Skift & Apple News: Driving traffic and engagement for the travel industry's leading B2B publication

May 22, 2023

Following worldwide disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel businesses have been working hard to navigate turbulent waters. But the industry is expected to fully rebound with an estimated market size of $2.29 trillion in 2023 – surpassing the 2019 peak. It’s a big cake with many players looking to grab a slice. 

Many of those businesses will be familiar with Skift – the leading B2B publication for travel news – and looking to their data-led insights, reports and research to ensure they don’t hit choppy water.

Skift works with a range of experts around the world to deliver high-quality wisdom about the future of travel – an industry that, as we saw in 2020, can change quickly. Indeed, the ongoing changes in the industry is what inspired the Skift name which means “shift” in Nordic languages. With the climate emergency brewing its storm clouds, the industry must stay updated and alert to navigate future challenges.

Research of this quality comes at a premium though. As such, readers often need a subscription to access the information. So when Skift came to us to distribute their content to Apple News, we knew that garnering reach and discoverability wasn’t enough. 

While many publishers make use of FlatPlan to automatically convert and optimise their content to match the slick Apple News Format, the big benefits come via bespoke conversion tools. It’s these tools that Skift wanted to utilise to drive new traffic towards their owned content ecosystems such as newsletters, podcasts and research reports. These CTA elements sit within the content and therefore have high viewability.

There are three specific CTA elements that Skift wanted within their articles to drive readers towards high-value content streams.

Gaining new followers

Apple News is great for publishers looking to reach new audiences but keeping hold of those new readers is just as important. One of the first things we implement for all publishers is the in-article ‘Follow Now’ CTA to help readers keep their favourite publications in their feed. 

Following a publication is usually done via a small icon found next to a channel readers search for or via the options menu for articles. It's not something that can be done within the article content itself. 

Marketers know that CTAs need to be well sign-posted, and they need to be well-timed. Only some people are going to follow a publication on first discovery before reading any content. But they’re more likely to follow after reading some content and finding some value in it hence why we place it partway through an article.

This allows Skift to build some rapport with new readers, introduce themselves and say “hello” first. After that, like in any real-life relationship, it would be appropriate to say: “shall we stay in touch?”

In-article 'Follow Now' CTA in Apple News
Retain new readers via in-article 'Follow Now' CTAs.

Omnichannel content strategy

Practically every publisher runs an omnichannel content strategy these days, and Skift is no different. Part of that strategy includes podcasting, which has become hugely popular in recent years. 

For publishers, podcasts represent an opportunity to engage people with the spoken word, which is a little more dynamic than written content. Articles tend to move information in one direction – from writer to reader – whereas podcasts give space for debate and discussion, which many consumers prefer, as evidenced by their continued rise in popularity.

As a result, it's important to Skift that readers know they run a podcast sharing the same kind of high-value content they get when reading their articles. So we created a branded CTA that directs readers to Skift’s Apple Podcast channel.

This graphical element is found within most Skift articles and helps readers stay within the Skift content ecosystem – another effective way to build rapport. It allows Skift to showcase their wide variety of content to suit the many different ways in which people consume content. But more importantly, it’s another way of delivering high-value, industry insights to a sector that can move swiftly.

Podcast CTA in Apple News
FlatPlan's bespoke CTAs can be used to direct readers anywhere including podcasts, newsletters, apps, and just about anywhere else.

Footer CTAs

Once Apple News readers reach the bottom of a Skift article, they’re greeted by a fully-branded footer with a range of CTAs. Firstly, the branding reinforces the importance of Skift’s authoritative research for the travel sector with the tagline ‘defining the future of travel’. After all, the research they produce literally can’t be found anywhere else.

But Skift made a strategic decision not to push their paid content at this stage. Instead, readers are teased into the B2B publication with a newsletter signup CTA. Skift runs a range of high-quality newsletters, many of which are free. 

Fully-branded footers with a range of commercial CTAs
Full-branded footers can use a range of CTAs to drive commercial goals.

And finally, there are of course the usual social channels. We’re so used to seeing these on publishers’ websites but not so much on Apple News. But publications that work with FlatPlan can get these added to the footer of every article quickly and easily.


These examples are all found within a single article. The range of tools at Skift’s disposal ensures Apple News is more than just a discovery tool for publishers. Discovery is just the first step in a reader’s journey. Following, subscribing and checking out other content streams are all important actions publishers want to see from their readers. 

If you're looking to use Apple News to grow your readership and drive them towards monetised channels, speak with the expert team at FlatPlan.

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

How Publishers can Optimise Content for Apple News

Learn from FlatPlan, a preferred provider of Apple News, about how to maximise performance and drive audience development.
Read more