’s going on in the header.
What’s the most important thing to think about before pitching to the team?
Consider who you’re pitching to. I get a lot of emails that feel like blanket submissions that don’t take into account who they’re talking to. And, again, clarity. I don’t want to have to work out what’s going on. It should be clear upfront.
What should PRs definitely not do?
Finally, what will we see featured in Gamesradar+ over the coming months?
The big console games. We’ll be covering all the big news and expanding that coverage using the wide range of gaming expertise we have within the brand.