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Canadian Magazines Shine a Light on #MeToo

Throughout 2017, deep frustrations drove painful, but necessary, public conversations about how bias and prejudices affect people’s lives. One of the most prominent conversations was about the sexual harassment and assault of women by influential men. The growing social outcry quickly transformed into the #MeToo movement, a rapidly expanding, international movement that spans age, industry and race with the objective to grow awareness about sexual violence and sexual assault against women, and open up the conversation about the inequalities that women face.

In exploring and publishing many different voices on this subject, Canadian magazines shone a light on the issues at play and helped shape our national conversation about the #MeToo movement from a variety of different angles.

Speak with: victims, subject experts, alleged violators, #MeToo leaders.


From Canadian Living to Chatelaine, Fashion Magazine and Flare, to The Walrus, Canadian Lawyer and Maclean’s, many Canadian magazines covered the #MeToo movement. Magazines interviewed movement leaders, victims, perpetrators, experts in the field of sexual harassment and the law, and even polled their audiences.

Maclean’s made one aspect of the conversation—the gender pay gap—visual with two different newsstand covers for their March 2018 issue, which were priced differently based on gender; men were asked to pay more for their copy. The magazine also published an investigative report into sexual assault accusations against Ontario Conservative MP Rick Dykstra, with Dykstra resigning as a direct result of their breaking online news. From opinion pieces to a book review, Maclean’s continues to cover the movement with many mediums.

The Walrus launched “Year in Action,” a cumulative project with long-form articles added throughout 2018, including “Am I Complicit in My Own MeToo” and “What Consent Means in the Age of MeToo.”

B2B magazines also weighed in on the movement, particularly those within the legal sector. Canadian Lawyer, already a veteran in covering sexual assault from a legality point of view, produced the online article “#MeToo Pushing Accountability for Sexual Assault Outside the Courtroom” and are following it up with an upcoming workplace-themed June/July 2018 print issue featuring two articles centering on the #MeToo movement. Legal magazine Precedent responded with opinion pieces such as “Why hasn’t the #MeToo movement come to law?

Consider format: Podcasts, surveys, covers, articles, book reviews, opinion pieces, video, interviews, surveys, charts, social media, gifs.


Canadian magazines covered this international story across platforms and mediums.

Chatelaine launched #TheManSurvey, asking 1,000 Canadian men between 25 and 65 about growing up, work, fatherhood, sex, mansplaining, loneliness, #MeToo and more. They transformed the results into “What’s It Like To Be A Man In 2018?” an exhaustive piece that featured charts, gifs, videos and more, to look at how our culture defines masculinity. [Ed: For more on how Chatelaine conceptualized and produced this survey, read our case study “Chatelaine: Canvassing for Content.”]

Canadian Living gave the issue a pop culture treatment with their listicle-style piece “5 Ways to Make Sure #Metoo Makes a Difference.” They also covered the movement in interview style with “What #WeMust Do to Continue to Empower Women and Girls Everywhere,” asking Caroline Riseboro, the President and CEO of Plan International Canada, to discuss the impact today’s movements are having internationally.

Ryerson Review of Journalism got in on the conversation with their Pull Quotes podcast episode “Journalism after #MeToo,” asking Canadian journalists where they should take the movement next. “Podcast formats can work well for these kinds of wide-ranging discussions, providing a space for dialogue that isn’t always possible in print,” says Laura Howells, Chief Podcast Producer, Ryerson Review of Journalism.

Balance: Velocity, sensitivity, accountability.


One underlying challenge of covering the #MeToo movement is the sensitive nature of the subject itself. To cover the movement with accuracy and true insight required journalists to ask pointed questions of both victims and alleged perpetrators, discuss difficult topics, and wrangle with their personal feelings about the subject. This required sensitivity in use of language and careful consideration in what questions should be asked—and how.

Another challenge was the sheer velocity with which the movement propelled itself forward. National magazines were forced to balance getting to print with an ever-growing, and at times shape-shifting, international story. To produce well-informed and thoughtful content that informed and captured the magnitude of the movement—backed up against deadlines—was a real challenge.

Lauren McKeon, Digital Editor at The Walrus, was able to overcome the challenge of trying to keep up with moments of change despite having a small digital team. They launched “The Year in Action” and “created a dedicated landing page where [they] could cover all different angles with a long-term focus.”

Finally, #MeToo coverage directly affected and continues to affect the lives and reputations of sources and subjects. Canadian Lawyer‘s Senior Editor Tim Wilbur stresses, “Magazines need to ensure that they are doing rigorous fact-checking and, wherever possible, seek legal advice.” Responsible journalism requires utmost respect of the full impact of published content.

Howells says: Consider the impact. Be thoughtful in your approach. Your content can affect your sources, subjects and audience.


When faced with covering a rapidly expanding movement, there are many things to consider.

Canadian Lawyer‘s Wilbur weighs in on the legalities of covering these kinds of subjects. “Legal requirements are different in Canada versus the U.S. Do some basic education on the legal issues and what kind of standards need to be upheld when reporting on something like this.”

For her part, The Walrus‘ McKeon takes a broader view and recommends honing in on what you do best a magazine. “From there, thinking about what kind of stories you bring that are unique and how you can cover the movement in a way that no one else can. Let your mandate inform your approach. Do what you do best. Think about how can you add that no one else can add. Don’t worry about playing catch up. You be you.”


Chatelaine: Canvassing for Content

For more than 80 years, Chatelaine has established itself as one of Canada’s most trusted brands by speaking to and with women about the best of style, home, food, health and real life. In keeping with this mandate, the magazine decided to commission major national surveys to get further insights into the minds and hearts of women across the country, aged 35 to 45. From these surveys, Chatelaine published two ambitious multimedia packages called “This is 40(ish)”—one in 2016 and the other in 2017. In 2018, as the #MeToo movement captivated the world, Chatelaine chose to focus on Canadian men and launched another survey—this time aimed at 25- to 65-year-old men. The resulting package, titled “The Man Survey,” revealed men’s thoughts on everything from masculinity to feminism, to sex, love, relationships and their role in the movement.

Survey: 45 questions; 1,000 people. Spinoff: Multimedia packaged content.


For each of their three surveys, Chatelaine worked with Abacus Data, an Ottawa-based polling, public opinion and market research firm.

“We asked ourselves what we would really want to know if we could ask anything,” says Lianne George, Chatelaine‘s Editor-in-Chief. The team then whittled down the list to about 45 questions and Abacus put these in front of 1,000 people across Canada. From the participants’ answers, the magazine spun off print pieces, multiple video series and social assets to support the surveys.

Having this multi-pronged approach gives Chatelaine an opportunity to “delve into conversations inspired by the results,” explained George. “This is actually the fun part, where you get to mine the findings for stand-out stats that lend themselves to deeper exploration via an article or video, for example.”

While Chatelaine‘s process started with defining what kind of content they wanted to produce, the team acknowledged they would need to remain flexible. “We had a sense of what we wanted to do when we started, but certainly the execution was informed by the most interesting results,” says George.

Finding balance: time x process


Chatelaine has a staff of 24; George estimates about half worked on the survey series when factoring in all the stages of content creation. It was no small or quick feat. To wit: the team worked to conceptualize the project, commission the survey, write the questions, parse results, assign content, produce video, shoot portraits, write, edit, design, plan social strategy and finally, publish. From start to finish, each package took about six months to complete.

Given the many moving parts, managing the timeline could have been a concern. But for George, it was a matter of allocating a generous planning period and sticking to a strict workback schedule.

Challenge: Making sure context and intent of participants' words are not lost in the editing process.


“One of our biggest challenges was ensuring we captured a representative collection of voices—both in responses to the survey and in our video series, where we teased out some of the most provocative questions,” says George. She stresses that it was crucial that the context and true intent of participants’ words were not lost in the process of editing hours of footage into minutes-long videos.

She also points to how highlighting surprising facts can garner much attention. “In our first iteration, what struck us was the stat that only 32% of women self-identified as feminists,” she states. “By publishing this, we were able to catch the attention of major influencers like Lena Dunham and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”

According to George, 2017 was very successful from a traffic and engagement perspective. They created social media content that had major organic reach; designed a popular, cheeky and downloadable emoji set (including yogurt, a bottle of wine and some comfy, high-waisted underwear); and their hashtag, #ThisIs40ish, trended #1 in Canada on launch day. “It was one of our top stories of the year in terms of unique views and social engagement.”

When it comes to #TheManSurvey of 2018, Chatelaine was able to help nudge forward an important conversation about how certain gender expectations and attitudes shape the experiences of Canadian men and women.

Having established great success with the surveys over the past three years, Chatelaine is already planning another for 2019.

George says: Surveys are great for getting to know your audience. And they generate a lot of relevant story ideas, too!


According to George, the foundation for the multi-year project’s success came from working with the right polling firm.

“You’ll want to partner with someone you trust and who understands your editorial mandate,” she says. “Abacus really understood the value in what we were trying to do and helped us position our questions effectively without changing the editorial nature of the language we were using.”

She is also confident in Chatelaine‘s investment in these surveys. “They’re a great way to get to know your audience and generate a lot of relevant story ideas in one go!”

Read Chatelaine‘s survey content for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)


5 Tips for Maximizing Your Instagram Strategy by Ashley Cassidy Seale

Ashley Cassidy SealeBy Ashley Cassidy Seale, Founder and Creative Director, Ruby Social Co.

Counting more than 500 million active users, Instagram remains the fastest growing social media platform today. With over 40 billion photos posted to date and an average of 95 million photos and videos being shared per day, the conversation has quickly moved from “should we be on Instagram?” to “how can we maximize our presence?”

Many companies tend to think of their Instagram page as a place to editorialize and humanize their brand, so as a publisher you naturally have a leg up on the fine art of storytelling. As Instagram is a visual platform first, it’s important to draw people in with both beautiful and engaging content. Balancing quality content with a well-thought-out strategic plan is the way to see growth and success. Here are five tips to help you and your team maximize your efforts:

1. Get to know your audience

Of course, what works will differ vastly from publisher to publisher so it’s important to first consider your audience. This is a word that you should never forget when you talk about your social media marketing strategy—community. In fact, it would be helpful eliminate the word “followers” or “following” entirely from your vocabulary. Sound harsh? With far too many individuals and brands being too focused on growing their following rather than building a community, users are becoming increasingly savvy and skeptical of “hidden agendas” or the feeling of being sold to.

The best place to start is to take some time to look at who is following you already. This is a very simple and often overlooked practice, but there is much insight to be gained. Take note of the following (either through stats or through actually combing through your feed): where does my community live, how old are they, what type of content do they post, how often, who are they following, what type of posts do they engage with? People share much of their lives on social media now, so we have even more information to analyze to better understand them and anticipate what will best resonate.

Next, audit your own existing content. Using Instagram for Business’ stats tool it’s easy to analyze which posts are performing well, which are creating conversation, and which are falling flat. Don’t be afraid to be critical of past content in order to improve moving forward.

2. Have a purpose

While we can all agree it’s crucial to have a presence on Instagram, it’s paramount to understand and be diligent about your “why.” Competition is healthy for business but falling into a comparison trap with your fellow publishers can be paralyzing at times. It may be tempting to feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, but you know your audience best.

The best place to start is to outline your goals. While the most obvious thing may be to grow the number of followers you have (and growth should always be part of the mix), you’ll likely want to set your sights on other metrics including: driving traffic to your hero platform, increasing engagement and driving conversation about your content, testing new content, etc. Consult with your team to establish clear benchmarks and multiple checkpoints throughout the year (quarterly is a good rule of thumb); however, it’s important to remember that Instagram is also an excellent brand-building tool and that sometimes this kind of growth is less tangible.

What content pillars does your publication focus on? Consider these and then think about which would work best on Instagram. It’s recommended that you choose three to five pillars and stick to them to as to not be too generalized.

Consider your value propositionーwhat are you offering? As with your regular content, there should always be a takeaway for the reader. Think of your content as less of a teaser to your website and more of a sidebar. What can you offer on your Instagram feed that users can’t find anywhere else? The more value you deliver, the more engaged and trusting your community will become.

3. Create a cohesive aesthetic

Unlike Twitter or Facebook, Instagram relies heavily on visuals. While storytelling is important (we’ll address this in the next step), the thing that will get you noticed faster than anything is beautiful imagery.

The best profiles on Instagram have a signature look and feel. Think about your brand positioning and what this looks like on other platforms and how this can translate to Instagram.

Consider colour palette, brand aesthetic and audience. Do this by focusing on your top nine photos at any given time, so as to not appear overtly formulaic. Explore options with colour tone (warm or cool), white space, props and backdrops, and commit to a look.

4. Leverage the caption

A good photo is great, but the magic happens when that million dollar shot is paired with a thoughtful story or insight. See the caption as an opportunity to tell a story and inspire conversation. Embrace the micro-blogging format (who says you have to stop at 140 characters? Not Instagram), but balance this by knowing when to keep it short and sweet.

Keep storytelling at the core. Do this by mixing it up: share a story, evoke emotion, aim to inspire, shed some light and lend your expertise. Of course, all content should reflect editorial values, maintain integrity and stay true to the voice of your publication.

5. Embrace the content calendar

Create a content calendar for Instagram by leveraging the editorial calendar for your hero content. Think about ways to expand on this content and add a new twist for Instagram. Planning ahead at least two to three weeks is ideal; however, leave room to be nimble and flexible to respond or address world events, pop culture stories and viral trends that fit within the context of your brand.

Stick to a posting schedule. Consistency is key with the new algorithm, so posting at a similar time at least four to five times per week will help ensure your content is being seen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with posting times to see what captures the attention of your audience best. Magazines Canada

Ashley Cassidy Seale is a communications professional with more than a decade of public relations and marketing experience. Between her time in the agency world, helming teams and leading award-winning, national campaigns for lifestyle, fashion and beauty brands to working in-house for design houses and luxury retail, Ashley has fine-tuned a truly holistic expertise. An early adopter of social media, she harnessed her digital know-how to build an online presence under the moniker Quaintrelle, which has since evolved from a lifestyle blog to a bona fide, internationally recognized brand with workshops and events. An influencer in her own right, she launched Ruby Social Co.—a communications and content studio for clever brands—to bring this unique perspective to thoughtfully navigate her clients into the spotlight.

Magazines Canada Hotsheets deliver current information on a single topic, each written by an expert in the field. Return to Magazines Canada Hotsheets.

Canada Council for the Arts / Conseil des arts du Canada Department of Canadian Heritage Ontario Arts Council / Conseil des arts de l'Ontario Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)


Inuit Art Quarterly: Where Creatives Converge

For its 30th anniversary, Inuit Art Quarterly chose to create an ambitious portfolio of 30 Inuit artists. They asked 15 leading figures in Inuit art to nominate an early-career artist to watch and, in turn, those artists selected a senior talent who inspired them. The result, “30 Artists to Know,” is an expansive portfolio exploring the intergenerational, familial and community-based bonds that are made visible through art.

The multi-vocal, geographically diverse and deeply thoughtful piece features a broad range of contemporary and historical artists working across all forms of media.

15 nominators, 15 emerging artists, 15 elder artists.


The goal of IAQ‘s portfolio was to profile emerging and established artists in a way that felt innovative, responsive and engaging. They reached this goal by featuring artists in a wide range of practices, including film, photography, performance, graphic arts, fashion design, sculpture and textiles.

The magazine piece contains profiles of 15 early career artists and 15 elder artists; and a short excerpt on 15 leading figures in art who acted as nominators. It features narrative text and a feature image of one piece of art by each artist. The strong visuals were essential in allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about artistic influence and legacy. By only publishing one work from each artist, the editorial team hoped to pique the interest of their audience and encourage them to seek these artists out further.

“The Inuit art community—which includes artists, curators, gallerists, collectors and others—is relatively small and tight-knit and most everyone involved has been working with great enthusiasm for many years to raise the profile of these exceptional artists,” says IAQ editor Britt Gallpen. “It felt fitting to share this important moment and platform with them.”

It is not unusual for Inuit artists creating today to be working within a long, familial artistic lineage. The profiles as a whole provide crucial insight into personal connections between artists, whether professional, community-based or familial. This series of profiles is also geographically diverse, highlighting artists working in more than fifteen communities, hailing from coast to coast to coast and including urban Inuit working in the Canadian south.

By the Numbers: 27 image sources, 18 months of work, 34 pages of content, 30 writers, 65 contributors.


As a starting point, the editorial team drafted a large list of potential nominators with an eye to regional diversity and areas of expertise.

“It was important to us that artists working in various media and in various locations would be selected. Understandably, we started with a larger list that was whittled down based on availability and interest,” explains Gallpen.

Nominators were then asked to shortlist two exciting early career artists for inclusion in the feature. They were encouraged to select artists with promising practices who had not yet received much critical attention for their work. Crucially, the term “early career” was not associated with any type of age restriction. The team requested that nominators select artists who would be willing to write or speak with them about an inspirational artist. After the creation of a long list of next generation artists, it was cross-referenced for duplicates before assigning each nominator with a final artist to write about. In turn, these early career artists were asked to nominate an elder artist who inspired and motivated their artistic growth.

Images were carefully chosen to show the relationship between the emerging and established artists, while also highlighting each artist’s best known style and techniques. When possible, photos were used of artworks made using the same materials (for example, textiles from Fanny Algaalaga Avatituq and Ruth Qaulluaryuk, drawings from Tony Anguhalluq and Luke Anguhadluq, and etchings from Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak and Helen Kalvak) to best show the visual similarities (and differences) between the artists’ work.

82% new website visitors.


Since the spring of 2016, IAQ had broadened the scope of the magazine. Readers accustomed to reading about textile, stone, bone and paper artists were hesitant to accept the inclusion of artists working in media such as film, installation, photography and performance. The “30 Artists to Know” piece presented the magazine with a unique opportunity to articulate and solidify a new vision for the magazine. And it gave readers a chance to acquaint themselves with contemporary artists working in a wide range of practices, and also to learn about their relationship with iconic artists who had come before.

This large-scale undertaking involved considerable logistics, which presented several challenges to the Inuit Art Quarterly editorial team of two.

Working with 30 contributors for the text required much communication and coordination. In some cases, contributors didn’t have phones or use email. The team used a variety of tools including Facebook Messenger, email, word-of-mouth and phone calls to reach artists, in most cases interviewing them prior to drafting entries for their comment and approval.

In addition, more than 27 individuals and institutions—both within Canada and abroad—were required to secure images.

“Some photos were particularly difficult to source, as was the case for Arnakallak Saimut, whose work is exceptionally scarce,” reports Gallpen. “The small carving reproduced in the article is from the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Spain, and was found very late in the editorial process. Other photos, particularly the video stills and photos of live performances, were difficult to source as existing documentation of historic Inuit musicians, actors and filmmakers is often not of exceptional quality.”

Gallpen says: Be accountable and agile with your contributors. This is especially important if you are supporting voices that often go unheard.


This type of feature requires that the editorial team rely heavily on non-industry contributors outside of their organization. Therefore, devoting considerable time and resources to a project of this nature is highly recommended by Gallpen.

“Giving yourself ample time, both for in-house production as well as for your contributors, is crucial. Additionally, creating backup plans should contributors fall through at the last minute is highly advisable,” advises Gallpen. “Be willing to relinquish authority and control and to embrace the unexpected.”

Gallpen also recommends that if a potential contributor is not available, ask them to suggest an alternate—this is an organic way to expand the magazine’s network.

This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)


Canadian Forest Industries: Surveys the Nation

Canadian Forest Industries had known for several years that Canadian logging contractors were struggling financially. What they could not pinpoint—and no one else in the industry could either—was exactly how much they were struggling. It was common knowledge that most contractors had taken rate cuts to help the forestry industry through the 2007–2011 recession in U.S. housing. When the industry finally recovered from 2012 onwards, it seemed that contractors were being left behind but there was no hard data.

Canadian Forest Industries‘ audience is comprised of independent small- to medium-sized businesses, who simply didn’t have the resources or associations to collect the comprehensive data required. So the magazine decided to tackle the project themselves: they thought it would provide several months’ worth of exclusive online content to drive traffic, followed by a formal report. In a best case scenario, the CFI team hoped their findings would make an impact on the debate about the profitability crisis happening between the industry, the government and the contractors.

Content: The Breakdown—1 survey, 236 responses, 56-page final report, 15-part web series.


Group Publisher and Editorial Director Scott Jamieson and Canadian Forest Industries Editor Maria Church led the charge in launching the exhaustive readership survey to get feedback on the current state of the forestry industry in Canada.

After receiving the final data, the CFI editorial team combed through it for themes and angles, ready to analyze the results and turn the data into multiple forms of content. When they started reviewing the data and brainstorming how to share it, it became clear that a multi-media, multi-step approach was best.

The team did a gradual content rollout from June to October 2016. This slow trickle helped build momentum around the survey results and garner feedback, and allowed staff to manage the survey workload around their regular duties by staggering the work.

They began by launching a weekly 15-part web series with each short piece focused on a key finding from the survey, such as “Real world logging profits,” “Machine operator earnings,” “Operating cost trends,” and “Fleet replacement plans.” Each installment was promoted to CFI‘s 16,000 e-news subscribers and on their Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Canadian Forest Industries also ran a longer regional report every few weeks on Canada’s main forest areas to show their audience how their region was doing relative to prior years and other regions. After releasing the 15 themed reports and regional reports digitally from late June to late September, the team created a three-page summary article for the magazine’s October 2016 issue. Additionally, they produced a video segment that featured CFI editor Maria Church and anchor Tamar Atik sharing key findings from the survey data.

The CFI survey results were also shared in industry presentations at OptiSaw 2016 in Vancouver, and another at the Truck Loggers Association AGM in 2017.

Finally, the CFI team produced a 56-page final report. This combined all 15 thematic reports, the five regional reports and an executive summary in a single volume, along with quotes from loggers across Canada. It was released in October 2016, in conjunction with the October 2016 summary article.

Helpful Tip: Reach B2B readers during their slow season.


Scott Jamieson and Maria Church worked together to create the survey, and then solicited feedback from a few logging associations, with the Truck Loggers Association in BC acting as a main partner. The CFI team threw everything they could think of into the survey questions and then used timers to whittle it down to a 15-minute survey. They also worked with third-party research firm Bramm & Associates to vet the survey, to ensure that their questions would produce usable data. All told, it took CFI under two weeks to produce the entire survey in English and French.

After launching the bilingual survey in early April 2016 (typically a slow time for loggers as they are not running their operations), the CFI team reached out to potential participants through email; online links on the magazine’s English and French sites; and LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in both English and French. It was in the market for six weeks, resulting in over 230 complete replies to the detailed survey questions. As noted in the 15-part web series, survey respondents “were distributed according to the geographic breakdown of the forest industry, with 50% in Western Canada, 25% in Quebec, and the rest found in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and central Canada. Within BC responses were almost evenly split between the BC coast and Interior.”

The research firm had a final report to CFI by mid-June. The editorial team then spent a week reviewing the results and planning how they’d roll them out to their audience.

Reaching Out: Email, shares, links.


Initially, the magazine was worried that the length of the survey would limit the number of complete replies. They decided to reach out to their target group directly through CASL-compliant emails, social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), and popular industry websites.

Fortunately, the group of logging contractors that CFI was reaching out to were highly motivated. The contractors genuinely wanted to know the state of the industry. The survey also received a vote of support from the largest logging association, Truck Loggers in BC, who encouraged members to take the time to complete it.

Time management was a major challenge for the CFI team on this project as they were adding a large assignment to an already busy editorial staff. Using a third-party research firm to vet the survey and create the initial report was crucial, both for credibility and workload.

Jamieson also notes that executing a successful survey requires a skilled editor who is comfortable manipulating data and finding the story in the numbers.

Jamieson says: Manage the workload. Roll out your content. Then re-purpose it for the main report.


Research is one area where magazines can make a meaningful impact on their market, especially for business media markets and brands. Industry magazines are one of the few organizations within a sector that can provide an unbiased perspective on pressing industry issues. To help finance these projects, Jamieson recommends finding sponsors to pay for the research. For CFI‘s survey, Hultdins, Stihl, Tigercat and Ponsse were sponsors and the work was supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).

Jamieson also recommends talking to stakeholders in your community to see what information would be most useful, testing the surveys with them, and giving a lot of thought to how the information will be used. For example, in the CFI survey the print magazine was a relatively minor player, with the majority of content produced for online, digital and social channels. He also recommends using free charting software online that can turn numbers into graphs and charts in a few minutes to avoid getting bogged down in the graphics process. The production department can then create high-end versions of the graphics chosen for print.

CFI released a follow-up survey in April 2018, which they hope will allow them to start analysing industry trends in the data. Using a similar content marketing strategy as for the 2017 survey, CFI plans to increase their use of social media for the 2018 survey outreach and eventual results sharing. The magazine’s ultimate goal is to produce a similar survey every two years.

See the full report here.

This Showcasing Success case study was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)


Print Engagement in Social Landscapes by Kate Lesniak

Facebook Marketing and Engagement for Magazines

Kate LesniakBy Kate Lesniak, Publisher, Bitch Media

Every other week, another think-piece comes out declaring that Facebook still isn’t generating direct revenue for publishers. Guess what? That trend is never going to change, and publishers shouldn’t expect it to. Facebook—and all social media, for that matter—isn’t here to boost your brand or fund media, it’s here to repackage the content you paid for into a sticky-as-hell internet magnet. So what to do? Stop counting on Facebook to care. And start building a revenue model that engages readers somewhere else when it really counts.

Part I: Defining Engagement & Measures of Success

In today’s publishing industry, the term “engagement” means something new every day. In this case, it’s important for your team—both editorial and revenue sides—to be on the same page about its definition. In its broadest application, engagement means the strategic use of social media and other digital and traditional platforms to bring readers closer into your organization, with the goal of eventually converting that reader to a paying member or subscriber. Before setting out to create a plan for engagement and marketing, first sit down with your team to define what it means at your organization.

Once you’ve come to a common, operational definition for engagement at your organization, it’s time to define what successful engagement looks like. Why are you using Facebook? What do you hope to get out of the platform? How will what you do on Facebook add value directly to your organization financially? Start with these questions. Specifically, after answering these questions, it’s important to arrive at agreement between editorial and revenue teams on the one action that is most valuable to your organization, or a “Core Action.” The Core Action is the most important thing a reader can do after engaging with your content for the first time on Facebook. As a print publisher, your Core Action should focus on moving readers closer to your publication, away from Facebook, and onto a platform where you determine how often and with what message you’re able to reach a reader. Common Core Actions include signing up for an email list or downloading an app. Both share one thing in common: They do not emphasize Facebook’s newsfeed as a reliable conduit for your marketing strategy.

Part II: Building a Facebook Engagement Strategy that Converts

For many in the past, the Core Action for Facebook has been divorced from the core action for the organization. For example, marketing teams would focus on acquiring “Likes” on Facebook with the intention of leveraging content exposure in the newsfeed into paid subscribers. The theory was that more “Likes” would mean more readers, which would then somehow, magically, turn into subscribers. Thanks to an enigmatic, ever-changing algorithm that has nearly edged out publishers completely, that strategy doesn’t work anymore (and it really never did).

In fact, your best marketing and engagement strategy for Facebook will focus on Facebook as a traffic driver for readers into your Core Action, rather than relying on Facebook to convert casual readers into paying readers. That’s why it’s so important for the content creators (editorial) and revenue generators (sales, development, etc.) to be on the same page about the ultimate reason behind your outlet’s presence on Facebook.

First, be sure that editorial sets a plan for content sharing on Facebook that’s both routine and allows space to capitalize on evergreen content (formerly published articles that are relevant to a spiking issue) when issues come to the forefront. If your magazine offers digital-sneak peeks or full articles online, share those on a routine basis, and make sure that once readers click through to read the story, they’re funneled into an opportunity to complete your Core Action before they leave your site. Develop an editorial content sharing strategy for Facebook that sets expectations for readers, and, importantly as a print publication, brings your content and those who are responsible for developing it off of the printed page.

After you’ve determined your sharing routines, how they drive into your Core Action and how your team is configured to make sure you’re getting the most of both points of contact, then, on a secondary level, it’s time to consider how Facebook as an isolated platform can also be useful. As a social tool that allows readers to come face to face with editors, writers, designers and those who are responsible for your publication, Facebook excels. Scheduling interviews or behind-the-scenes conversations via Facebook Live, as long as you offer an up-front routine, can be a great way to bring your readers closer to your publication. Pro tip: Make sure your programming for Facebook Live includes questions for viewers who might be watching—and if those on-screen can engage with the comments section while they’re live, even better. Of course, if you want to close the loop and be able to communicate with viewers after the live broadcast ends (core action!), make sure you have a specific call to action for viewers—a discount code for a subscription, a list where they can sign up to win a free issue, a place to send in questions for editors—so that you’re able to control the next time you can reach those viewers.

Part III: Other Tips

Although Facebook as a direct revenue conversion platform has its limits, there are some free tools that you can use to maximize your reach as well as your acquisition costs.

  • For starters, try applying ActionSprout to your account, a free platform that allows you to track both your most engaging posts on Facebook, as well as accounts (publishers) who distribute similar content. By tracking the success of your posts as well as posts from similar accounts, you’ll be able to make informed choices about what to boost as well as what you share in your own stream from others that’ll increase your Likes and, ostensibly, your visibility in the newsfeed moving forward. You’ll also be able to invite editors (or whoever is responsible for the success of your social programs) as individual users, so that each person has a sense of what’s successful on Facebook, and what’s not.
  • You may be surprised by who is following you on Facebook, and how much potential reach your outlet would have if your marketing team were able to successfully engage any celebrities, politicians, or similarly prominent individuals who might be following you. To find out who those folks are, use the free tool Social Rank and get to work cultivating relationships with those users. Validation and shares from high-worth social accounts offers enormous potential to increase your reach.
  • If you’re looking to make the most of your spending budget for Facebook, make sure you install Facebook Pixel on your website so that you’re able to identify and remarket the most likely readers to convert for your publication. Pixel allows you follow on Facebook with highly targeted ads and if you’re looking to control your cost-per-acquisition, Pixel will maximize your spend. Magazines Canada

Kate Lesniak is the publisher at Bitch Media, the feminist response to pop culture. Each day, Kate’s work focuses on one central question: How does an independent, community-supported feminist media outlet thrive in an environment that caters to corporate media and is constantly evolving through new engagement models and platforms? An organizer, fundraiser and innovator by trade, a friendly competitor by nature, and a person who is 100 percent committed to outsmarting the patriarchy, Kate approaches new challenges with energy for creative solutions and respect for the historical changemakers who paved the way for all of us. In 2017, Kate was named one of Media Shift’s Top 20 Digital Media Innovators.

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Canada Council for the Arts / Conseil des arts du Canada Department of Canadian Heritage Ontario Arts Council / Conseil des arts de l'Ontario Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)