Now anyone can publish to Apple News, what you need to know

What is it, why use it and how to go about it

Apple has worked in its usual way with Apple News, offering the new service in partnership with larger partners before mass introduction. Today any (approved) publisher can join the channel, meaning bloggers can publish into the same stream as mainstream titles. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Apple News?

Apple News is Cupertino’s iOS news platform. It already offers content from over 100 major publishers including CNN and more. It enables publishers to offer their material in both a generic RSS-like feed format and in highly designed unique formats, (Apple News Format). Until now access to Apple News Format has been limited.

Apple says:

“News brings the beautiful editorial layouts and typography of print to the screen. Enjoy interactive and engaging stories, rich with photo galleries, videos and animation. Articles are optimised for both iPhone and iPad, so you’ll have a great reading experience no matter which device you’re using.”

How many users does it have?

An estimated 40 million

What can we add?

Anything from video posts to standard blog submissions. Take a look at Apple News Format workflow and RSS workflow for more information.

How do we publish?

Apple has launched a new News Publisher portal where users can create content that can be accessed on any compatible iOS device.

Can I publish from my existing CMS?

Yes. It is easier if you use a standard content management system such as Drupal or WordPress for which these already available plug-ins exist. Those using proprietary systems may need to work a little harder.

What do I need?

Before you publish you must obtain Apple-supplied Apple News API credentials. This means you must contact Apple in order to have your content approved and sign in with an iCloud identity/Apple ID to connect content from your source to News Publisher. You begin that process here. NB: Please take a note of your Apple-provided secret API key the moment you receive it -- you only get it once, and the way things are going with encryption in the USA, Apple won't easily change or remind you of it. (With thanks to AppleHolics group member, Ben).

Example, publishing to Apple News from WordPress

The independently produced Publish to Apple News WordPress plug-in will let publishers easily offer up content to Apple News. In most cases using it as simple as:

  • Install the Publish to Apple News plugin.
  • Upload the “apple-news” folder to the “./wp-content/plugins” directory on your server.
  • Activate the Publish to Apple News plugin in the “Plugins” menu.

To configure the plug-in:

  • First you must obtain and enter your Apple-supplied Apple News API credentials – select the Apple News documentation link at the top of the ‘API Settings’ subsection of Settings > Apple News and follow the steps there.
  • If and when Apple approves your content you must enter your private API Key, Secret, and Channel settings into the ‘Apple News API’ fields, though you must ensure you set this up in Settings>Apple News. Additional info here.

Can I preview content?

Yes, using the News Preview app in OS X. I imagine you’ll get an Apple News app on OS X in future on the basis of the existence of this software.

Can I make money?

Apple News publishers earn 100 percent of revenue made from ads they sell and 70 percent of revenue made when iAds sells ads on their behalf.

What kind of ads will the service serve?

Expect similar ads to any other online content service -- Apple is reportedly even preparing to offer new ads units that look like articles, calling these ‘sponsored content’ feeds. There are many other types of supported ad unit, including Standard Banner, Medium Rectangle Banner, Double Banner, Large Banner, Interstitial Banner, Pre-Roll Video and Native Banner, more info here.

What kind of analytics will I see?

Following an embarrassing start when it miscounted page impressions, Apple is ready to improve the content analytics it provides to Apple News publishers. Starting later this spring it will provide information on readership, duration and sharing statistics, including details on how reports are shared (email, IM, Facebook, Twitter). Apple News also integrates with ComScore. The new analytics dashboard will be made available in the next few weeks, in spring.

What makes Apple News different?

Human editors, not robots, mostly manage content recommendations in Apple News.

Further information

Explore these pages on the Apple developer’s site.

More questions?

Ask them in comments below and I’ll try to find answers for you.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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