Flipboard for Windows 8 review

Flipboard for Windows 8.1 on Microsoft Surface RT

Flipboard for Windows 8 is finally in the Windows store. And it was worth the wait. I’ve one criticism (and it’s a big one), but far more praise (and it’s big praise).

As this is a public relations blog I don’t often review or write about technology (despite it being a good way to get more readers). But that’s exactly why I’m reviewing Flipboard for Windows 8 – it’s an essential tool for PR professionals. Especially when used on a Microsoft Surface RT tablet.

Why Flipboard matters for PR

I’ve already written about why I think Flipboard and in particular its ability to create custom magazines is a fantastic tool for public relations and corporate communications. Since I wrote this Flipboard has added new features which make it even more useful for public relations.

Firstly, you can now view magazines on the web. The biggest problem previously was that not enough people had the Flipboard app. Now that doesn’t matter and you can promote your Flipboard magazine to audiences via email and even on traditional print to reach those that are slower to use new technology or unlikely to use the app. For corporate communications who need to reach more senior and small ‘c’ conservative people this is really important and makes it a viable alternative to traditional email newsletters.

The second is the ability to invite additional contributors so that you can be logged into your own account and still flip stories into a corporate magazine account. This makes it far easier and more practical for an in-house PR team and PR consultancies to create fantastic magazines.

Flipboard can be one of the most effective channels for content marketing. The best corporate magazines will be a mix of curated content from third parties with your own blog and news content as part of the mix. It’s also excellent for distributing online media coverage about your company or organisation by simply flipping good stories into your magazine.

You can subscribe to my PR News and View magazine here.

Flipboard for Windows 8.1

I’ve used Flipboard on Android phones, Android tablets and an iPad and can confidently say that the Windows 8 version on my Surface RT is better than any of them. It looks slick and is extremely well integrated into the Windows 8 operating system making it far easier and more intuitive to use than its Android or iOS counterparts.

But, and this is a big but, it lacks one of the most important features for me. It doesn’t appear on the Share charm list. It is impossible to flip content or stories from the browser into your magazine. On a laptop or desktop this isn’t a problem as can use the Flip It! bookmark in Internet Explorer or Chrome. On Windows RT you don’t have that option so effectively can’t use it to create magazines. The rather clunky work round is to share the story to Reading List and then flip it when you’re eventually back on your laptop. Hardly very efficient or timely.

I’d love to hear from Flipboard about why this rather essential and obvious feature has been left out.

However, the positives far outweigh this one big negative.

One of the best features of Windows 8 is the live tiles so you can see updates and changes at a glance on your start screen. Flipboard uses this wonderfully, just swipe down in any magazine or section of Flipboard and you see an option to Pin to Start. You’ve then got beautiful updates in a choice of tile sizes.

Swiping down also gives you all the other options you need such as flipping a story into a magazine, subscribing to new content, refresh and edit. Depending where you are swiping down from the top gives different features such as ‘contributors’, ‘people also read’, ‘more for you’ and ‘magazines you might like’.

Split screen on Microsoft Surface RT with Flipboard and OneNote

The second highlight feature for me (and something that the iPad version can’t even begin to compete with) is the snap screen to display two apps side by side. This makes a combination of Flipboard and OneNote a fantastic research tool as you can have the article open on one half of the screen while making notes in the other. How’s that for productivity!

Despite the fact you can’t flip content to your own magazine from the browser Flipboard is still a great tool for PR professionals. Staying up to date and knowledgeable is one of the most important things a PR professional can do. Flipboard is a great tool to ensure you’re up to speed on news and current affairs, your own sector and most importantly for continuous professional development (CPD) by reading PR magazines and blogs.

Flipboard has produced this short YouTube video to introduce Flipboard for Windows 8.1.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.

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