March 17, 2023
Flipboard’s first feature release of 2023 is Notes, a new way to interact with readers. Here’s how publishers can use it to gain feedback from readers, build loyalty from followers and welcome new readers.
You’re no doubt familiar with how Instagram Stories allow people to ask open ended questions from followers. If you’re on Twitter you’re no doubt familiar with the instant feedback you can receive from readers. You might have experimented with comments on your own site, or tried engaging with people on Reddit or Quora. As of 2023 you can add Flipboard to the list of places to engage directly with followers, as they roll out their new Notes feature set.
Flipboard has allowed commenting for years. Notes takes this up a notch. A publisher can hit a button, type a question and then publish it to Flipboard. The question will appear in a large sapphire-coloured block with beautiful typography, allowing instant feedback from readers via comments.
The biggest group of people to see your Notes are your existing Flipboard followers. Followers of your Magazines in Flipboard will start to see Notes appear in their For You feed.
Notes are visible to new audiences too. Anyone browsing your publication will see them, they can even be ‘pinned’ to welcome new readers.
Notes that gain traction will be shown to non-followers across the network. And other Magazines can ‘Flip’ your notes, opening up a question or debate to a new group of readers. Flipboard readers can Flip your notes to their followers and Notes and comments allow username tagging which sends a notification when someone is tagged or replied to.
Notes give publications big or small the opportunity to surface more content to readers. Ask the right questions and readers with an interest in the topics you cover will engage. This offers another touchpoint to lead readers to engage with your paywall, your newsletter or your website.
As Notes are so quick to create they offer opportunity for smaller publications to keep a pace of publishing usually reserved for large publications, and alongside Storyboards they could work well to resurface topical stories from your catalogue.
Notes offer a great way to introduce a Magazine to new audiences. They can be used to give a brief overview of the publication and links into some of your strongest articles.
Individual team members can add notes to Group Magazines and other contributors will receive instant notifications - this gives a good opportunity for editorial teams to add personality to Magazines, with other team members joining the debate.
Flipboard started testing Notes in July '22 and reported that "social activity — defined as likes, comments, flips and shares — saw a 40 percent increase from August to September, and a 28 percent increase in October compared to September".
It would be useful to see a breakdown of the social activities mentioned – you would expect comments to rise, but if Notes has a double digit effect on Flips and Shares, that's a real positive. It's the longer tail that counts, too – new features can often attract a flurry of activity that tails off quickly.
Creating Notes is very simple. On iOS or Android you simply navigate to a Magazine you manage and then tap the Create icon. On a web browser tap Create a Flip, then choose your Magazine and start typing.
Pretty nice! Here are a few examples, appearing on a distinctive sapphire-coloured background.
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