Much of our focus at FlatPlan is around driving growth for the publishers we work with. Our tools for driving growth help here, but our experience with the platform means we can offer guidance around creating growth through best practise, content and tech, which we pass to teams with our regular communications.
Here are some key pointers to help drive growth on the app:
The vast majority of your traffic will arrive from the Today feed (define), Editorial Groups (define) and Recirculation areas (define). These areas of the app are controlled by an Apple News algorithm and human editors, so appear based on user interest, quality and timeliness.
Your article pages are the areas you have the most control over, allowing you to turn a single visit into a loyal user who regularly returns to your content.
Initially, focus on driving ‘Follows’ (define) for your channel. When a reader chooses to click Follow they are surfaced your content more regularly, offering your best opportunity for increasing strong, sustainable traffic levels. Our custom FlatPlan footers can help this happen.
Include internal links in your articles to drive people around your channel. A person that views lots of content from your channel shows Apple an affinity for your stories and will therefore see more from the publication, creating a virtuous circle. If you already include internal links in articles on your website Apple News converts these links to work in the app automatically.
Post frequency is important on Apple News. Where possible we recommend delivering all of your stories published on your website to Apple News, rather than drip-feeding a smaller number of stories.
Use clear, concise, keyword-driven headlines and bold, eye-catching thumbnails/lead images.
Longer articles give the Apple News algorithm more context to work with, so where possible create stories above 750 words.
Apple News uses natural language processing, however, so well written pieces will perform better than badly written, keyword stuffed articles.
Craft a strategy for pitching to Apple News’ editors. Learn about their likes and pitch your strongest work, without flooding their inboxes.
Features with great design generally have a higher likelihood of being featured. Apple likes great storytelling. At FlatPlan we offer bespoke builds for one-off articles – get in touch if you would like to know more.
If you share an Apple News story to Twitter, be sure to mention @applenews. They often retweet.
Go one further than covering interesting topics: cover them with a unique perspective you haven’t observed elsewhere.
Urge users to share your articles via their own social media profiles.
Good design with clearly legible type will make the experience better, encouraging users to return to your channel.
The following points may serve as helpful guidelines when experimenting with the above:
On average, articles featured in Spotlight or Editorial Groups are normally featured four days after they are published, so try to pitch early to editors for timely pieces and feel free to pitch stories after they have gone live if a preview isn’t possible.
Articles featured in Top Stories are always featured the day they are published.
Articles generally get featured in Editorial Groups in the afternoons (UTC).
Articles featured in Spotlight are added between 04:00 and 06:00 (UTC).
Articles featured in Editorial Groups consistently reach very high numbers of users.
The most successful articles within Editorial Groups tend to be quite visual in nature, hosting a lot of images.
Articles featured in Spotlight tend to reach high numbers of users, although there is some broader variation with this metric. This variation is a result of position within the Spotlight feed and/or the territory in which it was featured.