Globe and Mail editorial series pre-engages readers, attracts sponsors

By Lindsey Lowy

Launched with the redesign of The Globe and Mail in 2010, the “Our Time to Lead” series capitalises on influencers and cross-departmental teams to deliver award-winning, interactive storytelling that generates a high level of reader engagement and advertising investment.

At the heart of the series is The Globe and Mail’s commitment to help build a better Canada through vigorous and informed debate about issues that matter:

  • “The Immigrant Answer” launched in May 2012, explored the role immigration must play in the future of Canada.

  • “Re: Education” launched in October, examined our outdated and overburdened higher education system.

  • “DNA Dilemma” launched in December, explored the complex science, pitfalls, and potential of genomic sequencing. 

For all three series, our efforts began with the stakeholders on each topic.

Marketing, in collaboration with editorial, identified experts to serve on advisory boards. John Stackhouse, The Globe’s editor-in-chief, hosted online discussions with the advisers to pinpoint key issues that would help shape our coverage.

Transcripts of these chats were then posted online, providing readers with greater transparency into our reporting process.

Interactive multi-media elements such as quad polls, debates, photo galleries, videos, and games at encouraged readers to interact with the content further.

Nearly 15,000 Canadians have plotted their opinion on a quad poll allowing readers to see where Canadians sit on a given topic and where regional and generational divides exist.

To drive awareness of each series, marketing used a variety of tactics:

  • For “The Immigrant Answer,” teaser tweets in multiple languages created pre-launch buzz.

  • For “Re: Education,” radio ads and out-of-home ads on university campuses asked readers to consider the ROI of their BA or MBA degrees.

  • For “The DNA Dilemma,” we leveraged The Globe’s sponsorship of an international genomics conference to announce the series to those at the forefront of the science. Street teams dressed in lab coats and engaged commuters, encouraging them to visit to play an online game.

By incorporating experts and key stakeholders early on in our editorial process, each series launched with a built-in audience of highly engaged readers. This also enabled us to attract external media attention, including multiple interviews on major TV broadcast outlets. The interactive features created stickiness online, providing readers with shareable content. 

Results suggest the plan worked:

  • The interactive for “The Immigrant Answer” drew 1.5 million pageviews and The Globe’s SOV (share of voice) in social media about immigration rose from 0.6% prior to the series to 9.6%.

  • The lead story in “Re: Education” dominated the national news hub on for the length of the series.

  • Based on traffic results and the high-quality content of these series, advertising was able to successfully sell sponsorship of “The DNA Dilemma.”

As The Globe gets set to launch its next Our Time to Lead series in November 2013, our marketing plans and storytelling will no doubt continue to evolve. But our commitment to facilitating meaningful discussion on issues essential to the future of Canada will remain unchanged.

About Lindsey Lowy

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