Editor’s Note: This is the first story in a three-part series highlighting new approaches for bloggers to distribute their content in mobile-friendly ways to reach more readers.
Last Fall, Apple launched the Apple News app along with the release of iOS 9, the latest version of its mobile operating system.
U.S. iPhone users are the initial beneficiary of the new app, which was automatically downloaded onto their device, and cannot be deleted.
[iPhone users outside the U.S. can still check out the Apple News app using the steps outlined here.]
The app allows users to create a custom content feed from media publishers like The New York Times, National Geographic, Vice, and Wired.
But the app isn’t limited to major media outlets. Bloggers, being publishers, can also submit their RSS feeds to be included in Apple News.
The only thing you’ll need to sign up is an Apple ID.
If you’re an Android user, having never used Apple, then you may want to consider asking a friend for help. This is one of those “set it and forget it” situations, so it shouldn’t pose a burden to your friend beyond the initial setup (which only takes 10 minutes).
How to Submit Your Blog’s RSS Feed to Apple News
1. Go to the News Publisher page on iCloud.com.
2. Click “Continue” and sign in with the Apple ID.
3. Fill in publisher information.
Include the publisher name, contact name, title, phone number, and address.
If you have a company set up for your blog, use that name. Otherwise, your name or the name of the blog should suffice.
4. Create a channel.
Include the channel name (your blog’s name), contact person, email, phone number, website address, primary audience, and language. The channel name should be the name of your blog.
If you have multiple blogs, you can create a new channel for each by repeating these steps.
5. Upload your logo.
If your logo meets the guidelines, go ahead and upload it. If not, you can come back to this at a later time.
The default appearance of your blog’s name will be in grey lettering. Perfectly fine. However, you’ll create more brand awareness if you can present your custom logo.
6. Select “I’d rather use RSS for now.”
The Apple News Format requires technical know-how most bloggers won’t have, nor would it be worth their time (see below for the WordPress plugin which will eventually allow us to take advantage of Apple News Format).
7. Add your RSS feed.
Note, if you have created multiple RSS feeds for your blog, such as by category, you can submit them individually.
Apple News will only accept an RSS feed that delivers full content, which is the better practice. In other words, you cannot participate if you only want to send a partial feed.
8. Accept the RSS Terms & Conditions.
9. Wait for a response.
In submitting the RSS feed for both Go Backpacking (click this link in iOS to add Go Backpacking to Apple News) and the Travel Blog Success blog (click this link in iOS to add the TBS blog), Apple sent news of acceptance within 24 hours.
10. Install PageFrog plugin.
If you’re running a WordPress blog, install the free PageFrog plugin which will soon enable bloggers to take advantage of the Apple News Format. From within WordPress, you can search the plugin repository for “PageFrog.”
This plugin will also be mentioned in the second and third parts of this series, which will focus on Facebook Instant Articles and Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative.
For further details on the Apple News App, check out Apple’s New Publishing Guide.