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GDPR Readiness: 7 Areas to Address by Derek Lackey

Photo of Derek LackeyBy Derek Lackey, President, Direct Marketing Association of Canada

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires a complete re-think of data management practices:

  • How you capture it,
  • How and where you manage it,
  • Whether or not you share it, and most important,
  • How and when you process that data.

If you do business in the EU, but not enough to completely rewire your data operations (for example, a firm that markets a product or service to EU citizens), we will address the key areas that we believe the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) will be looking for after May 25, 2018.

Before taking an action you must assess whether you are a Data Controller or a Data Processor. (See GDPR Chapter 4.)

Stated plainly, a Controller decides what is collected when and how it is processed. A Processor carries out the request of the Controller. It is not unusual for an organization to be both, so always consider which hat you are wearing.

We will break GDPR into 7 areas of concern:

1. EU Data Subject Rights

Under GDPR, every data subject in the EU is entitled to the following rights:

  1. The right to be informed
  2. The right of access
  3. The right of rectification
  4. The right to erasure
  5. The right to restrict processing
  6. The right to data portability
  7. The right to object
  8. Rights related to automated decision making and profiling

Details for each of these rights can be found in Chapter 3.

These rights are most easily complied with if your data is centralized.

You must design and document policies and procedures that allow you to fulfill any of these requests within a reasonable period (30 days).

If difficulties are encountered, you can communicate with the Data Subject and inform them you require up to an additional 60 days to manage their request.

To comply with these rights, publishers must:

a) Develop processes to fulfill the request of the Data Subject within 30 days.
b) Be able to immediately stop processing data from individual consumers or sets of consumers when requested.

2. Accountability

One of the most important principles within GDPR is the notion of accountability. Any company that stores or processes consumer data must be able to demonstrate how they comply with the principles.

Publishers should answer the following five questions:

  1. At the point of collection, did we specify how this personal data will be used?
  2. Can we track and prove how the data was collected (date and timestamp, IP address, etc.)?
  3. Can we limit data collection to specifically what is necessary to serve the purpose for which it is collected (data minimization)?
  4. Can we store the data only as long as necessary for its intended purpose?
  5. Can we prove that we have done our best to secure the data?

In short, GDPR requires new levels of accountability and transparency, placing the responsibility firmly on the publisher’s ability to be able to demonstrate and prove all aspects of compliance.

Documenting how and why personal data was collected as well as the written policies and procedures is an important part of compliance. (See Guidance Document “Accountability.”)

3. Data Minimization

Throughout GDPR, data minimization is called for. If you do not need the collected data to do the business you wish to do, GDPR calls for you to delete that data.

Once the purpose of collecting data is complete, you should consider deleting it. So both the quantity (number of fields provided) and the length of time the data is kept are affected.

In all likelihood, it is this kind of useless data that will result in penalties for your organization.

4. Lawful Basis for Processing

This is a fundamental decision that must be made for every way you process data.

If you are sending emails, that is one form of data processing. If you are using cookies to profile an individuals’ preferences, that is another form of processing.

For each way you process that individual’s data you must decide on the Lawful Basis of Processing. (See Article 6.)

There are 3 lawful bases available to the private sector:

a) CONTRACTUAL: For all customers and near customers, you can do all types of processing required within the fulfillment of that contract. We recommend you update your terms and conditions and call out that you intend to email them, offering an opt-out opportunity at the point of data collection as well as in every email sent (unsubscribe mechanism that allows an individual to easily opt out). It should be as easy to unsubscribe as it is to subscribe. Important to note, this does not give you cart blanche to stuff all sorts of conditions into your terms and conditions. They must be relevant to your ability to fulfill on your contract with those individuals.

b) LEGITIMATE INTEREST: Much has been written and discussed on this form of lawful basis for processing, but our lawyers assure us that B2B players can communicate on a soft opt-out basis. Prospects that are engaged and show interest in your area of business can be contacted on this basis. The rule of thumb when executing is: if the recipient of an email could be left asking “Why did they send this to ME?” you should ask yourself, “Should this person be on our list?” In order to claim it is a legitimate interest, a Legitimate Interest Assessment must be completed. It is, in essence, a balancing test between your organization’s interests and the data subject’s interests.

c) CONSENT: If using webforms and online registration (opening an account) or trade show data collection (business cards, show organized scanners, etc.), be sure to add a couple of sentences to your collection forms like: “Thank you for subscribing to [name of your email subscription] from [name and address of the organization]. We will send you information relative to [your field of service]. You can reach us at ______ or ________. You can unsubscribe at any time.”

As a separate check box you could add “Yes, please include relevant messages from industry sources, including sponsors and advertisers.”

(See Guidance Document “Legitimate Interest” and/or “Consent.”)

5. Third Party Agreements

All third party agreements/contracts with vendors, partners and even clients do NOT currently include the language needed to provide clarity regarding who is responsible for what under GDPR. As these contracts become due, a close examination of the GDPR impact should be considered and appropriate clauses should be folded in to the new agreements.

6. Data Breach Protocol

GDPR requires all organizations who maintain personal data on EU data subjects to have a documented process in place in case of a Data Breach Incident. There are reporting requirements depending on the nature of the breach; when sensitive personal data is involved and there is potential for harm to the data subject, notification to your Data Protection Authority (DPA) is required within 72 hours. (See Guidance Document “Breach Reporting.”)

7. Webforms and Cookie Notices

This will be the responsibility of the new ePrivacy law working its way through the parliamentary process in the EU. Suffice to say, provide a Yes/No option so consumers can choose the placement of cookies to help serve them better. Forcing them to choose between viewing your site or giving consent is not consent “freely given” as defined by GDPR.

Other considerations:

  1. If your business operates from outside the EU, you should at the very least have appointed a representative within the EU.
  2. You should only transfer data outside of the EU to countries that offer an appropriate level of protection. PIPEDA (Canada’s current privacy law) has been deemed adequate, meaning data can be transferred across EU borders to Canada. To do so in the U.S. you may consider the Privacy Shield.
  3. Larger organizations who hold a lot of personal data may want to appoint a Data Protection Officer.

Fines of up to €20 million (US$23.9m) or four percent of annual global sales can be levied for noncompliance. Losing audience data and digital revenues for not having a GDPR strategy in place could prove even worse. (See Guidance Document “Administration Fines.”) Magazines Canada


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)

Content:

5 Reasons to Use Instagram Stories by Ashley Cassidy Seale

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

Instagram continues to dominate the social media scene by evolving its offering to remain the most relevant social network today. One of its fastest growing offerings is Instagram Stories (to give you an idea, 200 million people use the feature daily, which is 50 million more than Snapchat), allowing users to record short video clips that appear above the photo feed. While these videos used to disappear within 24 hours (a la Snapchat), users now have the option to save these videos and add them to their profile “Highlights.”

In an age of curated perfection and perhaps overly glossy content, it’s easy to understand why the on-the-fly nature of Stories has become so popular. The trend will continue to explode into this year; here are five reasons you should place a greater emphasis on Stories in 2018:

1. Stories offer more chances to be discovered by new followers

Many brands and individuals alike have noted that is increasingly difficult to grow their presence on Instagram. Due to the ongoing algorithm changes by Facebook as they continue to move towards the pay-to-play model, many users have experienced a considerable drop in the level of engagement with their content. This has been felt across the board and can be very discouraging; however, there are ways to improve the situation. While there is not an exact science of how to best improve the odds of your content being seen, regularly using Stories has been noted to help. In addition to being seen by your existing followers, Stories are also discoverable, which means that by including a hashtag and location you can be found on the Explore page by new followers.

2. Easily drive traffic to your website

If you have more than 10,000 followers and are using Instagram for Business, the company has included a helpful feature which allows you to link to outside content right within Stories. This is incredibly powerful for eliminating the barriers of traffic conversion as it allows a seamless transition from the Instagram app to your own website.

3. Provide a behind-the-scenes look and grant special access to events

Get creative with the type of content you post on Stories, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Stories allows you to provide a behind-the-scenes look at a story or bring the follower along with you to special events by reporting live from a location. While there are great ways to stylize your Stories to reflect your brand, the idea of this feature is to be a bit more authentic and less polished (believe it or not). Enhance your video by adding colours, stickers, filters and text.

4. Put a face to your team members

First and foremost, social media should be social. Stories is a great place to give your editorial staff members a (literal) voice. Pull back the curtain and consider scheduling regular “takeovers” with your various team members and have them expand on their content by adding their perspective. This can be a great strategy for humanizing your publication or adding a face to a byline, so to speak.

5. Stay top of mind

The more frequently you post on Stories, the more users engage with your videos, the further up in their feed you’ll move up. Using Stories is a great way to stay top of mind with your audience as it’s more real time than the traditional photo feed. Use the poll function and encourage your community to engage via DM (ensure your community manager is on top of this) to create a greater feeling of connection and trust. Experiment with different posting times outside of traditional business hours (i.e., evenings and weekends) to acknowledge your communities in different time zones than your own. 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)

Content:

3 Tips to Improve Your Twitter Game in 2018 by Ashley Cassidy Seale

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

While it may seem like Instagram is getting all of the attention these days, Twitter is still a very important place to be in today’s political and economic climateーespecially for publishers. Although the platform is struggling to innovate, it remains not only a powerful traffic driver but also a popular place for breaking news.

Here are 3 tips to improve your Twitter game in 2018:

1. Tweet for Twitter’s sake

It can feel like a waste to not be constantly directing your community to the long-form content on your site, but constantly sharing links is the Twitter equivalent to a brand selling to followers at every turn. The most important thing to recognize (and remind ourselves of) is that social media is meant to be social.

While you want to hit your KPIs and convert traffic to your hero content, you will quickly lose the attention of your community if you fail to balance this with added value, conversation and a more human element. Get involved in the conversation as an outlet, rather than not responding to the reactions of your readers. Try using the poll tool to expand the views expressed in your content or gauge the reaction of your community.

2. Use unique visuals to attract more attention to your content

While Twitter is not an inherently visual platform, that’s the perfect reason to incorporate more images and video into your strategy. Spark curiosity, build excitement, or illustrate a narrative to increase your chances of having your content clicked on, engaged with and, better yetーshared.

You may dismiss GIFs and feel they are limited to juvenile memes shared with friends; however, they can be created in an elevated way that reflects your brand as a publisher. Using GIFs provides the opportunity to allow your followers to engage with your content and expand beyond the character limit.

Twitter is investing in video for 2018, so this should be part of your strategy as you move into the year. Posting accompanying short clips will help attract attention in your feed and will encourage more retweets.

3. Leverage the voice of your staff writers

When you look at many top media outlets on Twitter, the majority of them are focusing their strategy on driving traffic to their website. Rather than simply looking at your Twitter feed as a sort of RSS feed, look at what makes your publication unique.

A surefire way to differentiate from this tiresome model is to showcase the diversity of your assets—the talent and perspective of your staff writers. It’s likely, as we continue to move within a global news cycle, your competitors are covering similar stories.

As the concept of a Twitter chat has mostly come and gone, the idea of discussion between an account and its community has fallen to the wayside. Bring back this thinking by using your feed as a forum again. By scheduling takeovers or Twitter chats with your writers and reporters, you can build on and borrow the equity of their individual accounts and link it back to your publication’s main account. 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)

Content:

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.

WHAT THEY DID

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.

HOW THEY DID IT

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.

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES

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.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

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.”

Content:

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.

WHAT THEY DID

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

HOW THEY DID IT

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.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

“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!

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

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)

Content:

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)

Content:

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.

WHAT THEY DID

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.

HOW THEY DID IT

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.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

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.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

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)

Content:

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.

WHAT THEY DID

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.

HOW THEY DID IT

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.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

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.

KNOWLEDGE SHARING

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)

Content:

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.

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)

Content:

Showcasing Success

We are inspired every day by Canadian magazines and the innovative people and ideas that drive our industry forward. “Showcasing Success” shares stories and best practices from the people producing great things in Canada’s magazine media.

Showcasing Success: Innovative magazine professionals share the stories behind their most successful work and favourite projects.

In Canada, great magazines are made every day. New titles continue to emerge, and our most distinguished magazine brands continue to get better. Why? In addition to the Canadians at home and abroad who read hundreds of millions of Canadian magazines a year, we can thank the innovative people who work in magazines—people like you, who develop the concepts, write and edit, design, produce, publish, distribute, hold events and engage communities of readers across print, digital and multi-platform channels.

At Magazines Canada, we are inspired every day by Canadian magazines and the innovative people and ideas that drive our industry forward. The Showcasing Success project seeks out, interviews and shares stories and best practices from the diverse voices producing great things in Canada’s magazine media. We’re excited to share ten new case studies with you, each one of which focuses on the creativity, innovation and successes within Canadian magazines.

The case studies will be released in April and May, so be sure to check back! Join us as we share these amazing Canadian magazines and the incredible work they create every day across all platforms.

CASE STUDIES

Showcasing Success: 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.

Read the case study.

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.

Read the case study.

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.

Read the case study.

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.

Read the case study.

Le Bulletin des agriculteurs : Mission accomplie

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Le Bulletin des agriculteurs, a magazine covering the Quebec agricultural sector.

What’s their secret for long life? “It’s adapting to the needs of its readers. It’s making sure that what we publish is always relevant for our readers. If it’s relevant, they’ll want to read it. This is the way Le Bulletin has done it over the years,” says Yvon Thérien, publisher and editor-in-chief. And their hundredth anniversary finds Le Bulletin des agriculteurs moving strategically into the digital world to offer more content that meets the reality of their readers.

Read the case study. In French.

L'actualité : Une occasion de renouveau

In the fall of 2017, L’actualité rebranded and relaunched. “We had an extraordinary opportunity offered by the change of ownership, which found it really important that a magazine like L’actualité could continue to fulfill its mission. We wanted to make a difference and really give the magazine a boost, to take advantage of this change of guard, to revive the magazine,” explains Charles Grandmont, editor-in-chief.

Following the acquisition of the magazine by Mismash Media, Grandmont and his team embarked on the biggest rebrand that L’actualité has ever known. Their goal: To offer more to readers and further increase the benefit of being a subscriber.

Read the case study. In French.

FASHION Magazine in Motion

With a young, ambitious, agile and innovative team, Fashion magazine prides itself on testing out ideas and content plans based on the most immediate information and data available.

“Our chief strategy is to be adaptive!” says Noreen Flanagan, Editor-in-Chief of the St. Joseph Media title. “As everyone knows, print magazines and publishing as an industry are radically different than they were a few years ago and it remains persistently unpredictable. That means we constantly have to be both proactive and reactive; we’re constantly refining our goals and tactics.”

So, part of Fashion‘s strategic plans include video, an unique opportunity for the mag to create original, stylish, visually arresting and entertaining content that can be both separate from the magazine and/or a complement to it.

Read the case study.

Canadian Geographic: Mapping a Historical Tragedy

In April 2017, as part of a massive Google Earth redesign, tech giant Google announced Voyager, a tool that would allow content producers to tell rich textual and visual stories using text, photos, videos and navigable waypoints. The new tool built on Google Earth’s existing 360-degree content and spectacular satellite imagery and featured content from partners including BBC Earth, NASA and the Jane Goodall Institute.

This major update caught the attention of Canadian Geographic.

“We knew immediately that we wanted to produce Canadian content,” said Ellen Curtis, the Director for Canadian Geographic Education. “Because we were already working on our Indigenous Peoples’ Atlas of Canada project, it seems like a natural fit to do our first Voyager story focusing on residential schools.”

In launching their endeavour, called “Canada’s Residential Schools,” Canadian Geographic became the first Canadian content producer for Google Earth Voyager. (Google produced all other Canadian content on Voyager prior to CG’s work.)

Read the case study.

Canadian Underwriter: Comprehensive Coverage

In early May 2016, wildfires ripped through Fort McMurray, Alberta, leaving a wake of destruction. With an estimated damage cost of almost ten billion dollars, it was the single costliest disaster in Canadian history.

As a B2B magazine serving the nation’s insurance industry, Canadian Underwriter immediately began reporting on the insurance implications of the tragedy. What began as rapidfire coverage of Canada’s largest insured catastrophe unfolded into multi-year coverage spanning the B2B magazine’s print, web and social platforms.

Read the case study.

Briarpatch: Sowing Seeds for the Future

In 2017, Magazines Canada announced a new fellowship program designed to give journalists a paid position at a host Canadian magazine and the opportunity to gain valuable experience, broaden their professional network and explore stories that inform, engage and deepen the conversation on issues that drive our country forward. Briarpatch Magazine, a bi-monthly publication headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan jumped at the chance to host a fellow.

The magazine—which focuses primarily on politics and culture—operated with a full-time staff of only two, and the pair knew they could benefit from having a fellow on board for the four- to six-month term of the fellowship program.

“It was exciting to think of all that we could tackle with a third staff person! The financial contribution that Magazines Canada made to the fellowship meant that we had some support to do what we couldn’t have done on our own humble budget—hire and fairly pay an additional staff member for a summer of intensive work,” says Tanya Andrusieczko, the Briarpatch editor at the time.

Read the case study.


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

Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)