Tuesday, June 28, 2016
In my opinion, content marketing has its roots with associations that produce content for their members as a form of industry branded content, as their views are not typically neutral like traditional media.

It has been estimated that there are 18,000 associations in 1,500 subject classifications in the Associations Canada directory. To attract members, a magazine subscription has been used as an anchor for the member recruitment package. This has evolve in the digital age to include a website, newsletter and digital and print versions of the magazine. Through the use of digital editions, many associations have saved on the printing and distribution of a print magazine with digital opt-in at 20-40% of the member lists.

As a media planner I have always liked association publications for B2B campaigns, as the audience is equivalent to a paid audience and each firm must be a member to get the magazine. I can also target by vertical market and there are a lot of industry associations to choose.

Companies like MediaEdge Publishing and Naylor Associations Solutions have helped associations in producing their magazines/websites/newsletters and selling advertising to help pay the costs. So lets take look at various associations’ websites and see what they are doing.

 
I noticed that association content strategies differ from traditional media sites. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) uses more of a member service approach with content for physicians like CMA policy and medical industry advocacy, clinical resources, professional development and financial planning.

They provide print/digital journals, websites in both English (CMAJ) and French (Santé Inc.) and an email newsletter. Each issue of CMAJ's digital format is sent to 16,000 medical students and residents, plus additional journals for psychiatrists and surgeons. There are over 83,000 members across Canada and each can receive discounts items such as car rentals, luxury cars, courier, phones, computers, travel and private golf memberships.  

 
The association of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is one the largest in the country with over 200,000 members. The bilingual website provides the content you would expect geared to the accounting professional with articles that talk about the nitty gritty of the profession, including audit & assurance; finance/investing; financial reporting; management accounting; strategy risk and governance; and forensic/investigative accounting. There is some free content on the site plus paid that can be bought through the online store that has 1,300 titles.  CPA Canada offers a website, two email newsletters and a magazine in print and digital. The bilingual magazine has 250,000 subscribers with 25% opting for the digital version. CPA Canada also has a members discount program for expenses such as hotel, cars, wireless, fitness clubs, courier and clothes.

 
That’s right there is even an association for associations call the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE)with 10,000 members. This modern looking website offers their members a magazine style format for content with a blog, articles, research, bookstore, events and a supplier directory to help their members do their job better.

Michael Bell, from MediaEdge, who works with the CSAE says that long form journalism is alive and well. He says it's needed to explain issues in depth that cannot be done in a snack size article (500 words) that has typically been used by the adtech community as click bait. You can check out the digital version of their magazine at this link
 
 
The Association for General Contractors in Ontario has a wide range of content for its 2,500 members that includes news, events, government relations, health and safety and a store. The store enables members to buy industry related documents and sign up for courses. They have a discount program for members for the purchases of cars, insurance and medical services like we saw with the CMA.  They have also partnered with a company called biddingo.com that enables tenders to be advertised online for subcontractor procurement and bidding. Their magazine is branded “The Generals” and is available in print and digital.

After looking at these sites you will notice they all have similar content style and a reader service approach seen in traditional media models. What is unique about industry associations is that they can use their collective buying power to generate discounts for their members on products and services that you do not see on traditional media sites. For B2B marketing, associations offer media products that are highly targeted and deliver a qualified audience that is like a paid subscriber, the ultimate proof of readership.

If you have missed the previous COPA Digital Media spotlights you can check them out below. Up next and our final spotlight will be on Niche publishers in Canada. The deadline for entries for the 2016 COPAs is July 11 and you can enter here.

COPA Digital Media Spotlight

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
We live in a multicultural society and it's only fitting that we take a closer look at the cultural media websites that have evolved to serve the different cultural groups that have been in Canada for multiple generations.

 
I am a big fan of cultural media as I was its biggest advocate 20 years ago when I worked on the Chinese Edition of Maclean’s and Enroute Asia with Air Canada.

Immigration to Canada brings about 250,000 new Canadians each year and in 10 years we will have added a population of 2.5+ million, enough for a city the size of Vancouver. The biggest cultural groups in by population in Canada are Indo-Asian (1.6M), Italian (1.5M) and Chinese (1.3).

Together these three communities total a population of 4.4 million or the equivalent of 20 cities the size of Regina (pop 210K). So let's have look at some digital properties that serve these communities.


 

This is an English site serving the Indo-Asian community that has a similar format as other news sites but with more Indo-cultural content that includes coverage of Bollywood. It has standard content mix of editorial, news, entertainment, lifestyle, sport and e-paper.  The Indo-Asian community is now the largest cultural group in Canada with an estimated population of 1.6 Million. Fifty percent of the population is located in the Toronto GTA. The top five cities with Indo-Asian communities are:  Toronto 834K, Vancouver 252K, Calgary 85K, Montreal 79K and Edmonton 61K. 


 

This website serves the Quebec-based Italian community with news, community, culture, entertainment and sport. The news section includes stories of news in Italy and a heavy dose of European soccer coverage. The print newspaper was established in 1941 and is based in Montreal, a hub of cultural media in Canada. It is estimated that there are 1.5 million Canadians of Italian descent and it is the second largest cultural community in Canada. The top five cities with Italian communities are: Toronto 465K, Montreal 261K, Vancouver 76K, Hamilton 72K and Niagara 50K.

 

Sing Tao Toronto is a Chinese daily print with a website, radio station and digital supplements to offer marketers to reach the Chinese market. The Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) community is the third largest group with a population of 1.3 million and the community gained prominence during a heavy period of immigration prior to the takeover of Hong Kong by China in 1997. Seventy percent are located in Toronto and Vancouver.  The top five cities with Chinese communities are: Toronto 531K, Vancouver 400K, Montreal 91K, Calgary 75, Edmonton 53K, and Ottawa 42K.


 

The multilingual broadcaster Omni TV, a Rogers’s station, caters to multiple cultural groups that includes Italian, Punjabi, SE Asian and Chinese. This news and entertainment site offers an inventory of local news, soap operas, and movies for all these cultural groups in the form of video. The site included local news for BC, AB and ON markets including kids playing hockey in local leagues. What was not expected was a heavy dose of hockey content to promote the game to new Canadians.


 

While not the largest, but still prominent is the Jewish community in Canada that numbers 380,000 with 75% located in Toronto (200K) and Montreal (86K). This bilingual site offers news, perspectives and culture that reflects the Jewish lifestyle, like kosher food recipes. This site is polished and is on par with any mainstream media site.

The Internet has enabled the cultural community news media to reach more members of their communities, where traditional media could not reach. This is especially noticed in markets where the population is less than 30,000 where print may be uneconomical. It has been able to unite these groups that are located in urban markets across Canada. The biggest stumbling block will always be that advertising budgets cannot afford multiple versions of their ad in different languages. But a smart marketer never follows the herd as they will not stand out in a crowd. So maybe it's time to revisit cultural marketing as part of the media mix.

The COPA’s Digital Media Spotlight hopes to raise the profile of community news sites this year, and cultural media are considered as part of this community news community.

If you missed the other COPA Digital media Spotlights including Part 1 on Community News, check them out below.

COPA Digital Media Spotlight

Thursday, June 09, 2016
The little siblings of major urban news media are the ones that cater to smaller communities and cultural groups. This COPA Digital Media Spotlight will show what is evolving in the Community News space as we see television, radio and newspapers crossing over each other with similar content.

This segment of the media industry has been hit hard by the digital age as print distribution changed to weekly, and they needed to adapt or perish. Let's start in Western Canada to see how they address this challenge as the publishers look for new sources of revenue and to engage the reader to stay a little longer per visit.

 

Burnaby Now offers a standard mix of traditional content, including News, Sports, Opinion, Entertainment, Business and Community News/photos that is seen in print. The site’s content also has Real Estate, Store Flyers and a unique section called Standout that is used for sponsored content that they have been very successful with in populating. Readers can also subscribe to an email newsletter.

 

Small community newspapers like the Jasper Fitzhugh in Alberta, are trying to reinvent themselves to replace lost print classified and employment ad revenue taken away by their digital competitors, who give it away for free. This tourist town website has a content mix of News, Sports & Life, Arts & Culture, Events and a Tour of Alberta section. This publication is leveraging the use of digital editions for the newspaper and local telephone directories for new sources of revenue online.

 

The Prairie Post with its base in Swift Current provides News, Sports, Opinion and Entertainment on their website with content that includes local news in Saskatchewan and Alberta. This small town paper provides similar content that is available in print with broader geographical coverage on the website with sports video highlights. The sports video highlights are for the Swift Current Broncos games, a Jr. A team in the CHL, providing a TV style coverage that is local.

 

The digital age has not only affected the local community newspaper; it has impacted local TV stations as well in communities like Peterborough. CHEX TV station’s website is a News Magazine format with lifestyle content. The core content of News, Weather, Sports and Community are there but its mix includes Entertainment, Science & Tech, Health, Business, Politics, Autos. CHEX Daily TV newscasts and station community shows can also be viewed on the website. It also has a really unique piece of content, a Police Blotter that reports local crime activity and Police PSAs. Who would of thought 10 years ago a local TV station will be a Community News website.

 

Serving the rural communities in Quebec’s Laurentions is the English language Main St, based in Lachute. This community news site has a website and digital edition of their weekly newspaper that has lots of ads in it (It looks like print is still strong in this market). The content mix includes the standard fare of Local news, Entertainment, Business Directories and Real Estate listings that you would expect. The unique content on the site are information on health care and schools in English. They also offer an email newsletter.

 

The next place of digital convergence is local radio stations as they face the same pressure as print and TV. This radio station in Grand Falls, NB – K93FM, a top 40 hits format has a content mix that includes music and contests—standard fare for a radio station, plus, news, events, a community Instagram feed and a discount coupon service for local retailers to advertise in. This station is part of the Bell Media family and the discount coupon program is through their shopify.com program that they use with their network of radio stations, where are shopper can purchase a discounted gift certificate online.

In the Community News space the print, tv and radio mediums are truly colliding as each have similar core content that makes them a community news website, but each have unique characteristics.

The COPAs this year are recognizing the “Best Community Website” to give them a higher profile in the COPA Awards program.  that closes on July 11 for entries, as you cans see there is good work being done out there. Next up Cultural Media websites, this is a natural since Canada is a multi-cultural nation as cultural sites are also considered “Community News”.
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners digital publishing, event management and ad sales help. His media expertise also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor, magazine and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at)
reflexmediasales.com or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

Most Recent Blog Comment
Rick says:
So what's the solution going forward? I know all about the challenges the industry faces in this reg...
Blog Archive
2017 (10)
2016 (14)
2015 (12)
2014 (12)
2013 (12)
2012 (12)
2011 (12)
2010 (8)