Flipboard is a mobile application that aggregates content from around the web, based on topics of interest to the user, displaying it in a magazine-like format.
Users can follow relevant topics, profiles of content creators, subscribe to magazines, and create publications of their own. Best of all, Flipboard doesn’t charge for the privilege.
Better yet, Flipboard is a publishing tool that businesses can employ to distribute content for their customers and others to consume.
It is the latter application that I want to address here, discussing why and how to use Flipboard as a content marketing amplification tool.
Why to Use Flipboard for Content Marketing
There are many good reasons to use Flipboard as a content amplifier.
1. It’s a content discovery and curation platform used by millions
Just like Pinterest, Flipboard is platform people around the globe use to discover interesting stories on topics ranging from politics to pets, solar power to sneakers, and work to wildlife — 34,000 in all.
“Discover stories that impact your life, career, and creative path — hand-picked by people who share your passions,” says Flipboard in describing its value proposition.
2. It’s built on the interest graph
Instead of relying on the “social graph” — the network of personal relationships (i.e., Facebook) — Flipboard is built on the “interest” graph, the network of shared interests (i.e., Pinterest). It uses the “hive” mentality. You know: “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Think of the benefits from a business perspective. You share content that appeals to your desired audience, which consists of people who may take an interest in your brand, products, or services.
To quote consumer research psychologist, Dr. Paul Marsden, the business opportunity is to “generate value (discovery, validation, recommendation) for and from people with shared interests rather than shared contacts.”
It’s a virtuous cycle: You provide consumers with relevant, useful, compelling content, and they give you their attention (and perhaps dollars) in return.
3. It’s a marketing tool
While you don’t want to overwhelm magazine readers with promotional content, you can sneak it in ever so slightly now and again.
A good formula to follow: For every five informationally-oriented stories from your content vault (think tips, how-tos, case studies, customer testimonials, etc.), share three or four from third-party sources, one soft-sell promotion, and one that’s more of a hard-sell.
If you publish enough helpful content on a regular basis, readers will forgive a few promotional pieces.
4. It’s free to use
Just like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn — you name it — Flipboard requires no cost to publish a magazine.
5. It’s yet another channel through which you can publish content
Think about it. You already post content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Medium, YouTube, and a host of other sites. Why not add Flipboard to the list, and reach its masses.
Recommended for You Webcast, September 1st: Discovering Content Marketing Trends Using Big Data
6. It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire
Well-known content marketing consultant Jay Baer once said, “Content is fire; social media is gasoline.” While Flipboard is more a “content” network than a social one, the mere fact that you’re publishing information that thousands of people could see, makes it fit the fire-gasoline meme.
7. It’s easy to set up and requires little ongoing maintenance
You can add stories as often as you’d like and can even “flip” the RSS feed of your blog and social feeds into a magazine so that posts get published automatically.
How to Use Flipboard for Content Marketing
Follow these simple steps to begin using Flipboard as a content marketing amplifier:
Set up a Flipboard account
Download the Flipboard app to your iOS, Android, or Windows device. (You can also set up an account by going to Flipboard.com.)
Flipboard will ask you to tick off five categories of your choosing, to start. You can change these anytime. Then, follow the steps to finish the account setup using Facebook, Twitter, or by entering your email.
Create your magazine
Magazines are where the content marketing magic happens. There are two ways to go about it: desktop and mobile.
Go to Flipboard.com on your desktop computer and click on your profile image located in the upper-right-hand corner. Flipboard will redirect you to your profile where you will see a button that says “New Magazine.” Click it.
A dialog box appears asking you to input the title (required) and a description (optional). You can also set the public/private option by clicking the switch. (Consider keeping the magazine private until you’ve gathered a few stories.) Click the “Create” button to generate the magazine.
After that, another dialog box appears that allows you to invite others to contribute. You will get a shortened URL, to share, and see icons for Facebook and email.
(Note: Flipboard doesn’t require you to let others contribute. That’s just an option.)
Click the “Done” button to complete the setup.
To begin collecting stories, from the desktop at Flipboard.com, mouse over an article of interest and click the red and white “+” icon. That adds it to the magazine.
Conversely, you can create a magazine by first clicking the “+” icon. In that case, you will see a dialog box that looks like this:
Click “New Magazine” and follow the steps as outlined above.
Flipboard is designed primarily for mobile device use, and you can create a magazine just as easily using your smartphone or tablet by following the same steps as outlined above.
Getting Your Content Into the Magazine
While you can add content from any story you see on Flipboard, my aim is to help you get your own content “flipped” between the covers of your magazine. There are multiple ways to go about it.
Flip Your RSS Feed
You can flip the RSS feed of your blog (or any property that has an RSS feed associated with it) into a format Flipboard can use. However, you have to do so indirectly, by adding a Twitter list.
The Flipboard “MagMaker” blog has a post explaining how the process works:
- Connect your Twitter account to Flipboard;
- Create or edit your list on Twitter;
- Access your Twitter list in Flipboard;
- Save your list as a Flipboard feed;
- Flip stories into the magazine.
If that sounds a tad complicated, let me refer you to a blog post from dlvr.it, the social sharing platform, entitled “5 Steps to More Reach with a Flipboard Magazine.”
The post provides a clear explanation and detailed implementation roadmap. If you want to use an RSS feed to auto-deliver content, I recommend following the steps it outlines.
Use the Flipboard Toolset
RSS feeds aren’t the only path you can take to get your content published (just the way to automate the process).
Content should never live in a vacuum. If you’re already syndicating posts to social networks and other outlets (like Business 2 Community), there’s no reason not to add Flipboard to the list. It may result in introducing your content to an entirely different audience, driving traffic and, hopefully, new business in your direction.
Why and How to Use Flipboard to Amplify Your Content Marketing