Hi all, Craig here again. I’ve posted a few times on my own blog, Entertaining Stories, about how I’ve benefitted from a semi-obscure media called Flipboard.
Flipboard is one of those curated content setups, and I came to it by accident. Once upon a time, I had a Zite Magazine account. I set it up to be a source of ideas that I might want to write about. All was well with the world, because I could give a thumbs up or down and improve the stories I got. I set up all kinds of things, like archaeology, paranormal, scientific discoveries, and more. Many of these made it into posts I make called The Idea Mill.
Then Zite got absorbed by Flipboard. I didn’t have any choice but to switch over. Honestly, it doesn’t work quite as well for my original purpose, but it allows me something I never expected. It allows me to establish my own magazine, and add articles of my choosing to it. People can subscribe to my magazine, and “flip” my posts to their own friends and followers.
I set up a magazine called Entertaining Stories. (‘Cause branding, that’s why.) I started dropping my blog posts, along with some news from friends, and artwork of my spokesmodel, Lisa Burton into my magazine. (More on Lisa later on.) It takes about two seconds to drop a link into Flipboard, and they take care of the rest. Couldn’t hurt, might help, right?
One day I wrote a post about a Short Story writing trick. All of the similar articles I’d read didn’t do much more than tell me to make them shorter than a novel. I had a different spin on it, so I wrote it up. I dropped it in Flipboard. When I woke up the next day, my blog stats were off the chart. I’m talking about well over a thousand views overnight. This may not be much to some of you, but it’s huge for me.
I dug deeper, and all of the action was coming from Flipboard. Here are some numbers for you:
This screenshot was taken on January 17th. I’ve already had one post get action on Flipboard, and if you can’t read the tiny little number, that’s 1058 referrals.
Here are the 2016 numbers. It says 5,219 referrals.
You’d be right if you guessed that not every post clicks with the Flipboard crowd. Enough of them do to make it worth your while. None of my posts that caught on produced less than 1000 referrals.
To help me explain how to set this up, I’ve invited the lovely Lisa Burton to help me out. Lisa is a robot, and works as my personal assistant and is the spokesmodel for my writing career.
Your first step is to go to Flipboard.com. You can sign up right there, or if you’re like me, grab the app. I do all of my blogging, writing, and promoting with an iPad Pro, and the app is the way to go for me.
Like everything else these days, you’re going to have to sign up and sign in.
Flipboard may make you “flip” the cover page to get to the good parts. This involves a finger flick for me, and likely works that way on all devices. You’re on your own with a PC, but it probably involves a click of some kind.
When you get inside, it gives you a couple of starting points, like Cover Stories, The Daily Edition, and Flipboard Picks. If you want to check them out, just pick one and flip. You can give articles a thumb up or down to fine tune your content.
I’ve added several pages of specific searches to mine, and you can customize it to suit yourself. It still gives me some of the material I used to get from Zite, and you can see that I have Paranormal, Fantasy, and others in this screenshot.
To set up searches, you need that little red flag in the upper right hand corner. Knock yourself out.
That red flag will show you that you have two magazines already. I’ve never looked inside either one.
This is where you set up your own specific magazine. Like I mentioned way back up the page, mine is called Entertaining Stories. The only thing that goes in there is content that I choose.
When I find content for my magazine, I copy the link. As soon as I open my app, Flipboard asks me if I want to paste the link into a magazine. I touch that alert banner, and it gives me a choice of which magazine to post it in. I always add it to Entertaining Stories.
Now my content is discoverable on Flipboard for other users.
Flipboard doesn’t always find my content. Sometimes I go for days without any action at all. When it does catch on, it goes crazy. This crowd doesn’t seem too interested in things like word metrics. The Lisa Burton posters draw some attention. What really gets the Flipboard crowd going is craft posts. (For me, your mileage may vary.)
My short story trick, my 2017 business plan, and several others caught on. This drives people directly to my blog. From there, interested parties can find my books. I gain quite a few blog followers every time Flipboard kicks in too, and that’s what it’s all about. Flipboard is a way to get discovered. My blog is the engine that drives my promotional activity. Followers can become consumers, and that’s why I do these things.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this post gets some Flipboard action too. I posted about the boost in blog stats last year, and that was one of the posts that went crazy.
Check out Flipboard. It’s performed about as well as anything I’ve tried, and even though it’s sporadic it’s well worth it when it works.
Let me hear from you in the comments. Do you use Flipboard, or have any tips to share with us. Do you prefer another kind of curated content, share it with us.
Footnote: Lisa Burton is a robot. She appears in two published stories, and makes regular appearances on my blog. She hosts a radio show where she interviews fictional characters from your books, and makes occasional appearances as a guest on other blogs.