Amy Maniatis is executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the National Geographic Society. She is the Society’s first CMO since the organization was founded 125 years ago. Before joining National Geographic, Amy was vice president of marketing at CafePress.

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I invited Amy to Marketing Smarts to talk with us about the importance of social media and emerging platforms for the publishing industry and discuss how National Geographic has evolved over the years. She is uniquely qualified to discuss success in digital media because the American Society of Magazine Editors recently named National Geographic the "Best Tablet Magazine of 2013."

Here are a few highlights of our conversation.

Create social media content that evokes wonder (4:32): "Think about what gets shared in social media. There is that 'bored at work' phenomenon. What are people instantly sharing that transcends all languages and cultures? 'Wow' and wonder [do] incredibly well, and that's what we deliver: the awe and wow and wonder."

Don't be afraid to give your content creators the power to post (7:42): "What was unique in our approach was that we looked at [Instagram], a platform that was everything true to our core brand—the love of photography and sharing of photography—and we did something no one else had done... Turned the keys over to our photographers... That's been the key to our success." 

Try emerging platforms, but not all of them (11:26): "Too often, marketers feel... like your social strategy means that you are everywhere. I strongly believe that's not true. You need to look at the platforms where: 1.) your audience is congregating and 2.) where your content will do really well and where you can play. Given limited resources, if you really... try to play on all these platforms, there's just absolutely no way you'll be able to manage the community and be an active, authentic player within that space."

Publishers should embrace a digital medium to reach a younger audience (18:48): "When we look at the age of readers on [National Geographic's] iPad app, over 75% are under 55 and a good 35% are under 34, so we're bringing in a much younger audience on some of our new digital platforms." 

My conversation with Amy included much more. I encourage you to listen to the entire show, which you may do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode! 

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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