November 3, 2023
FlatPlan offers several ways to nurture new readers into loyal followers on Apple News. Some of them involve pulling across mechanisms you already utilise on your website into Apple News while others involve a more holistic approach by cross-pollinating content from your network. Let's start with branding.
The foundation of reader retention starts with building brand recognition to ensure new readers know who you are when your stories are surfaced alongside other leading publishers. But getting this right in Apple News isn’t always so easy as the app uses a proprietary format to display articles. Therefore, expert knowledge of the Apple News code is required to accurately match the look and feel of website articles.
FlatPlan‘s design team has the requisite knowledge to match all elements of a website’s design for Apple News no matter how complicated or bespoke they may be. This can include the use of Read More widgets, bullet point summaries, and intricate design motifs that sit on the page or around your images. Custom fonts, colourways, icons and any other branded elements are also imported to maintain brand consistency.
Another simple and effective way to keep readers coming back to your content is by asking them to follow you on Apple News. Readers can follow any number of publications but FlatPlan optimises the success of this call-to-action by placing inline Follow buttons within the body of your content.
When readers follow your publication, not only will you appear in the Following section of the app for that user, but it also sends a strong signal to the Apple News algorithm. This boosts the frequency with which you will appear in personalised feeds and recirculation links around the app. You may even get a whole section dedicated to your publication in the Today Feed as shown below.
Garnering Follows from Apple News readers is a staple for success on the app, but without FlatPlan’s inline Follow CTA, the growth of this metric may not be so high. Publishers who join FlatPlan, and therefore have access to this crucial reader retention tool, can get up to 40% more Follows within the first three months.
As you can imagine, this upturn in loyal readers leads to a direct increase in Article Views and Average Active Time, which further boosts your signal in the algorithm. That’s why encouraging readers to take this one simple action is so powerful; it creates a self-reciprocating cycle of growth.
With the techniques above, your Apple News channel will be slick and recognisable. You’ll retain new readers you’ve reached with the inline Follow CTA. This will push up your Unique Viewers and Total Views in Apple News, which will also boost your signal in the algorithm and increase your reach further.
While all these new people are reading your articles, it’s time to expose them to all the other great content you also publish. How? With the use of recirculation links within your articles.
Recirculation links are a reliable way to keep readers on your content longer. This is particularly important on Apple News as Average Active Time is a crucial metric that determines your strength in the algorithm.
The first type of recirculation links are text-based links. These simple but effective text links appear either within the body itself or on a separate line by itself to help readers find related content and further contextual information to support the article they’re currently reading.
Read More widgets are another popular form of recirculation. On publishers’ websites, these might appear in the sidebar or at the bottom of the article. These widgets are often adorned with branding elements to make them more engaging and visible.
Both methods can easily be pulled into your Apple News channel by the FlatPlan team to help you maximise reader retention.
Another way is retain new readers is by exposing them to other content streams within your network. You can do this simply by adding in-article CTAs that encourage readers to subscribe, follow, download, listen or watch another piece of content produced by you.
A popular one among publishers is asking readers to subscribe to a newsletter. Not only does this allow you to capture valuable first-party data, but it help you build a closer relationship with that reader. This then gives you data to determine what kind of content your readers prefer so that you can better cater to their needs.
FlatPlan can facilitate this with the use of inline buttons similar to the ones we use to encourage Follows. These sit within the body of the content and stimulates action from readers when they’re already engaging with your content.
These methods can also be used to promote podcasts, apps, videos, social media channels and any other content from your network. This enables publishers to use Apple News to push an omnichannel content strategy where the news app can be used as a gateway to many other content streams.
By forming a direct relationship with readers that you’ve reached in Apple News, you’ll have a better chance of building a more loyal readership. They could even end up being a brand advocate for you one day.
FlatPlan publishers get one final touchpoint with readers when they come to the end of an article in the form of branded footers. The branded footer serves multiple purposes.
Firstly, it helps reinforce your branding and therefore builds brand recognition. If the reader is new to your publication, then it’s also an opportunity to explain who you are and why you produce the content that you do.
But perhaps more importantly, the branded footers provide real estate to convert readers. This might mean encouraging newsletter signups, website registrations, app downloads, and any other commercial strategy you might be driving can be promoted with CTAs in the footer.
This is why FlatPlan creates beautifully designed branded footers for all of our publishers as they help serve the top and bottom of the audience development funnel.
Join leading publishers who use Apple News to reach new audiences and drive them to owned properties. Speak to the FlatPlan team to find out how Apple News can help you grow.
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.