The Globe’s recipe for killer custom content: Data, depth and delivery

The three-pronged approach is what makes the Globe's Custom Content Group effective.
The award-winning Sunnybrook magazine, produced semi-annually by the Globe and Mail, is now in its 5th year of publication, and is a key piece of the foundation's overall donor strategy.

The award-winning Sunnybrook magazine, produced semi-annually by the Globe and Mail, is now in its 5th year of publication, and is a key piece of the foundation’s overall donor strategy.

Data, depth and delivery. This three-pronged approach is what makes the Globe’s Custom Content Group effective, says Teena Poirier, director of the group. “Those three points in concert are the trifecta of really good content development. We also leverage the skill set of good journalism. It is a highly collaborative process that always starts with understanding what it is the client wants to achieve.

“When we’re creating content for advertisers, it looks different than the Globe and Mail product but it still resonates in terms of the quality of the content, using Globe-approved journalists.”

The work the Globe has done for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation in Toronto is an excellent example of custom content as an effective marketing tool. When the program began, the foundation had a very specific objective – to drive donations for the hospital. The Globe came up with a plan that included a mix of print and digital to engage not only the existing donor base but also as a way to acquire new donors.

Sunnybrook’s magazine is in its fifth year of publication and now comes out twice a year. The magazine has won multiple awards at content marketing shows but most importantly, it drives donations, making it the key piece within the foundation’s overall donor strategy. The website is where the Globe creates content for the Sunnybrook audience on an ongoing basis.

Poirier says, “One of the things about content marketing is that it’s not only about telling great stories –it’s about telling great stories that get results. We’re very much ROI focused. The Sunnybrook case is really indicative of a perfect storm when we’re working with clients to leverage content as a mechanism to drive an end result.”

The Globe and Mail has been creating custom content for over 40 years, starting with traditional special reports, and has now evolved to the next iteration with the launch of a native content platform earlier this year. Launched using Polar’s MediaVoice platform, the Globe’s native ad product enables seamless creation, delivery and reporting of native content across platforms.

Six months after the beta test began, Polar reports that the average time spent on the Globe’s sponsored content is 69% higher than the industry average for news publishers globally while its clickthrough performance is four-times higher than average.

“The whole issue with native is that it has to follow the same form and function as the publisher platform it’s running in,” says Poirier. “We beta tested for four months with different types of content and found that good quality content does resonate with the reader. They’ll engage in the same way they engage with editorial, if it’s content they’re interested in.

“The bottom line is . . . quality matters.”

About The Globe and Mail Custom Content Group:

The Globe and Mail Custom Content Group brings the environment, the audience and content-rich experience to advertisers who are ready for a new kind of conversation with their customers and prospects. Made up of a team of editors, journalists, digital strategists, community managers, videographers, designers, marketers, researchers and data scientists, the Custom Content Group works closely with clients to drive the results required to meet their marketing objectives, maximize their content marketing plans and enhance their brand halo.

The dedicated content studio creates multi-platform content with the same integrity and quality journalism delivered by The Globe and Mail every day. This has been the key factor in the Custom Content Group’s success. For the third year in a row, the Globe has been a winner at the Custom Content Awards with this year’s haul of nine awards including three gold wins for best publication and best design.