If you want to get the content on your website taken seriously, reach a wide audience and be seen as an authority in your sector, nothing beats being listed as a news source. Traditionally, this has meant focusing most of your attention on Google News, but recently, Apple News has expanded its reach to an impressive degree. It’s now used by around 40 million people, and it’s still growing. This makes it well worth the effort. What do you need to do to make it work for you?
Why use Apple News?
Whether you’re an Apple aficionado yourself or you’ve kept your distance, it’s hard not to notice that Apple has something different going on from most of its peers: it has fans. A significant proportion of the people who use its products use them almost exclusively, refusing to engage with otherwise popular alternatives. This means that Apple has its own market niche. If you don’t connect with Apple users on their own turf, you’re likely to miss a lot of them completely. If you do connect with them, the chances are that you’re reaching a considerable number of people who never see what your competitors are doing.
The other great thing about Apple News is that it makes things really easy. If you’ve found the requirements of keeping your site responsive and up to date with the constantly changing requirements of mobile users, this is a context in which you can relax – Apple News will do it for you. When you submit your material, it’s automatically optimised for iOS. This benefits Apple because it gives its users a smooth, trouble-free experience. It benefits you because it guarantees that your content will look great on some of the most popular mobile devices in the world, even if you’re a complete beginner with no formatting skills of your own. If, for any reason, you don’t want to take advantage of iOS optimisation, you can stick with a traditional RSS feed.
If you’re not a beginner, or if you’re ambitious about developing your skills, you’ll be pleased to learn that Apple News also offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to formatting. This starts with the type of material you can upload. As well as text, with which you can control the default font size and style, you can easily upload videos, animation and photos. It’s easy to organise the latter into galleries, which is ideal if, for instance, you have a new range of products to promote and you want prospective customers to be able to skim through the options with minimal fuss.
Recognising the usefulness of Apple News, some content management systems have already developed plug-ins that make uploading your content even easier, or do it for you automatically at times of your choosing. WordPress and Drupal are leading the pack, but others are expected to provide these options soon. If you’re not sure whether an option exists for you, or how you can install it, check your CMS site for advice.
You understand how Apple News can help you, and you’re ready to start uploading – but how can you get it to accept your content? Just like Google and Yahoo, Apple wants to make sure that those it lists as news providers are producing something that has genuine value to its customers. This means that you will need to go through a vetting process. The good news is that this is simpler to do than with Apple’s rivals, and usually quicker, despite the fact that it’s mostly handled by humans rather than robots. The human element means that sites that don’t quite fit the standard expectations have a better chance of getting listed promptly without a fuss. You can start the application process to be registered by Apple News here. You’ll need an Apple ID to register, and this is what you will use each time you upload content, so don’t use your personal one for convenience if multiple people are going to be uploading on behalf of your business – you won’t be able to change it later. You’ll be given a unique API key to use when you log in. This is very difficult to get changed if you lose it, so make sure that’s not going to happen.
If you’re going to be posting regularly to Apple News, you’ll want to know what kind of reach you’re getting from it. This is an area where Apple still lags behind its rivals, but it has assured users that it’s working on the problem, and given the care taken with other parts of the process, this sounds promising. As well as checking page impressions, you can see how the people reading your content arrived at it – through Facebook, Twitter, IM or email. Smart content marketers will put this together with the demographic data on these outlets to get a richer picture of who is interested in engaging with the published material.
Making the news
With any news service, you do, of course, have to have a news angle. This is about pleasing readers as well as service providers. It does not, however, mean that everything you publish has to go into depth on topical issues. Simply finding a topical hook for less time-specific articles can give you the option of building up more content in advance, making things easier if you’re outsourcing content production or if you want to have back-up material in case other aspects of business or life interfere with your usual schedule. Just remember that it remains valuable to be quick to publish breaking news as this is one of the most reliable methods of increasing your circulation.
Apple News is up and coming, so getting to grips with it now puts you in a strong position for the future. It’s an opportunity you really shouldn’t miss.