Everyone loves a fresh idea.
In the crowded digital space, brands need to jump up and down to get noticed, a fact that isn’t lost on the content creators they hire to do the jumping. “What can we do that’s different?” is a question we field regularly from clients.
The Globe and Mail’s content studio pulls data around readership habits on a regular basis. It’s one of our key differentiators. As an arm of a big media property, we have unfettered access to proprietary audience insights. We’re consistently in the loop when it comes to the type of content that’s engaging our readers. Our value proposition is to be a resource for clients that approach us with specific strategies, but on occasion, given the amount of intel at our fingertips, we take the initiative, while aiming to achieve the same end objective.
In those cases, we create opportunities in print and digital that leverage our website’s most popular stories and topics, executing fresh ideas we know will find a wide audience, and that will deliver the key performance indicators (KPIs) for advertisers that jump on board to sponsor them.
The process is rewarding and challenging.
Rewarding because the content team can sink its teeth into research and the latest trends around a topic, before brainstorming a unique and compelling idea. The sales teams get a chance to identify the ideal client for a project based on their knowledge of brands and their objectives. It’s energizing to build something from scratch.
The challenge is there’s no RFP or other specific set of guidelines to work off. It’s uncharted territory, and generally takes more time to put together.
A great case study that was pitched and sold to an advertiser is the Retirement hub The Globe recently launched. The content team knew readers couldn’t get enough of this topic. The sales team knew a particular client wanted to ‘own the conversation’ around retirement planning.
How could The Globe and Mail deliver?
Launching a new hub is no easy task. It requires adding an extra content layer to a robust website, and a small army of editors, writers, designers and developers to build and maintain it. Not to mention the heavy lifting on the marketing side to promote it.
A project of this size needs to have legs. The value to the client (owning the conversation) has to be equal to the value to the newsroom (high interest to our readership), which has to continue to populate it with content beyond the life of the initial advertising contract.
The teams worked together to come up with an outline for the hub that included merging existing content with a new thematic strategy and robust multimedia tools. When the client was pitched the idea, it had the opportunity to comment and provide its own experts to make suggestions, and that input was delivered to the editorial team for consideration.
Sponsor content was also integrated into the proposal to further enable the client to deliver its own message within the hub and its editorial storytelling.
The result was a resounding success. Readers flocked to the content, and the client achieved its ‘own the conversation’ objective.
It’s a great example of how a media organization can use its content marketing capabilities to further the goals of its advertisers while organically engaging its audience. Fresh ideas are a win-win proposition.
Sean Stanleigh is Managing Editor of the Globe Edge Content Studio. Follow him @seanstanleigh