How National Geographic is using archived content to woo modern audiences

Magazine publisher shares its content marketing strategy and the technology helping to support it


Content marketing has shown tremendous growth in recent years, as brands scramble to find ways to engage and retain the attention of increasingly-distracted audiences.

For US-based magazine publisher, National Geographic, its content marketing strategy is not about creating new. Rather, it is investing in bringing to life an inventory of content that stretches back to 1888, and using that to build and retain its audience.

National Geographic has been working with Australian software developer, Realview, to convert PDFs of its paper-based archives into a searchable database, creating a pool of content that can also be used to shine a light on the events of today.

According to National Geographic’s senior manager for marketing and engagement, Justin Droms, the archive has proven a key attraction for both new and old subscribers.

“As other organisations might deepen relationships with discounts or giveaways, we really focus at National Geographic on deepening relationships by curating really great digital content,” he says.

Droms says archive content is consistently one of the things that gets the most clicks in National Geographic’s email newsletters, and is proving critical to the publishers’ plans to convert subscribers from a print-only subscription.

“The fact that we can mention that along with your National Geographic subscription you will get access to every issue since 1888 helps lift response,” Droms says. “Telling people about this huge archive, especially when we can point out how it is related to some of the current content, is more effective than a bunch of other techniques for getting out print-only folks to digitally activate.”

Droms says working with Realview also helps the company curate its archives in a way that is intelligent and relevant.

“Their platform enables us to be creative,” he says. “If we want to create a collection of our best articles about a given location, or our best articles about Jacques Cousteau or Jane Goodall, we can. We have also begun pinning articles to their geographic location on an interactive map.

“In a world where every time there is something in the news, there are a few thousand articles about it that say something similar, it really is unique for us to say something different, such as ‘look at this article we wrote before Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba’, or ‘when we visited Cuba 100 years ago’.”

Chief executive officer at Realview, Richard Lindley, says National Geographic is representative of many clients who understand the value of their archives and are putting them to work in customer attraction and retention. He says the company’s latest release, Partica, goes one step further by simplifying the process of consumers subscribing via mobile, and enables PDFs to be more easily broken down into individual articles.

Lindley also sees a strong opportunity for Partica outside of traditional publishers, including organisations that produce large numbers of brochures, such as tourism operators.

“With the change towards content marketing, everyone is a publisher these days,” Lindley says. “We are looking at companies that have a marketing budget, that need to get people on mobile, and that have print publications, but not necessarily the knowledge or the money to get things into a mobile format.

“The Sydney Guide is now on-board, and it is kind of exciting, because visitors’ guides on mobile are great.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Is AI on course to take over human creativity?

Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Are you leading technology changes or is technology leading you?

In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Disruption Down Under – What’s Amazon’s real competitive advantage?

Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.

Oracle is toothless, it has zero. They don't understand what AI is.

Ilya Geller

Exclusive CMO interview: Where Oracle is heading with AI in marketing

Read more

The concept of liquid expectations is on the rise, and happy customer experience directly relates to the ease of finding a solution. Most...

Karanbir Singh

New digital trends report predicts a year of liquid customer expectations and design thinking

Read more

Great article, Thanks for sharing with us. I would like to recommended list of top customer loyalty software for small to large scale of ...

Matts Frigian

How brands are ramping up customer loyalty program spending in 2017

Read more

“We’re in an arms race for finite attention.”What a statement that is. I am so glad that someone of Steve's caliber comes out about the m...

Peter Strohkorb

Marketo CEO: Ditch the volume game, focus on value

Read more

Hello Greetings for the day. As I am also looking to stabilize gym with Hypoxi in india place called Delhi. And I have gone through your ...

Dhruv singh

Goodlife gets business ‘in shape’ with real-time analytics

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in