Are You Grabbing Traffic From Flipboard?

Chris CrumSocial Media

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This week, Flipboard launched a new web version. It's available for the desktop for the first time after being mobile-only since 2010. While it already has millions of users from phones and tablets, this opens it up to more people, and to more usage from existing users. Think about those who spend all day on a computer at the office. It seems like as good a time as any to consider how you might be able to get some traffic to your blog or website from it.

Is Flipboard part of your traffic strategy? Let us know in the comments.

"By developing for mobile first (Flipboard was originally built for the iPad in 2010), we saw that content could shine again in a clean and uncluttered environment," wrote Flipboard's Mia Quagilarello in a blog post. "The Web evolved, too, with things like responsive design making for easier (and prettier) reading and navigation."

Nearly a year ago, Onswipe released some data finding that Flipboard drives the most traffic to publishers among four popular news apps on the iPad. In fact, it wasn't even close.

A lot has changed with Flipboard since then, and the good news is that most of it should only help you.

Feeds

Flipboard lets you submit your content through a feed, which can greatly help your content gain exposure if they accept it.

"Optimized RSS provides users with a superior reading experience and is much easier to maintain than your website’s HTML/CSS," the company says.

Also helpful to know is that it considers multimedia content in the RSS feed to be a great way to "enhance the reading experience," so it it supports not only articles but MP4, YouTube and Vimeo video formats as well as MP3 and SoundCloud audio formats.

"We use social media to grow your audience by sharing your content with Flipboard users, who then share it with their friends," the company says in an FAQ document. "Flipboard provides a platform for deep content engagement across a growing audience of social influencers and enthusiastic readers. Our readers make over 10 million social recommendations a month via the app to their friends."

To get your content promoted within Flipboard, you'll first need to provide the service with a Flipboard-optimized RSS feed. Requirements include: the entire body copy of your articles (rather than just headlines/summaries), at least one image per article (no less than 400 pixels wide), at least 30 items, and updates pushed via PubSubHubbub (it prefers Superfeedr).

Flipboard leverages HTML5 and microformats for design elements like pullquotes, media RSS (for images, video, and audio), and GeoRSS for geotagging within RSS. You can learn more about feed optimization here where it includes an example feed and details on feed structure, content markup, etc. There's a feed validation tool here.

"People use Flipboard to search and discover content in a variety of formats, including RSS, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram and more. Displaying full article content within the app is possible via optimized RSS, and we require this at a minimum before considering your content for promotion within our Content Guide," the company says.

Magazines

Another way to get your content seen throughout Flipboard is to create "magazines," and include your articles within them. This is a feature Flipboard introduced a couple years ago, which lets anyone curate content based on any topic they like. You can create a magazine, give it a name and description, and add all the content your heart desires. This can include your own content and/or content you come across on the web or within Flipboard itself.

In October, Flipboard said that people had made over ten million magazines. This is when they introduced the third generation of the app (the second having introduced magazines themselves), which included the ability to follow topics ranging from very broad to very niche. You're probably going to want to follow all the topics you can that are related to the magazines you're working on.

Another nice thing about magazines is that they're indexed by Google:

Some even believe Flipboard has SEO value.

Creating magazines is easy. Just go to your profile on Flipboard and it's pretty self-explanatory. Name it, add a description, and add content. You'll probably want to include keywords in the title and description to help users discover your mags in search. In some senses, you can almost think of these like Pinterest boards.

Flipboard actually blogged specifically about titling magazines about a week ago, offering up a bunch of things to keep in mind and possible approaches. They're mostly about staying on topic, but also standing out from the crowd.

"The takeaway is that you’ll be found in search by title or by topic, so it’s good to keep your magazine name easy to understand and to include a magazine description or tagline," it concludes.

As it mentions, you can always change the name later if you like.

Go to the magazine editor tool at editor.flipboard.com to view analytics and make changes to settings. Make sure your magazine is in the right category.

With the analytics tool, you can view articles by day (number of items flipped into the magazine), viewers by day (number of people who have seen items you flipped), and page flips by day (number of views of items you have flipped into the magazine).

"Updating your description and continuing to flip into a well-performing magazine can keep its momentum going," wrote Flipboard's Jenn de la Vega in an October blog post. "If a magazine is not getting as many views or interactions as the others, try switching up your sources or reevaluate its focus. In any case, it will be exciting to watch your magazines fuel Flipboard’s topics and get more visibility than ever before."

You can also invite contributors, so you might want to invite colleagues to help you add content.

You can also rearrange the order of content, and set the cover story (again, not unlike Pinterest boards).

Harsh Agarwal at ShoutMeLoud.com recommends regularly commenting on stories in Flipboard to drive additional visibility for your profile (which could lead to some new magazine followers).

"This is probably most underused technique on Flipboard, but you can use it now to get more eye-balls to your Flipboard profile," he writes. "Flipboard lets you comment on any post that you are reading and your comment is visible to only Flipboard users. You can use this technique to get more visitors to your Flipboard profile and convert them into followers."

The blog Ethical Entrepreneur once ran a post which claimed that it was able to quickly double its website traffic thanks to Flipboard magazines. Here's an excerpt from that:

Well not too long ago Flipboard rolled out a new feature called Flipboard magazines that lets you save and curate content into your very own magazines. Admittedly when the feature rolled out I played around with it and quickly forgot about it. I created one or two magazines and just kind of ignored it. I checked back a few months later only to notice that I had hundreds of subscribers! Wow.

A few weeks ago I launched The Ethical Entrepreneur website and I immediately created an Ethical Entrepreneur Flipboard magazine. Not only was I "flipping" in interviews that I conducted but I also started to curate other great entrepreneurial content that I wanted people to read. Within a few short days I had hundreds of subscribers to my Ethical Entrepreneur magazine. Then I started to notice my blog traffic was increasing. In fact the traffic doubled within a few days. Keep in mind the website is only a month old. I checked my analytics to see where the traffic was coming from. Guess what? The traffic was coming from Flipboard!

Some think it's best that magazines feature a mix of your own content and content from others, but ultimately the choice is up to you. Some think simply replicating your blog in Flipboard magazine form is perfectly fine. It seems to be working for JeffBullas.com, which is seeing increased traffic from Flipboard:

Marketing your brand is about being everywhere in a wide range of media formats to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your web properties. So create your own Flipboard magazine for your blog. Load up your articles and you have your blog in a magazine format. Flipboard just happens to make it look sensational! As Flipboard is now not just an app now but also on the web you have added another distribution point to amplify your content in another format.

On the flipside, digital marketer Howard Huang doesn't think just pushing your own content is the best way to go. He writes:

I don’t recommend this because sharing content that is only your own confines you into your own corner of the web and may limit your ability to attract engaged followers faster. You want to curate a well balanced portfolio of content related to your topic from all over the internet as well as your own.

He also recommends basing magazines on "laser focused topics". For example, instead of a magazine on as broad a topic as Golf, you might publish one on "Putting Green Techniques".

It probably depends on your topic and your ultimate goal.

Need some inspiration for how to approach magazines? Flipboard has some videos showcasing some creators' takes on it:

Web Tools

Flipboard offers several tools which you can utilize to help you improve your experience creating magazines and to promote them. The Flip Button lets Flipboard users who land on your content add that content to their magazines. The Profile Badge lets you display a link to your Flipboard profile, and the Magazine Widget is a nice way to link to your own magazines from your site.

Beyond Flipboard's own tools, third-party tools from companies like AddThis, ShareThis, AddToAny, and Shaeaholic enable you to give your website visitors another easy way to share to Flipboard alongside other social networks. Flipboard has a guide to these tools here.

You'll also want to use either the Flipboard bookmarklet or the Chrome extension, which both let you easily add any content from around the web to your magazines. Update your magazines regularly. These can also be found at the link above.

Promoted Items

Last month, Flipboard announced Promoted Items, which lets brands distribute articles, videos, products, or photos in Flipboard. Advertisers can promote items from their magazines or content from their website.

“As brands continue to become content creators we want Flipboard to be an easy place to extend distribution of their stories, products, research papers, films and photography,” said Christine Cook, head of advertising partnerships at Flipboard. “Brands that already have content in brand magazines on Flipboard can now highlight the best pieces more broadly across Flipboard and reach an audience of millions.”

“For the past seven years, we’ve worked closely with brands to create content that our readers can easily discover, no matter where they are,” said Emily Allen, SVP of Ad Strategy at Business Insider. “Promoted Items allows us to extend our sponsored content’s reach to millions of Business Insider followers on Flipboard monthly. It’s a powerful vehicle for increasing discovery.”

These are all things you can keep in mind if you wish to draw some extra traffic and/or business from Flipboard, especially now that it's more widely available than ever before.

Are you a Flipboard user? Do you curate magazines? How do you use Flipboard to drive traffic to your website? Discuss in the comments.

Images via Flipboard

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.