Flipboard Online Magazine for News and Article Sharing
The purpose of this article is mainly for authors describing how Flipboard can be used to promote their content. Specifically, I wrote this for authors who write content on HubPages and its group of network niche sites. However, any author of web content will find this useful.
Flipboard was launched in July of 2010 as a social news magazine for organizing and sharing content found on the web. Articles, videos and photos can be listed in magazines that users can flip through with the smartphone app or browse through via the Flipboard website.
Anyone can create a free account and “flip” articles into personalized magazines to save for future reading or to share with others.
Of particular value to authors: we can flip our own articles (Hubs on HubPages) into magazines that we create to organize our content under various topic categories. Flipboard’s terms of service states that we can flip our own content.
Flipboard automatically features some flips, as they are called, in areas of the site where people find them when searching for news or information.
Share With Others
The main purpose of Flipboard is to share news and informational articles found on the web by flipping them into magazines of various topics.
I’m focusing this article on how authors, and particularly those of us on HubPages, can make use of this site to promote our own Hubs.
Nevertheless, I also love to share useful information with my followers. I made a separate magazine called “Great Articles That I Found” and I flip articles that I think are useful for others.
I’ve done the same with Hubs written by other Hubbers. I created another magazine entitled “Recommended HubPages Articles” and filled it with Hubs I read in the past that I had previously tweeted about.
With Flipboard, readers who like something might re-flip the article into their own magazine, increasing the likelihood of someone else finding it.
Flip Your Own Articles
Many of us who discussed our experiences in the HubPages Forum discovered that only hubs in the niche network sites did well. It’s almost as if Flipboard has blacklisted HubPages’ home site.
Any hubs in the home domain of HubPages never get tagged in topic categories. Those in niche sites get featured on Flipboard because they get tagged into topic categories. Flips are randomly featured for others who follow specific topics to discover.
Comments are Effective
Include a comment with each flip to attract search traffic. When sharing other flips, describe why you liked the article and why you recommend it. When flipping your own content, provide a detailed explanation of what to expect from it. Explain the most important points.
Don’t forget that you’re not the only one creating magazines. Flipboard has become a great resource of information in an easy-to-find format. I already discovered informative articles from the web that I would have missed if it weren’t for all the wonderful curators of flips.
When you flip articles to magazines you are a curator too. I even follow other curators whom I discovered that make an effort at organizing useful magazines.
How to Set Up Your Flipboard For Best Results
When you create your account, you will see a section in your profile to include a bio. Write something that clearly describes what you do. You’ll get more traffic because the bio is included in the search when people are looking for something or someone specific to their interests.
I found that the length of the bio is unlimited on the website but only displays 245 characters on the app. It’s your choice if you want to limit it so that it displays the entire bio for users of the app.
I decided to write a lengthy bio since most people probably use the website anyway, but I put the most important information in the first 245 characters.
You should also upload an image of yourself, otherwise only your initial will appear in a circle on you profile and that looks incomplete. Just click on that initial and it will let you upload your image from your computer.
This is how my profile looked after I completed it:
Now you can start creating magazines to flip your articles into. Just click "NEW MAGAZINE" from your profile as shown above.
You can make a magazine for each topic you write about or other articles you want to flip. I found it’s much easier doing this on the website rather than the app.
Give each magazine a name and a description. The description is optional but very important since it helps people find your magazine in a search and it helps the system tag the articles to the correct topic category (More on this later).
The next step is to add your articles to your magazines. Click the pencil icon at the top to flip.
You’ll get a pop-up titled “Add your voice to a magazine” and it has a field saying “Write a comment or add a website to your magazine.”
You will only want to add the URL of your hub or other article you want to flip. Don’t write anything else. Don’t try to type in the URL as you may misspell it. You should copy and paste it instead.
After you paste in the URL, you also need to click on the magazine you want to flip into as shown in the image below:
Click “Post” and you’re done.
Organizing Your Flips
You can drag flips around within magazines to display in different orders. You can also select one of the images from any flip to be the main image of that specific magazine.
You can also drag magazines around to control the order of the display under your profile. This is really a worthwhile thing to do occasionally. You may want to move certain magazines to the top so that they are more noticeable.
You need to click refresh on your browser after making any changes in order to see the updated magazine. When I first started using Flipboard I thought there was a delay, but I just needed to refresh the browser to see the changes.
How A User Sees Things
Many people use Flipboard to find news and information.
Users can select categories of interest to follow, or they can follow other members. They can also create their own magazines to save articles to share or to read later.
Their profile lists their magazines that they have created, and they can find the topics and people they follow by clicking “FOLLOWING” from the top of the home page as shown here.
Users can also select “COVER STORIES” from the top of the home page. This displays articles that are within the topics they follow.
Once they click into a category, selected stories are presented which they can flip through just like the pages of a magazine.
Featured Articles and Automatic Tagging to Topics
When an article is added to a magazine it is automatically tagged to a topic and featured in that category on the site. This helps get views because the article appears in the topic list as people browse what they are following.
Notice that the article in the above listing is tagged to the topic “Relationships.” However, not all articles are tagged to topics. As I mentioned earlier, authors on HubPages discovered that only hubs in the niche sites are tagged. So it’s almost a waste of time to place non-niche hubs (those still under HubPages.com home site) into a magazine. The only people who see those are people viewing your own magazines directly.
I see a wide discrepancy among articles flipped from other sites as far as being featured is concerned. There seems to be some kind of consideration of how well trusted the site is for having quality. In addition to HP’s niche sites, I see flips people make from Info Barrel also get tagged to a topic and featured as well.
Once a flip is tagged to a topic, it gets featured on a rotating schedule. One of my hubs got over 3000 views on the first day by being featured, but then it dropped drastically. Another suddenly came to life a week later and then dropped off. We never know when flips get featured or if they will ever get repeated.
Incorrectly Tagged Topics
There is no way to tag things ourselves. It’s automatic.
Unfortunately, in some cases they are tagged in the wrong topics. Some are absolutely silly locations, and that negatively affects the chances of getting traffic.
Some of us have tried updating our hubs, removing or changing content that might have been causing the Flipboard Bots to incorrectly choose misleading keywords.
However, this process is very difficult because of another issue. Flipboard uses caching, so any change we make is not picked up very quickly at all. I’ll discuss this further in the following section about making content changes. But first let me tell you something important about captions.
The Importance of Using Captions for Topic Tagging
Adding a caption description to each flip is important so that Flipboard properly tags the flip to the correct topic category. It tries to choose keywords from the content, but it also uses the caption data.
Changing the caption later will not be reflected immediately since their server rarely re-crawls to detect updates. They told me that the frequency is based on how much traffic you're getting in the first place. Those with high traffic will be crawled more often to detect any updates.
This is why it's important to plan ahead of time and have a good title on your article and a good caption on the flip before adding it to a magazine.
Making Content Changes
As an author of your own content, if you make changes such as a new title or removing content that had caused it to be listed in the wrong topic category, then you need to wait for Flipboard to re-crawl to detect the updates.
If you delete the flip and add it back to the magazine, it will reappear with the old data because they use a cache copy and the old content is reused.
I asked the support staff about this and they confirmed that their server saves a cache copy of all flips. The server will check the original content occasionally and will automatically re-scrape any changes that are made. How often and how soon completely depends on how popular the feed is with each individual flip.
Therefore, you just need to be very patient when making changes. There is no set rule how long it takes to re-scrape the data and update their own cache.
Notifications of Followers and Likes
When people follow you or one of your magazines, or like your flips, you will receive an email notification if you opted for that in your email settings.
You can also see all recent notifications by clicking the bell icon on the website or clicking “Notifications” in the app.
Here is a sample of how it looks:
What Are the Rules?
You Can Post Your Own Content
Flipboard does not specifically say anything about self-promotion, but the Terms of Service (TOS) clearly states “you can post your own content on Flipboard, including articles, photos, comments and other content.”
Those who may be familiar with Reddit will know that they have strict guidelines against self-promotion. On Reddit if you just start submitting your links it will be unwelcome and may be removed as spam. Even HubPages was banned from Pinterest for a while in the past.
I’m wondering if the day will come that Flipboard changes their mind. This may happen if people start abusing the system with self-promotion.
Stay abreast of the Flipboard community guidelines, just in case they decide to make some rules against self-promotion in the future.
Question on Non-commercial Use
Another section in the TOS states, “Flipboard gives you a license to use the software for your own personal, non-commercial use.”
I’m not an attorney, but in my opinion that wording clearly refers to usage of their software. That clearly means using the app and the website tools. It does not exclude flipping commercial content, such as articles that pay revenue for ads.
Permission to Use Your Content
The terms also give Flipboard permission to use your content in a way they believe is necessary to provide service. This includes storing, displaying, reproducing and distributing your content.
No need to worry about duplicate content. Flipboard does not display copies of your flipped content. This refers to other content you may post such as comments you post in listings and descriptions you add to flips.
The wording of this section of the TOS simply means that the listings and other content can be displayed to provide the service they intended, and reproduced for purposes of backup to maintain integrity of the system.
Theory About Flipboard Traffic
I have a theory. We get traffic from Google only when people are searching for something and we have an article with the answer. However, traffic from Flipboard can happen simply if the title and primary image grabs attention, as is the case with the title I used for the hub shown below in the Google Real-Time report.
It started getting 10 to 20 views per minute. I caught it at 14 real-time views in the screen capture shown here. That added up to over 3000 views in the first 24 hours, but then it quickly died down and is only getting about 40 views per day from Flipboard now.
Flipboard traffic seems to come in spurts. That seems to be the routine for most listings. It seems that Flipboard rotates things around so you never know when you get a spurt of traffic again.
I started getting spurts of Flipboard traffic for a poem I published recently that was quickly selected for the Letterpile.com niche site. Organic traffic for poems is one of the most difficult things to achieve.
Notice in the Real-Time report above that some readers that came from Flipboard are viewing five and more hubs in sequence. I never saw that from Google organic traffic. People searching for information via Google tend to just read the one hub they found.
How to Edit a Magazine
Things are different depending on how you access the site:
- If you use the mobile app, click the gear icon to edit a magazine.
- If you access the site on your desktop browser, you need to click the word “EDIT” that you will see below the main image of the magazine.
- If you access the site with a browser on an iPad, the EDIT link is not there. You can edit a magazine by starting at you profile and click the Analytics icon. Then select the magazine from the list on the left side. You will see “Edit Magazine” right under the image of the magazine.
How to Delete a Magazine or Individual Flip
Flipboard does not organize the maintenance option very well and it’s hard to find what you need when you want to do simple tasks.
If you ever change your mind and want to delete a single article listing from one of your magazines, or even if you want to delete an entire magazine, follow these steps:
- Go to your profile page.
- Click the analytics icon (looks like a little graph).
- Select a magazine from the left column.
- Click "Edit Magazine"
To delete the entire magazine…
Click “Delete Magazine” at the lower left column.
To delete just one listing…
- Select the Flip you want to delete.
- Click “Delete” at the lower left (see image below).
Note that you can also follow these steps to edit and change the Caption for the listing.
As mentioned earlier, I had created a magazine listing all the Hubs of other Hubbers that I had tweeted about over the past few years.
I decided to put out a tweet about that magazine. I noticed that my tweet included a Twitter Card. That’s a feature that displays more information and a related image along on any tweet anyone does.
I’m using Twitter Cards on my author site too, so I quickly recognized it coming from Flipboard. It’s nice to see that they implemented too.
You see, Twitter provides HTML code that Webmasters can implement on their website to display a Twitter Card when people tweet your page.
Here is that Tweet of mine. See how the Twitter Card shows more detail? Nice, don’t you think?
Make Flipboard Your Personal Magazine of Everything You Follow
Cover Stories – Follow What Interests You
When you click on “Cover Stories” you get a feed of everything you follow. I use this a lot. I am finding Flipboard to be a very useful way to organize everything on the Web that I’m interested in.
Looking at it from that angle, I can see how this is going to grow in popularity, and that will only increase the benefit to us as authors looking for ways to promote our work.
Twitter Lists – Organize Your Twitter Feed
I also created a magazine of my most important Twitter Lists. These are lists you can create in your Twitter account to organize your feed with specific news items.
Now those lists can be flipped into a magazine and I find that scrolling through that magazine is a lot friendlier than the raw listing in Twitter.
I even made a magazine of “Tweets Mentioning Me” so I can quickly find them. Flipboard dynamically fills that magazine the same way as it fills the Twitter feed into a magazine.
Other Social Networks – All Under One Roof
In addition to Twitter, you can connect Flipboard to up to 11 other social networks to organization your entire web reading under one roof. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, and more.
Research Studies – Use Flipboard to Organize
Flipboard is a great tool to use when you’re doing product research.
For example, say you are looking for product comparisons for something you want to buy. You do a bunch of Google searches and you find a few articles discussing the product. If you flip each article into a magazine you created for that research, you’d have a neat organization to review later.
Hubbers Who Shared in the HubPages Forum
Eugene Brennan (@eugbug) brought Flipboard to our attention by starting the forum: “Flipboard - A Great Source of Traffic?”
Many other Hubbers had been active in that Forum discussing Flipboard. Their involvement is very much appreciated and they were tremendously helpful to the entire community.
© 2016 Glenn Stok