Flipboard is giving news publishers and other curators on the platform a new way to highlight content through a format called Storyboards.
Until now, Flipboard has largely focused on its Smart Magazines, which are ongoing collections that mix human and algorithmic curation, allowing readers to dive deeply into and keep up-to-date on 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, they may not be that different from an “everything you need to know about X” roundup article, but they give publishers an easy and visually stylish way to put those roundups together.
Publishers have already been beta testing it. For example, 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 Mount St. Helens. And TechCrunch tried it out by doing daily roundups of coverage coming out of last year’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told me 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 said that Storyboards could be a great way to highlight different products and make money with affiliate links, especially since “curated commerce is something that will probably play more and more of a significant role in our revenue.”
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 with which the curator tags them. They’re also shareable and embeddable via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email.
Brant noted that Storyboards are “complementary” with Flipboard magazines, as 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 them, liking them, commenting on them, flipping them and more.
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 rollout 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.