Seven Secrets of Highly Effective Flipboard MagMakers

Inside Flipboard / December 19, 2013

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There’s an art to creating a successful Flipboard magazine, but there’s some science involved as well. So with apologies to Stephen R. Covey, the participants in last week’s #FlipboardChat highlighted seven techniques that successful MagMakers use to attract loyal readers and stand out from the crowd:

Secret #1: Successful MagMakers have compelling magazine covers
Just like on a traditional newsstand, the cover of a Flipboard magazine draws in a potential reader. Flipboard will automatically select a cover image for your magazine, but for best results, select your own cover image to make sure your magazine always looks great. Choose an image that compliments the topic or theme of your magazine. Also, check the image to make sure it renders well in any orientation, on both tablets and smartphones. Just Create by Stacy Teet shows what a difference a great cover can make.

Secret #2: Successful MagMakers have a focused point of view
The best Flipboard magazines cover a specific topic in a specific way, and they avoid broad, over-generalized subjects. Establishing a clear point of view is a subtle (but powerful) technique to cultivate a loyal readership and establish your magazine as an authoritative source. For example, there are lots of magazines about food, but Pasta Pasta, Healthy Eats and Indian Cuisine each take a focused approach to the subject.

Secret #3: Successful MagMakers include clear and concise magazine descriptions
A clever magazine title is a wonderful thing, but to entice new readers, it’s good to provide a simple description for your magazine as well. The description displays on the cover of your magazine right below the title, and it should act as your mission statement. (You can also use that mission statement to help you stay focused on Secret #2, above) Keep your magazine description brief, to ensure it displays on all devices. The description Andrea Folsom created for her Selfie magazine is just right: “History of the selfie – from way-back-when to now!”

Secret #4: Successful MagMakers put magazine links in their social profiles and email signatures
A good Flipboard magazine is a great calling card, so use it as a way to demonstrate your interests and expertise. To get your magazine’s URL, visit the cover of your magazine, tap the Share button, then tap “Copy Link.” Your magazine’s URL works in email signature files, social-network profile pages, photo uploads or anyplace where you can point someone toward a website. Encourage people to read and subscribe to your mags. MagMaker Lourdes Aboytes does just that on her Twitter page.

Secret #5: Successful MagMakers curators are consistent and timely
When a reader likes a magazine, they develop a relationship with it. Nurture that relationship, and don’t disappoint. The best way to do that is to update your magazine with new content regularly and consistently. Relevance matters too, so when curating your magazine, pay attention to news, current events, and seasons. Timeliness is always in style.

Secret #6: Successful MagMakers have co-contributors they trust
You don’t have to be the only one working to make your magazine great; add co-contributors to make it even greater. This is an advanced technique, but when structured and managed well, adding co-contributors can be a effective way to expand your reach and keep your mag updated. Just make sure your co-contributors are people you trust, and that they understand all the secrets shared above. Take a look at Joerie Mortelman’s Social Brainstorm to see an impressive example of how a magazine with many co-contributors can work.

Secret #7: Successful MagMakers have at least 50 articles in each of their magazines
Here’s a behind-the-scenes tip: Flipboard’s in-house editorial team is always on the hunt for terrific MagMaker magazines to share with the Flipboard community, but we only promote magazines that contain at least 50 articles. Magazines feel “thin” with less than 50 articles, so that’s our minimum threshold for inclusion in feeds like #MagsWeLove or By Our Readers. If you have a mag you’re proud of, make sure it contains at least 50 articles, then tell us about it!

Special thanks to Aida B.Linda Bernstein and all the participants in the weekly #FlipboardChat for contributing the ideas that made this post possible.