What features to look for in an Apple News provider?

November 16, 2023

Integrating Apple News with your CMS can seem like a daunting task. So working with an Apple News provider could save you loads of headaches. To make sure you find the right one, there are some key benefits you should look out for to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success on the platform.

At FlatPlan, we’ve helped hundreds of leading publishers, including The Atlantic, ITV News, and Bauer Media Group, deliver their articles to Apple News. As such, we know a thing or two about what to look for when choosing a method for Apple News delivery.

So here are six features to look out for when looking for an Apple News provider to work with.

Skip to feature:

1. Ease of setup
2. Tools to drive growth
3. Support for monetisation
4. Ongoing technical support
5. Strategic guidance
6. High-quality, bug-free output

1. Ease of setup

The right Apple News provider should save you time and money when integrating Apple News into your system. This means you need an integration that works with your website, no matter which CMS you use, and it shouldn’t require any development resources to implement this. 

At FlatPlan, our software replaces weeks of planning, engineering, design and QA. Instead of requiring your teams to plan, train up and then build a solution, we handle the design, build and QA. Then we liaise with Apple for channel launches.

Make sure your provider has a robust process in place because the wrong approach can add heavily to workloads or result in an end product that feels rushed and unfinished.

Here’s what HELLO! said about the setup we did for them:

"FlatPlan has opened up our content to a wide new audience – crucially, without infringing on our day-to-day operations or draining our resource."
Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon, Head of Digital, HELLO!

To find out more about how our solution works, speak to our expert team.

2. Tools to drive growth

Winning on Apple News isn’t about simply delivering content. Your chosen provider should help you find success with continual platform growth. They should have expert knowledge about how content is surfaced to readers, how reach can be maximised by strengthening your signal in the algorithm, how reader loyalty can be nurtured, how first-party data can be captured, and how you can monetise the content you deliver to Apple News.

Success on Apple News centres around three key stages – reaching the right audience, nurturing loyalty with those readers, and then routing them out of the platform and into your own environment. So your Apple News provider needs to enable you to do this.

This is how FlatPlan helps publishers find success on Apple News. Our expert knowledge means we know exactly which levers to pull.

We ensure your content is visible in all relevant Topic Groups while strengthening your signals in the Apple News algorithm so that you’re always reaching wide audiences.

Then we help you turn those new readers into loyal followers with tools such as our inline Follow Call-to-Action. Here’s one we built for Celtic Football Club’s channel. 

FlatPlan's inline Follow Call-to-Action on Apple News
FlatPlan's inline Follow Call-to-Action is an essential mechanism to retain readers in Apple News.

Our large Follow button sits within the body of the content and encourages action from readers when they are already consuming your articles. In one click, the action sends a signal to Apple News to show more content from this channel to the reader – an action that is normally hidden away in the app.

We also help drive readers into your owned environments for first-party data capture. This can be in the form of inline Call-to-Actions in the body of the article or within branded footers that we create for you.

Related reading: Find how FlatPlan can strengthen your signal in the Apple News algorithm to maximise the reach of your articles.

3. Support for monetisation

There are multiple ways of driving revenue on Apple News so your provider needs to support those that you utilise as a publication.

We recommend checking that your Apple News provider supports direct display, programmatic, native/sponsored campaigns, video ads and affiliate links. Affiliate links in particular can be tricky to optimise for Apple News and if you monetise in this way, you’ll know it’s imperative each click is tracked and attributed to your news organisation.

At FlatPlan, we support all forms of monetisation available in Apple News. Here’s a look at how we present affiliate content for Grazia, with clear, tappable call-to-actions to drive readers into conversions.

Affiliate content presented as a commerce unit on Apple News.
FlatPlan optimises affiliate links in Grazia's Apple News articles to maximise revenue.

Our team are experts in all things Apple News and we’re happy to walk you through the array of monetisation options available. If you’d like to explore which options suit your media business best, speak to our expert team.

Related reading: Learn more in our Knowledge Base article about advertising and monetisation on Apple News.

4. Ongoing technical support

Apple News delivery is a tricky, technical task so reliable support is a must. Your Apple News provider should continually monitor your integration and ensure it’s always delivering to the standards Apple expects. 

Apple will reject any article that has a technical problem associated with it. Your provider should pass these errors on to your editorial team with clear guidance on how to rectify the issue. As an example, if an article contains a broken link within the content, Apple will reject the article entirely. Your team need to understand which link is broken and fix the issue so the story can be surfaced to Apple users.

Here at FlatPlan, we offer white-glove support, backed with an automated notification system that alerts your editorial teams, as well as our engineers, whenever there’s an issue in your setup. This ensures our publishers reach a wide audience without continual bugs that can harm platform reach. 

Related reading: FlatPlan rebuilt HELLO!’s Apple News channel following a rebrand and technology stack migration.

5. Strategic guidance

Understanding the intricacies of a platform like Apple News can be daunting. A provider that offers strategic guidance is invaluable, be that content strategy, optimising articles for the platform or keeping up with the latest updates and features. A provider like FlatPlan can be a crucial ally in maximising your publication’s impact on Apple News.

At FlatPlan, we’re always on hand to support your team with strategic knowledge of how content can be optimised to maximise impact on Apple News. Publishers often rely on us to help them reach more readers, or drive more traffic back to their website.

Related reader: FlatPlan’s expertise means we can develop innovative article templates such as this Live Reporting template.

6. High-quality, bug-free output

The quality of your content's delivery is as important as the content itself. A competent Apple News provider should guarantee high-quality, bug-free output. This is essential not only for a great reader experience but also for ensuring you meet Apple’s quality requirements. Providers should implement rigorous quality assurance processes to ensure that content is presented flawlessly.

Here at FlatPlan, we have a dedicated QA team that is backed with automated systems to ensure content is always delivered to the highest of standards. As an Apple News preferred provider, we gain access to the support of Apple, ensuring we attain success for all of the publishers we work with. 

Related reading: Explore six branded templates that FlatPlan designed for UEFA’s Apple News channel.

Selecting the right Apple News provider is more than a mere operational decision; it's a strategic choice that can significantly influence your publication's success on the platform. By focusing on ease of setup, tools for growth, monetisation support, technical assistance, strategic guidance and quality assurance you’ll find a provider that is likely to align with both your present and future aspirations.

Fancy hearing a little more about our approach to Apple News? Book a call with our Apple News experts – we would love to hear about your goals as a publisher.

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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