Storytelling, the NatGeo way

Yulia Boyle, senior vice president of international media for the National Geographic Society, told FIPP World Congress delegates in Toronto last week, that the move will “ensure the future of the National Geographic Society for years to come.” 

Boyle said that it is those types of moves that have allowed National Geographic to amass a huge audience from all over the world, to inspire them to learn about the planet and of course stay with and return to all of the platforms available.

“The ingredients to our success are supreme content and multi-platform distribution,” she said.

National Geographic finds audiences wherever they congregate and brings them the information that they want. Boyle finds that they are eager to engage with content beyond the regular offering of the television channel and the magazine. Across all platforms more than 700m people are reached on a monthly basis and one in four readers can read the magazine in their own local language.

Boyle also said that the multi-platform approach allows for content to be created with a digital audience in mind. That means shorter, more conversational and visual content.

No matter the eventual destination, all National Geographic content comes directly from the field, said Boyle. And there are five journalistic principles that must be considered before publishing each story, the stories must:

  • Make a difference
  • Do what others can’t
  • Be part of a conversation
  • Act urgently
  • Know who you are

Furthermore, the stories are not told the same way on all platforms, said Boyle. It is important to tailor each story to its intended audience to make it relevant and appropriate.

Boyle provided the example of the National Geographic Instagram page. About 90 of the magazine’s most prominent photographers have their own login and are able to take the reins completely in sharing their images with their followers. Boyle also spoke of the story telling methods used on Snapchat. She said that the format is more playful and they are not afraid to entertain as they educate.

She went on to outline the platforms that National Geographic uses to monetise their online presence.

They include: Your Shot, Digital Nomad, National Geographic Society membership, channel programming and Nat Geo Play.

Boyle unveiled that a new platform called NatGeo1, which is a single digital destination for the monthly magazine and archives and over 3000 hours of video content from a variety of sources. It will all be in one space, be fully curated and searchable. 

To conclude, Boyle told the audience that it is a very exciting time to be a storyteller because stories can be told on a variety of platforms with uncompromising content.   

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