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Last week we showcased five different Stories platforms on social media sites, ranging from the original – Snapchat Discover – to the most recent LinkedIn Stories. As the first post in a series delving into this phenomenon,  we are going to take a look at the pioneer social media brand behind Stories – Snapchat – and their Discover product aimed at publishers that launched in January 2015.

In addition, we’re showcasing five publisher brands that are making waves on Discover.

What is Snapchat Discover? And what does it mean for publishers? 

As the innovator behind the Stories format, launching Discover made publishers sit up and take notice, when it launched over five years ago. Discover pioneered the format of storytelling from a publisher’s perspective, giving you easy tools to build a story from simple images, video and text. 

Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first. 

Discover is new, but familiar. That’s because Stories are at the core – there’s a beginning, middle, and end so that editors can put everything in order. Every edition is refreshed after 24 hours – because what’s news today is history tomorrow.

With that in mind, it was clear that publishers would find innovative and meaningful new ways to tell different stories. And five years later, given the response that Stories has received with every social media platform adopting it wholescale, it is clear Snapchat was onto something.

Five publishers making a mark on Snapchat Discover 

1. The New York Times (“Introducing All the News That’s Fit to Snap”):  

Let’s face facts. The “Old Gray Lady” can adapt to the times, if you know what we mean! The New York Times was one of the first to join Snapchat Discover, experimenting with style, story length, and most importantly, videos that weren’t their bailiwick.

The only other area that the New York Times had a resounding success was their foray into podcasting with “The Daily” that hits millions of streams per episode. Their Snapchat adaptation has proven to be equally successful with content repurposed from their website. 

In addition, they took a page out of more modern, youth-oriented sites like Mashable and Buzzfeed, to create shorter five-point versions of their newsletters, op-eds, and even their famous crossword puzzle. 

2. Mashable

Speaking of Mashable, one thing we have to give them is their eagerness to innovate in the news space. Mashable took Discover as a chance to relate to their youthful audience that craves the latest in technology. 

Their innovation here was to try out all the different new features that Snapchat offered them with the maze like snap, interactive quizzes, polls, all with the primary goal of increasing engagement. This allowed them to become the experts in technology to an audience that was not only native and grew up with iPhones but eager for information.

And as Mashable took over this platform, they became the first place that the audience turned to.

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3. National Geographic

Like Pinterest Stories, Snapchat Discover also lends itself to the more creative magazine publisher and National Geographic is a perfect example of such a Stories experimenter.

Here’s where the storyboarding aspects of Discover comes in handy, so whether it’s fun facts of a goldfish or a lion — allows them to build a story linked together to keep readers / viewers entertained and allows them to increase their engagement. 

If your publisher brand is more complicated than National Geographic, take a page from their Stories book and keep it simple on any Stories Format, while hooking your viewers with relevant information. Another advantage for NatGeo is their spectacular photography and videography that was used to create the gold-standard in vertical storytelling.

The biggest lesson was the brand’s eagerness to adapt to a new format and they reaped the engagement rewards. 

Pro Tip: Keep it Simple and Highlight your Strengths – on Stories.

4. The Washington Post

As we recommended in our coverage of LinkedIn Stories, the Washington Post used Snapchat Discover for their strength of Breaking News, rather than live coverage. For example: the much hyped James Comey testimony was covered live on Snapchat Discover.

Same for similar stories, whether it was checking in on the survivors of a nightclub shooting or video explainer of a behind the scenes Federal Prison Camp. You get the Story!

5. Wall Street Journal

Like most publishers in the space, WSJ utilized the platform to post regular visual imagery and highlights of their award winning investigative content repurposed from their website. 

Pro Tip: Stay true to your brand! 

Another important point is for you to stick to your core brand values, like WSJ did on Snapchat, without dumbing down their content for a different audience. They did pick the right categories that might have greater resonance on Snapchat, including finance, culture and their Daily Editions. 

That’s it from us for now! If there are other publishers you find crushing it on Snapchat Discover, please leave us a comment below.

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