Should we publish all of our content to Apple News?

October 20, 2023

If you’re planning to integrate your CMS with Apple News, you might also be considering how much content you should deliver to the popular news app. Should you deliver all of your content? Only specific categories of content? Or maybe just a percentage of your stories? 

We’ve worked with many leading publishers who grappled with this question when we first spoke to them about their Apple News integration. In this guide, we’ll talk about how other publishers are using Apple News and how much content you should distribute to the platform.

TLDR: You should deliver all of your content to Apple News

The answer to this question, for most publishers, is simple. You should deliver all of your content to the platform.

To understand why, let’s first think about what you, as a publisher, need from Apple News. In the majority of cases, access to a wide audience is near the top of the list.

Apple News attracts over 145 million readers, so it’s a fantastic tool for discoverability. One of the key routes to reaching the audience is through Apple’s content-surfacing algorithm

Apple’s algorithm works best when it has plenty of content to digest. Sending the breadth of your content means Apple gains a better understanding of your audience and can more accurately route your articles to readers based on their interests.

But won’t that cannibalise our audience?

Publishers often worry that delivering all content to Apple News means they’ll lose readers from their own environment. There are valid concerns here for some publishers (more on that below) but for non-paywalled publishers, it’s important to differentiate between the article-driven nature of Apple News versus the product you present on your website or app.

Put simply, Apple News presents a stream of stories from a wide range of publishers, instead of presenting publications (called Channels in Apple News). Fewer than 3% of readers visit Channel homepages, and these pages aren’t managed with the same approach you probably take with your own environment.

Our approach to Apple News delivery is about leveraging the platform to grow media businesses. So when we build Apple News channels, we ensure every article works to drive readers into the areas you would like them to go – that’s often newsletter subscriptions but it can be app downloads, website registration or socials. 

That approach is the opposite of cannibalising traffic; it’s about reaching a wide new audience and routing them into an owned environment.

As a result, we never see a drop in website or app traffic for a publisher that delivers to Apple News. We see the opposite – usually a double-digit percentage increase in overall traffic thanks to the platform.

That’s all very well for ad-supported publishers, but we have a paywall. Why would we give our content away for free?

Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. But the good news is that you can still use Apple News in your favour even if you predominantly publish paywalled content. One good example is how Creative Review seeds free content to Apple News to bring readers back to its site where they can discover paywalled content.

Creative Review's Apple News channel homepage
Creative Review deliver their free content into Apple News which drives traffic back to their website and generates interest for their paywalled articles.

We often think of it as an extension to a metered paywall, and we recommend experimenting with the content you deliver to Apple News. If you’re a B2B publication, you may wish to surface your more mainstream content to the platform. If you’re within a niche, we recommend targeting readers with some of your strongest niche content with clear call-to-actions to pull readers into your environment.

Can we deliver paywalled content to Apple News as well?

Yes, you can. Apple News is both a free app and a paid service, with the paid service called Apple News+. Apple News+ is typically for magazine publishers and paywalled publications. Apple shares 50% of the reader subscription fee amongst all publishers based on how much time readers spend on their content.

However, paywalled publishers can also choose to publish some content to the free portion of Apple News. This is exactly what The Atlantic does and here’s why.

By delivering a portion of paywalled content for free consumption on Apple News, readers can get a taste of what’s on offer when they subscribe. This is a great way to generate leads for their subscription model and something that The Atlantic has been doing for years on Apple News.

FlatPlan helps The Atlantic deliver newsletters into Apple News so that readers can get a taste of the content available when they subscribe.

They even deliver a selection of their newsletters to Apple News using this same premise – give people a free taster, and if the content connects with them, they will subscribe. With over 145 million monthly active readers on the app, Apple News is a great platform to tease new audiences into your brand.

If either of these distribution strategies matches your business needs, chat with our expert team to discuss your integration needs, and we’ll get you set up within two weeks.

We have multiple sites for multiple territories – should we deliver all of our stories too?

You certainly should. Apple News facilitates this by allowing publishers to deliver geo-targeted Channels with separate publications. This mirrors the experience such publishers provide on their website and optimising the integration in this way will boost engagement and reach for each publication. That’s why The Sporting News uses this method to distribute its region-specific publications.

The Sporting News' Apple News channel homepage
The Sporting News deliver their US, UK and Australian publications into Apple News as separate channels.

They have three separate channels on Apple News: one for the US, the UK and Australia. This optimised experience means readers will only see stories relevant to their territory while also providing a route into the relevant part of The Sporting News website.

Sound like something that would suit your publication? Speak to the FlatPlan team to find out how we can tailor an Apple News integration for your needs.

Why shouldn’t we publish all of our content to Apple News?

There’s only one reason why you wouldn’t want to deliver all of your content to Apple News. If you syndicate content and you’re not sure you have the licence to syndicate it to another platform.

Other than that, you should maximise your reach on Apple News by publishing all of your content. 

What publishing schedule should I use on Apple News?

Now that you know you should deliver all of your content to Apple News, the next thing to consider is your publishing schedule. Typically, we recommend publishing new stories to Apple News every day. This cadence maximises your reach and is especially important for prominent content types like news stories because they are frequently read. 

How HELLO! are delivering content to Apple News

HELLO! is one of the most successful publishers on Apple News, with millions of unique viewers every day and high engagement across the board. This is mostly because they produce highly engaging content but also because they publish a large number of articles per day on Apple News; often well over 50 stories are published every day.

HELLO!'s Apple News channel homepage
HELLO! have found huge success on Apple News – in part, due to the abundance of content they deliver to the app.

With this publishing schedule, HELLO! can cover a wide variety of lifestyle topics and makes them a topic authority. As a result, HELLO!’s stories are frequently featured in personalised Topic Groups for interested readers as well as recirculation areas of the app due to the abundance of content available for the Apple News algorithm to crawl.

By maximising reach in this way, HELLO! drive a high number of readers towards key content streams such as podcasts and newsletter subscriptions. This is the power of Apple News; reach new readers and funnel them towards essential first-party data capture strategies.

If this sounds like something that would suit your publication, book a chat with our expert team to find out how Apple News can help you grow your media business.

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

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