Samantha Cope, creative editorial director at Trinity Mirror, on the rise of content-driven partnerships, immersion sessions with PRs and keeping pace with phenomenal audience growth.
You are creative editorial director for all Trinity Mirror’s portfolio of news brands – what does that actually mean?
I work within a team called Invention. Working alongside the editorial team and with account directors, we create and deliver original and engaging content-driven ideas for clients. The Invention team offers great customer service all the way through from pitch to post-campaign analysis.
Advertisers are constantly looking for more sophisticated ways to communicate their brand messages. Our mission is to offer advertisers a full-service creative solutions agency approach to their marketing needs, whereby we create and develop bespoke, ground-breaking and award-winning, effective advertising and native content solutions by delivering campaigns across multiple platforms.
You’ve been out talking to various PRs about Invention – what have you been telling them?
That our team is part of one of the UK’s largest multimedia companies and the fastest growing in terms of audience growth. Trinity Mirror is innovative and creative, and we’re not afraid to experiment with new ideas like UsVsTh3m, ampp3d and RowZed – it’s an exciting place to be.
The Invention team itself has grown from six to 30 in the last couple of months, from a few account managers and directors to a fully blown creative team. Moving forward, we’ll offer an unrivalled creative development team using dedicated editorial expertise to create ideas and campaigns based on client needs. You could basically call us a bespoke publishing arm, and while we produce content for use across our platforms, we can also produce bespoke content for the brands we work with for use on their platforms.
We now also offer an exceptional project management and creative design team to develop best in class service that the customer (advertiser) has a seamless and expert production of their campaign.
What’s the biggest challenge you face on a day-to-day basis?
Keeping up with our phenomenal audience growth! The group’s portfolio of news brands, which includes Mirror Online, Record.co.uk, Wales Online and Liverpoolecho.co.uk, reached 83+ million monthly unique users in July.
We work at a great pace and generating ideas for the many briefs that come through is certainly challenging but equally rewarding. Looking forward, our aim is to work more strategically with agencies by engaging with their clients in longer-term partnerships.
We work hard to ensure we work closely with editorial, as well as our display department, to make sure we offer a truly holistic approach to clients’ needs. We’re incredibly lucky within Trinity Mirror to have a great relationship with all our editors, who’re commercially aware and keen to work with us to create great content, which benefits both our clients and our readers.
What does a typical day look like?
I start work at 9am with a meeting with the senior project manager to look at which projects are live that week. Then I’ll brief the design team for the day. I’ll work closely with the PMs and designers to make sure we’re choosing the right photographers and writers for the jobs.
Then depending on what briefs we have in I’ll usually head up a brainstorm with the relevant editorial, insight teams and account managers to talk about how we’ll tackle the brief and formulate a central idea.
The work is varied; one day I can be working on a government campaign for modern slavery and then next I can be looking at a brief about breakfast cereals. It’s highly creative and I love the challenge of working on such a variety of campaigns.
Trinity Mirror has a portfolio spanning national, regional and sport across multiple platforms. How do you cover such a broad remit?
For me, it’s fantastic to have access to such a dynamic and extensive portfolio of news brands. For advertisers, it’s priceless. Once a brief comes in I work closely with the account directors and managers and our insight teams to determine which of our platforms, news brands and audiences are best suited for a particular client.
I’ve worked at Trinity Mirror for the last five years and before that I worked at regional titles, various mags and at agencies, so I have an indepth knowledge across our news brands and the industry in general.
What titles do you deal with most regularly?
It really depends on what the agency and client is looking for. Essentially, it’s about coming up with an idea that engages our readers and exceeds our clients’ expectations. That is our aim every time.
Obviously, The Mirror and The Record, across print, online and e-edition, feature significantly in our proposals but we also have huge regional reach and often pitch out our BigCity package to clients which includes The Mirror, The Record, The Liverpool Echo, MEN, Birmingham Mail, Newcastle Chronicle and South Wales Echo.
Why have content-driven partnerships become more popular?
We hear industry executives every day talking about native content solutions. At Invention, we know what our audiences want. By creating unique and well-thought out branded content we deliver richer experiences for our readers which in turn delivers deeper engagement with our clients’ brands.
What we’re building in Invention is an agency that can drop co-created native content across our platforms, as well as working with brands to engage audiences through social media to live events.
What do PRs need to bear in mind when coming to you with partnership ideas?
We find immersion sessions with clients, media agencies and PRs work best, where we can bring along relevant editorial, insight and our marketing teams to look at how we can address their key challenges and create a truly engaging campaign that gets across their key messages.
What are the ingredients for the best partnerships?
Where there are shared brand values between the publisher and the client and we can work closely with the agency and client to deliver what the client wants as well as our audience.
And finally, you’ve been at Trinity Mirror for more than three years, with roles including health columnist for The Sunday People and editor of it supplement, Love Sunday Magazine. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen over the years?
There’s been a huge shift in the way that people consume their news; social media has obviously had a huge impact on that which has led to real investment in digital within Trinity Mirror and it’s digital innovation team. It’s a really exciting time for the industry.
Samantha was talking to Gorkana’s Richard o’Donnell