The best alternative to Apple News plugins

October 12, 2023

Apple News can be a difficult platform to integrate with. It requires extensive knowledge of their native format so that articles can be accurately replicated for the app; knowledge that takes time and resources to acquire. This is why Apple News plugins seem enticing; they promise to skip over this process for you. But versus a full Apple News integration, the comparisons are stark.

CMS plugins for Apple News can be crude setups that don’t account for the news app's intricacies or your commercial and editorial needs. They often aim to speed up the process of article conversion but we’ve yet to come across one that does this well, especially for publishers with multiple article templates or those that use multimedia formats.

That’s why FlatPlan offers an extensive, fully managed Apple News integration that works on any CMS and comes equipped with tools to drive reach, reader retention and first-party data capture.

Over the years, many publishers have come to FlatPlan asking why their plugin isn’t working on some articles but not on others, or why certain multimedia formats aren’t displaying properly. But with our team’s expert knowledge of the platform, we ensure your integration is stable and works for all article formats on your website.

FlatPlan’s Apple News integration vs CMS plugins

Unlike many other news aggregators, Apple News displays stories in a native format they call Apple News Format. This means you need to acquire knowledge of how to convert your website articles into this format so that they can be displayed correctly in the app.

This might appear straightforward at first, but it becomes more complicated if you’re a large media organisation with multiple titles, and various article formats, and regularly make use of multimedia components such as videos, quiz embeds, image galleries, audio articles and many others. Additionally, if article pages get a redesign, this may not get picked up by plugins.

Your publication website may have many moving parts with various design elements, reader retention mechanisms and engagement tools. Plugins aren’t able to bring these across into Apple News which means that your channel isn’t working as hard as it could be.

Here’s a comparison table showing how FlatPlan integrates publishers into Apple News versus CMS plugins.

FlatPlan's Apple News integration vs CMS plugins for Apple News

How does FlatPlan provide a comprehensive alternative to Apple News plugins?

FlatPlan’s Apple News integration helps you right from the start of the process and continues to care for your publication once it’s all up and running. This starts by understanding your particular needs so that the integration can be tailored to your commercial goals. 

Then we start recreating article templates in Apple News Format. If there are differing templates or multiple publication titles to consider, this can all be independently handled by the FlatPlan team with minimal input required by the publisher or their development team. All branding elements are also brought across so that you can be easily identified when articles are seen alongside other major titles.

Other article components such as articles summaries, Read More widgets and pull quotes are also recreated to ensure your Apple News articles look exactly the same as your articles on the website. We also ensure your articles are fully responsive and display correctly across a range of viewports.

We then equip your Apple News channel with FlatPlan tools that augment articles. This includes the use of inline Follow CTAs to encourage reader retention, branded footers with CTAs to drive first-party data capture, and any other in-article buttons to serve key commercial goals from newsletter subscriptions to app downloads.

Once your channel is looking exactly as it should, a comprehensive series of tests are carried out to double-check all elements of your templates and to ensure your integration is completely stable. Once live, our team as well as yours are automatically notified of any issues in delivery – but we often resolve these before your team even realises something went wrong.

If ever you decide to change your technology stack or rebrand your website, FlatPlan can support that process too by ensuring your rebranded Apple News is launched on the same day as your website.

If this sort of integration suits your media business compared to a plugin, get in touch with the FlatPlan team to see how we can get your publication onto Apple News.

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.

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