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After five years, the Challenge series is stronger than ever

Everyone loves a Challenge, right? 

At Globe Edge, we know after five successful years that thousands of Canadian business owners and thousands of readers love our Small Business Challenge editorial series and our $100k Challenge Contest.

What’s not to like? The weekly series consistently earns extraordinary page views, and last year over 3,300 small business firms entered the contest, which returns for a sixth edition, launching Monday, March 21 with the same, committed sponsor, Telus. The prize money handed out in the editorially run contest this year will top $150,000 and almost 70 Canadian small businesses will gain invaluable recognition from The Globe.


After five years, almost 100 per cent of the firms who’ve been chosen either winners of or finalist for the grand prize are alive and thriving.

Like all enduring assets, The Challenge started with a timely concept devised by ROB, Sean Stanleigh and others. This great idea has been followed by sterling execution, teamwork and co-operation (including the sponsor), consistently interesting and highly useful advice content plus an ever evolving digital, social media sharing plan.

It’s an integrated program that continues to evolve thanks to the great work of Globe Edgers and the client.

The editorial series runs once a week in print (Report on Business section) and in our Small Business hub on and makes full use of  the Globe’s editorial social media platforms – Facebook, Google+ LinkedIn and Twitter. In addition we have a brand neutral twitter account @SmBizChallenge that gives us a lot of flexibility in promoting the series and the contest, targeting followers and delivering even greater flexibility to target and to strategically and successfully integrate some sponsor series related content. 

We’ve also integrated video, photo galleries and augmented reality in the print/digital package.


This plan, worked out through trial, error and experimentation, has helped to turn the Challenge series for Telus into one of our best performing Globe Edge digital properties, achieving on average now about 60,000 page views per month. 

The editors responsible for this integrated series pay close attention to the lifts we get on digital from print, and vice versa. Great attention is also paid to ensuring that the weekly topic can also be optimized for greater sharing on our digital platforms, and in social media.

This integrated strategy has helped make The Challenge brand synonymous with small business, both for The Globe and Mail and for Telus. 


It has strengthened our position as the media outlet to go to for small business news and, more importantly, advice. It has widened and deepened our connections to the small business community. This integrated approach has enabled us to get the 60,000 plus page views every month on The Challenge site, which is phenomenal for a niche news topic. All of this, including the contest, has allowed the advertiser/sponsor to continue leverage the Challenge as well.

Our goal this year is to continue to make the Challenge a brand force both in print and online and to continue to build that loyal SMB following. That following has allowed us to take The Challenge brand in new directions (themed SMB events, mobile, etc.) and to cement our reputation as the media outlet for small business.

Steve Tustin (@stustin) is a senior editor with Globe Edge Content Studio

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