Kerrang! is one of the most widely-read rock music publications in the world. First published in June 1981, it’s carved out a niche at the heavier end of the spectrum, specialising in hard rock, punk and metal styles. As the biggest selling music weekly in the UK, Kerrang! has welcomed some of the world’s most successful musicians to its pages, from Kurt Cobain to Iron Maiden to Bring Me The Horizon. The print edition exists alongside their hugely popular website, which hosts a great deal of online-only content, like videos from Kerrang!’s event series, The K! Pit.
Kerrang!’s loud, bold branding reflects its niche. Its digital and print editions contrast bold colours with bold personas, and its trademark ‘!’ punctuates not just the logo, but everything the publication covers and stands for. Here’s a title that strives to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-moving young music scene.
Apple lets any publication integrate with Apple News by providing an RSS or Atom feed, as Kerrang! had already done. But this form of integration offers very little presence on the platform – to illustrate, here’s the warning Apple offers when publishers try to do so:
A full integration by FlatPlan means all stories are created in Apple News Format – which is what we did for Kerrang! This opens them up to Apple News’ analytics platform, allows them to run ads and build an audience, and most importantly allows their stories to be surfaced in the app through Apple News’ algorithm.
Despite the loudness of its branding, it’d be a mistake to assume that Kerrang!’s voice is aggressive, or musically purist. The team cover stories from all points on the rock spectrum, never shying away from the inherent playfulness that comes with rock’s theatricality. A perfect example of what I mean is Kerrang!’s Apple News channel at the time of writing:
‘Motörhead’s Mikkey Dee Has The Coolest Lawn Mower Of All Time’ alongside ‘Exclusive Stream: Season For Change Are Championing Hong Kong’s Hard Rock Scene’ and ‘Dark Funeral’s Stage Outfits Have Been Stolen’. A funny news story, a rather more serious news story and a feature proudly displaying the brand’s passion for their niche. That’s Kerrang!.
Focusing on one specific niche plays to Kerrang!’s advantage in Apple News. It allows Kerrang! to be a leading Apple News publisher in the world of music, and this authority dictates that its content be suggested alongside other leading music and entertainment publications. See this example, where a Kerrang! article was recommended beneath a Billboard story:
How did we ensure Kerrang!’s goals were met?
Considering Kerrang! is a niche publication, the team’s goals were clear: to depict and maintain the integrity of their inimitable brand as strongly as possible. Kerrang! wanted us to help them carve out their own niche within Apple News; an extension of that which the publication has spent decades calling home.
The focus of Kerrang! makes for a loyal and devoted audience that dwarfs those of competitors. Kerrang! has been featured by Apple News’ editors since its FlatPlan integration on May 9th, and has sustained high numbers of unique users per month since integration. This illustrates the brand dedication of Kerrang!’s readers; itself the reason we ensured that the Apple News channel remained totally faithful to the brand. Here’s a desktop/iPad story:
Here’s that same story on iPhone:
Kerrang! is well on their way to creating a strong, valuable audience on Apple News. The team continues to reach new audiences, who are exposed both to the brand and to the ads they traffic on the platform. What’s more, the users who followed Kerrang!’s initial RSS feed were carried over into their FlatPlan channel, giving the publication a neat head start on Apple News. Our knowledge of Apple News allowed Kerrang! to turn a default integration into a full Apple News Format integration that fires on all cylinders, meeting a new audience of music lovers on Apple devices with a beautifully branded channel that showcases their great content.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a quote from Luke Morton, Kerrang!’s Digital Editor:
At Kerrang! we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to deliver our content to a wider audience, and within a short space of time we’ve seen a huge uptake on Apple News. Mathematics understand our audience and how to make Kerrang! work on different platforms. The team made our move onto Apple News really easy, handling all the tech development work, while we focused on providing the best stories for our audience. Working together, our Apple News audience has rocketed in the first two months and it’s still continuing to grow.
Welcome to Apple News, Kerrang!
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