Flipboard is giving news publishers and other curators on the platform a new way to highlight content through a format called Storyboards.
Until now, a lot of Flipboard’s approach has focused on on its Smart Magazines, which are ongoing collections mixing human and algorithmic curation, allowing readers to keep up-to-date and dive deeply into a given topic.
Storyboards, on the other hand, are more of a one-time collection of articles, videos, podcasts, tweets and other media. Content-wise, it may not be that different from a roundup-style article, but put together with Flipboard’s typical visual panache.
Publishers have already been beta testing it out. For exampl,e TheGrio created a Storyboard collecting the latest coverage of George Floyd’s death and the resulting protests, while National Geographic curated a package of new and old stories commemorating the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St Helens. And TechCrunch tried it out by doing daily round ups of coverage coming out of last year’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told me that this is something curators have been asking for, as a way to “structure their curation better and be able to do better storytelling.” He also noted that Storyboards could be a great way to highlight different products and make money with affiliate links.
“Curated commerce is something that will probably play more and more of a significant role in our revenue,” McCue said.
Vice President of Engineering Troy Brant gave me a quick tour of the product, showing me how a curator can create different sections in a Storyboard, tweak the look of those sections and populate them with different kinds of content.
These new Storyboards can be discovered in Flipboard based on the topics that the curator tags them with. They’re also shareable and embeddable via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email.
Brant noted that Storyboards are “complementary” with Flipboard magazines, since magazines can include Storyboards and Storyboards can include magazines. He also said the company is developing “more product capabilities” to highlight the best curation, whether that takes the form of a Storyboard or magazine: “That’s actually a work in progress at the moment.”
And Storyboards come with detailed analytics about how many people are viewing it, liking it, commenting on it and flipping it. All of this is part of a new tool in Flipboard called Curator Pro, which is now available to all verified users in English-speaking countries, with plans for a more global roll out soon. Brant added that Storyboards are just the “first step” for Curator Pro, with more magazine curation tools and analytics on the way as well.