Knowledge Base

Tools for Driving Growth

Our aim at FlatPlan is to help publishers drive sustained growth inside and outside Apple News. Our expert team are always looking to develop new tools to facilitate this. Here are nine tools we’ve developed to help you drive growth.

1. Follow mechanics
2. FlatPlan Notify
3. Inline buttons that drive traffic to owned environments
4. Podcast embeds
5. Branded footers
6. Reader retention mechanisms
7. Automatic Promote feature
8. Routing stories into Sections
9. Inline Share buttons

1. Follow mechanics

The act of 'Following' in Apple News sends a clear signal in the algorithm to surface more of your content around the app. But the Follow action in Apple News is usually hidden away in a menu of the app.

We make this essential reader action more prominent by equipping publishers with an in-article Follow mechanic. This engages readers when they are consuming your content, making it easy for them to signal that they'd like to see more of your content.

Here, Car Magazine has a space in the Today Feed dedicated to it because they are a Followed publication.

Followed publications are surfaced around the Apple News app app.
Car Magazine is surfaced on the Today Feed because it's a Followed publication.

The Follow mechanic can be placed anywhere within your articles. If you would like to update the design of your Follow mechanic, or change its position on the page, get in touch with support and we’ll be happy to help.

Examples of designed Follow buttons in Apple News.
Undark and Celtic Football Club use visuals to make their Follow buttons more enticing.

2. FlatPlan Notify

Understanding which content resonates best with Apple News readers will help your team understand which articles drive growth for your publication. That’s why we created FlatPlan Notify for our publishers.

FlatPlan Notify is an automated notifications system that informs your team whenever an article is receiving extra attention on Apple News.

You’ll receive an email from FlatPlan Notify when your content is: featured by Apple News editors; ‘boosted’ by Apple News editors, selected for inclusion in editor-controlled areas of the app, featured in the Top Stories section and any other ‘spikes’ in traffic.

These notifications alert your team that certain articles are resonating with the Apple News editors and readers. They contain actionable next steps for your team, helping them to attain further growth or plan future coverage that will play well in Apple News.

If you’d like to learn more about how FlatPlan’s tools can help you drive growth, book a call with our expert team.

FlatPlan Notify email notification
Your editorial team will receive email notifications when a particular story is getting more traction on Apple News.

3. Mechanisms to drive traffic to owned environments

Apple News is a fantastic platform for discoverability, giving publishers a unique route to over 145 million monthly active readers. And here at FlatPlan we can help drive those readers back to owned environments where first-party data can be captured.

For FlatPlan publishers, this can be enabled in a couple of ways. The first is with the use of FlatPlan’s inline call-to-action buttons. Like the Follow mechanic, these can be placed anywhere within the body of your articles, and they can be linked anywhere, to align with your commercial goals. FlatPlan publishers have used these to drive traffic back to their website, newsletter subscriptions, website registrations, app downloads and many other reader actions.

Here’s HELLO! Fashion using FlatPlan’s inline call-to-action button to drive newsletter signups:

HELLO! Fashion use inline call-to-actions to drive readers to their newsletter
HELLO! Fashion use inline call-to-actions to drive readers to their newsletter.

This is FIFA using our Call to Action mechanics to drive app downloads:

FlatPlan's inline call-to-action buttons can drive app downloads in Apple News.
FIFA are using the same mechanic to drive app downloads.

Another way to drive traffic back to owned environments is with the use of graphical lockups. These call-to-actions are given bespoke designs and they can still be placed anywhere you want within your articles.

Here’s how ITV News use graphical lockups to drive app downloads at the bottom of their Apple News articles:

FlatPlan can design graphical lockups to make call-to-actions more enticing
FlatPlan can create graphical lockups to make call-to-actions more enticing for your readers.

Looking to use Apple News to drive growth for your media business? Speak to our expert team to find out how Apple News can help you drive commercial success.

4. Podcast embeds

Apple News presents a great opportunity to expose new readers to your other content streams. Podcast embeds are a popular option for publishers who are looking to grow their audience outside Apple News.

As with all FlatPlan tools, you have full control over the strategic placement of your embeds and call-to-action buttons. If you run multiple podcasts, you can choose to place specific podcast embeds within specific articles based on relevance to maximise clickthroughs.

Here’s an example of HELLO!’s podcast embed at the bottom of their Apple News articles:

HELLO!'s podcast embed in Apple News
Podcast embeds help drive audience growth using other content streams in your network.

5. Branded footers

Here at FlatPlan, we design footers for publishers to reinforce branding and provide information about the raison d’etre of the publication. This helps new readers understand who you are and make it easier for them to find you outside Apple News.

Branded footers also provide additional real estate to drive readers back to owned environments in the same way that our inline buttons do.

Here’s how Indy100 use a branded footer to drive traffic back to their website:

Indy100's branded footer in Apple News.
Indy100 use their branded footer to drive traffic back to their website.

And here’s Creative Review using the same mechanism to drive newsletter signups:

Creative Review's branded footer in Apple News
While Creative Review use their to drive newsletter signups.

Looking to update your branded footer? Get in touch with support to discuss your needs.

6. Reader retention mechanisms

To help you retain new readers, FlatPlan can bring across any reader retention strategies from your website onto your Apple News channel.

This might be in the form of recirculation links in the body copy. Or we can recreate Trending Stories and Read More widgets from your website’s sidebar for use on your Apple News channel.

These can be strategically placed anywhere you want, so if you’d like to experiment with them, just get in touch with FlatPlan’s support team.

Here’s how HELLO! use a ‘Don't Miss’ widget in the middle of their articles to retain readers:

HELLO!'s reader retention mechanisms
HELLO!'s 'Don't Miss' widget helps keep readers on their content for longer.

And this is how Middle East Eye’s Read More widget looks at the bottom of their articles:

Middle East Eye's Read More widget in Apple News
FlatPlan recreated Middle East Eye's Read More widget at the bottom of their articles.

7. Automatic Promote feature

The Promote feature in Apple News boosts the visibility of articles in the Channel feed and recirculation areas around the app. But this has to be controlled manually by editors in Apple News Publisher, which is time-consuming.

So FlatPlan developed a feature to automate this process. Our automatic Promote feature increases the reach of your best-performing articles while saving you time.

Want this enabled on your Apple News account? Get in touch with support to get this feature set up.

8. Routing stories into Sections

FlatPlan can route stories into relevant Sections in Apple News – Sections are content categories in Apple News. This makes it easier for readers to navigate to topics of interest within your Apple News channel.

Organising your stories in this way will also make it easier for Apple to understand where to route your content and improve the reach. We also recommend naming your Sections in line with Apple’s terminology in the app. So you might have a category called ‘Home’, but Apple News defines this content as ‘Home and Garden' we suggest naming your Section to align with Apple's naming. Get in touch with your account manager to gain insight into this – we will be happy to help.

9. Inline Share buttons

Share buttons are a great way to help expand the reach of your publication.  However, the action is typically hidden away in the menu of Apple News.

FlatPlan can make this action more prominent to readers by placing inline Share buttons within the body of your articles to encourage this action and stimulate growth.

Inline share buttons in Apple News.
FlatPlan can add Share buttons to your articles to encourage reader distribution.

Want to get inline Share buttons added to your Apple News articles? Get in touch with support and we’ll get this enabled for you.

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.
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