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Happy National Geographic Day! Did you know that National Geographic magazine has been published monthly since 1888? Although magazines have made a bit of a comeback with the pandemic, this was not the prevailing trend before 2020. In fact, the number of magazine readers in Canada has been decreasing steadily since 2014. So how does a magazine such as National Geographic, also known as Nat Geo, keep on keeping on? They embraced change and diversified, hanging on to readers by exploring new formats. Today’s blog is a look at all the ways the magazine has stayed current and why it’s a shining example of hownat geo traditional media have adapted to consumer trends.

Online Presence

First of all, it helps that Nat Geo is a well-known publication with a lot of readers and money to try new things. In fact, controlling interest in the magazine has been held by The Walt Disney Company since 2019—those are some deep pockets. But long before that acquisition, the magazine had an online presence. In 1996, the Nat Geo website was launched. This helped the global nonprofit organization further spread that word about exploring and protecting our planet. And it’s a pretty good site, too. In 2017, it won the National Magazine Award for best website.


Since National Geographic has long been a visual powerhouse, video was a natural extension of the brand. In 1965, the society’s first tv special Americans on Everest was a huge success. It was narrated by Orson Welles and featured the first motion pictures ever taken from the summit of Mount Everest. A mere 40 years later, in 2006, there was a place to house all that Nat Geo video content when the organization created a YouTube channel. This channel showcases some of the video techniques the group helped popularize, including the use of drones and sensors to capture wildlife footage.

Social Media

In the late 2000s, National Geographic was once again looking to accommodate fan interests. They wanted to keep their audience by showing up where they were hanging out, which meant the magazine needed a social media presence. How did they do? Well, they were named the most effective publisher in social media in 2014. On Instagram alone, they jumped from 6.5 million followers that year to 150 million followers today. And in 2020, Nat Geo won the Apps, Mobile & Voice category at the News & Magazines Webby Awards. The magazine most definitely has a social media footprint.


While National Geographic may have been known initially as a magazine and is renowned for photography, they also have a stake in the audio game. The Overheard podcast has been around for four seasons and is gearing up for a fifth, which starts early next month. This award-winning show gives listeners an insider’s perspective on the magazine by eavesdropping on conversations overheard at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. Co-hosted by Nat Geo editors Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs, the show has been posting episodes since June, 2019.

Audience Reach

For 133 years, National Geographic has been making people curious about global cultures, the animal kingdom, and the world at large. This blog has just a sampling of the Nat Geo properties and all the ways the organization has diversified over the years. Even small businesses understand that a broad approach to awareness is an important part of being successful in today’s digital world. It’s why most of us have that list of social media icons at the bottom of our homepage. Whether you’re a globally-recognized conglomerate or a local shop, there are ways to reach your audience and reinforce brand identity in an ever-changing media landscape.

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