FlatPlan works with RebelMouse publishers to implement an automated Apple News delivery system

September 28, 2023

FlatPlan helps RebelMouse publishers deliver content to Apple News with a stable, automated integration. This enables publishers to reach new audiences and nurture reader loyalty to funnel readers to their websites, where first-party data strategies kick into action.

The partnership between RebelMouse and FlatPlan

If you’re a publisher, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of RebelMouse. Founded in 2012 by Andrea Breanna, former CTO of The Huffington Post, RebelMouse launched as an evolving, modern CMS that helps publishers build SEO-optimised sites without requiring large development teams.

As media-industry obsessives, we first encountered RebelMouse through their content. We found ourselves sharing their guides to everything, from search strategy to local news initiatives — and it was clear this tech company really cared about publishers.

It was fantastic to hear from RebelMouse in 2021 when one of their publishers enquired about posting to Apple News. Since then, we’ve partnered with RebelMouse, helping the likes of indy100, Upworthy, and IEEE Spectrum reach millions on Apple News. Here’s a look at how we work with RebelMouse and why we love working with them so much.

What is Apple News?

Apple News is an application that aggregates news and features content from various publishers. It’s preloaded onto every Apple device and boasts a monthly active readership of over 145 million.

The app features a proprietary format that delivers stories clean and scrollable, allowing content to load rapidly and offering publishers in-article advertising opportunities.

Apple News feeds and article views
Left to right: Today feed, Apple News article, advert within Apple News articles.

When readers open Apple News, it presents a "Today" view, listing articles categorised by topics like top and trending stories and a "For You" suggestions page. An Apple News algorithm offers these suggestions based on readers' interests and preferences (curated by Apple's editors).

Apple News aspires to provide the finest experience for its readers, which is why Apple only accepts unique and professionally created content to build confidence and trust among its readers. As of now, Apple News is invite-only but FlatPlan is able to pitch new publishers to Apple.

By surfacing multifaceted content, Apple News gives publishers opportunities to reach new readers. But discoverability is the first rung on the ladder when joining. Here's how you can take it further with help from FlatPlan.

How does FlatPlan work with RebelMouse publishers to integrate Apple News?

Apple News presents content in a proprietary format called Apple News Format, which requires content conversion for compliance. RebelMouse clients can easily add an Apple News integration via FlatPlan, installed directly to their CMS. Reach out to your RebelMouse account manager to get this process started.

We personalise integrations for each publisher that match client branding styles, especially if you have highly designed article layouts. RebelMouse and FlatPlan work with you to discuss different implementation options that align with your business goals. Clients are supported by an expert team that will get you to your destination without a fuss.

Once we set up the integration, the editorial transition to Apple News is simple. In RebelMouse’s Entry Editor, you'll find a tab on the right-hand side of the interface called 'Distribution'. This is where you can find the toggle for Apple News. Whenever this is switched on, your new article will post automatically to Apple News readers.

Apple News toggle within RebelMouse CMS
RebelMouse Distribution Process: The Apple News toggle within RebelMouse CMS makes it easy for publishers to distribute existing and new stories to Apple News.

Below is an example of an Apple News-approved story that reflects the company's customisation and brand style:

Formula 1's branded Apple News channel
No matter what design elements you have on your website, FlatPlan can replicate it in your Apple News channel.

Speak to the expert team at FlatPlan to learn more about how FlatPlan's fully managed services can help you start delivering to Apple News with beautifully designed articles that will help you stand out on the popular app.

How does FlatPlan help media businesses grow with Apple News?

FlatPlan is no-code software that works with any CMS, enabling publishers to deliver their articles to Apple News. RebelMouse publishers already earning traffic from their optimised CMS can augment that with FlatPlan's stable Apple News integration, which provides numerous audience development tools. This brings two strong platforms together into a symbiotic integration designed to maximise growth for publishers.

As FlatPlan works in partnership with RebelMouse, there is zero input needed from the publisher's side. We get the integration up and running within two weeks while ensuring delivery is 100% stable.

Integration is only the first step to helping publishers succeed on Apple News. We also equip your Apple News publication with all the necessary components to boost reach, nurture reader loyalty, and funnel those engaged readers back to your website. Our team also ensures we match your website branding so readers know who you are when consuming your content.

Indy100's branded footer in Apple News.
Footers in Apple News help reinforce brand familiarity and provide real estate for CTAs.

One staple that all FlatPlan publishers use is our inline Follow CTA. This large button sits within the body of the content and encourages new readers to follow your publication during their most engaged state — when they're already consuming your content.

Inline Follow CTA on Upworthy’s Apple News channel
Inline Follow CTAs help publishers retain new readers on Apple News.

Existing Apple News publishers who start using FlatPlan, and therefore have access to tools such as the inline Follow CTA, have seen up to 40% increase in new Follower in the three months after integration.

But these highly visible CTAs can be used for any other purpose and linked anywhere. Many publishers have used them to encourage newsletter signups, publication subscriptions, website registrations, app downloads, and other first-party data strategies.

Upworthy in-article conversion CTAs
Inline CTAs can be linked anywhere to suit commercial goals. Newsletter signups, website registrations and app downloads are just a few ways in which publishers have made use of this tool.

FlatPlan equips publishers with branded footers in every article. These work to reinforce your branding, emphasise key messaging, and encourage clicks to social channels, websites, or anywhere that serves your commercial goals.

Upworthy's branded footer in Apple News
Upworthy’s branded footer in Apple News is used to reinforce their brand message and drive clicks to their newsletter signup page.

This is how FlatPlan empowers publishers seeking to distribute their content to Apple News. We make integration with Apple News seamless, especially with the help of RebelMouse's versatile CMS. We also enable publishers to get the most out of Apple News and use it as a gateway to your website for more engagement. Here is a testimonial from IEEE Spectrum (the world’s largest professional magazine for engineering and applied sciences) detailing their experience working with FlatPlan and publishing on Apple News:

“Spectrum has benefited from our relationship with FlatPlan. They build out our articles according to Apple News’ specs, including adding CTAs, which saves us a great deal of time. They help our content achieve greater visibility using the Promote feature. They also advised us on developing categories for our content that align with Apple News’ audiences. These efforts continue to pay off in the form of steadily growing traffic. Apple News is among our top traffic sources.”
IEEE Spectrum

What makes RebelMouse unique?

CEO Andrea Breanna states, "RebelMouse is a creative agency fueled by an enterprise-quality publishing platform that utilises next-generation technology."

Publishers who work with RebelMouse gain access to an easy-to-use Layout & Design Tool, an AI-enabled CMS, and an intuitive interface, leading to massive SEO gains. The RebelMouse team continually innovates their CMS products and services, like AI-driven features that supercharge traffic, growth, and engagement across multiple platforms for their media clients.

The RebelMouse support team is knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive to client needs. They go above and beyond project objectives to ensure clients get the most out of their services. They also provide comprehensive resource pages and guides that serve everyone, from technical to non-technical team members.

RebelMouse has attracted the likes of media giants like Upworthy, equalpride, and Brit + Co, with publishers seeing fast and significant performance gains. PowerToFly saw improvements in practically every measurable metric within two months of launching a fully redesigned site on RebelMouse, which helped them climb to the top of their sector.

PowerToFly's growth metrics with RebelMouse
PowerToFly has seen remarkable growth since moving to RebelMouse.

But the progression doesn't have to stop there. Publishers can augment this growth further by integrating Apple News into their delivery system in a fast and streamlined approach. The path to business growth is closer than you think.

Get involved with RebelMouse and FlatPlan, two powerhouse companies, to raise awareness for your business and win in the digital realm with a modern AI-driven, user-friendly CMS.

Next steps...

No matter what stage you're at in your discovery of Apple News, we'll help you get the information you need to make the right decision for your media business.

  1. Are you an existing Apple News publisher?
    Our expert team can audit your existing Apple News channel to ensure your integration is stable, determine how optimised your channel is, and provide recommendations that will help you make the most of your setup. Book a free audit now.
  2. Looking to integrate Apple News with your media business?
    Leading publishers use FlatPlan to grow their media business by leveraging the power of Apple News. With help from reader engagement tools, we help publishers reach new readers, nurture them into loyal followers and then funnel them to first-party data strategies on owned properties. Book a free consultation now.
  3. Still learning about Apple News?
    We're always providing insider knowledge and expert advice to our network of publishers. If you want to access that same material, head over to our Article pages, download our free Guide to Apple News eBook or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
  4. Know someone who might find this article useful? Share it via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other social network you use.

More resources

Inside Apple News: Drive first-party data capture with Apple News

Apple News is more than just a discovery tool. It can help publishers grow their readership by serving first-party data capture strategies.
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