About Instant Articles
Instant articles are the new-fangled way of creating quick, interactive stories on Facebook. It is basically a mobile publishing format which works 10 times faster than the traditional mobile web. It is an exclusive tool meant to allow news publishers to allocate articles to Facebook’s app. This means that whenever a reader is directed to the Facebook URL of the article on phone, it is shown as an Instant Article, identified by the lightning bolt icon. Several popular media brands like TechCrunch, BuzzFeed, Mashable, and many others are already using it on their sites are using it on their websites. In this post, we will discuss how to set up Instant Articles.
How does Instant Articles Work?
The Instant Articles are nothing but HTML documents optimized for faster mobile performance integrated with rich storytelling capabilities, customized visual display, and branded design. They use the technology of a standardized Markup language quite similar to XML for applying the styles and interactive functionality to its stories. Addition to this, publishers can apply this Mark-up automatically, to facilitate automated publication of entire content feeds at scale. However, it can also be applied manually to create customized stories that fully utilize the capabilities of Instant Articles and its built-in rich-media elements.
Things you’ll need for Setting up Instant Articles
Setting up Instant Articles is pretty simple and speedy at the same time. Here’s a pre-requisite for moving forward with the Articles –
- Blog or Website: Instant Articles require a web URL to work as these articles are linked from your website or blog and hosted on Facebook.
- Access to HTML code of your website: Access to specifically the <head> tag, is important as you’ll need to verify that you own it for connecting the sites to Instant Article.
- Your Publication’s Logo: Publishers need to have a high-resolution graphics logo file while setting up an instant article.
- Facebook Page: Owning a Facebook page will let you access all the tools required to set up and manage Instant Articles.
- Some Technical Know-How: You will require some technical skillset to set up these articles. Knowing third-party plugins, like Wordpress or Drupal can help you get through the whole thing quickly.
- Design: The style-editor tool is a relief when it comes to customizing the design of the articles to enhance the look and feel of your brand. Instant Article’s built-in layout and interactive features are add-ons!
- Pages Manager App: The Facebook mobile app assists in previewing the articles before launching them to the live mode. This helps the publishers in viewing exactly what the readers will experience.
- Sample Articles: The final requisite before going live is to make submissions of 5 articles for review by the Facebook team. It can be old as well as current articles. These articles don’t go live unless you choose to convert them later at any point.
Things you need to enable Facebook Instant Articles in WordPress?
The following are pre-requisites for getting started with Instant Articles in WordPress –
- Facebook page for your WordPress site.
- At least 10 or more articles on your website.
- Facebook page app).
- Instant Articles for WordPress plugin
How to Set-up Instant Articles?
Step 1: Signing up
Signing up is the first step to get started with the Facebook Instant Articles. Publishers can visit at instantarticles.fb.com to do the same. An existing Facebook Page and having the Admin or Editor role on the Page is a must.
Step 2: Choosing the Facebook Page
After signing up, publishers will get a chance to choose which Facebook page they will like to set up for.
Step 3: Provide your URL
After selecting the Facebook page, you will have to provide the URL you want to use for the Instant articles. This URL will serve as the basis for the URLs of all your posts. Mostly, it is going to be your blog URL. To claim your URL, you need to put a Meta tag to the HTML’s <head> tag and then place the URL in your settings.
Step 4: Creating articles
Facebook researched that publishers find it convenient to have a separate single tool allowing them to publish articles on the web, mobile apps, or any other platforms readers view their content. Such articles can now be published directly from their Content Management System. This means there’s no need to re-create articles on Facebook. Blogs can be synced with instant articles through publishing tools integrated with the following options –
1. Connecting with WordPress: With Facebook’s WordPress plugin, the entire process of producing Instant Articles is streamlined. This is likely to be the easiest and quickest way to get set up with Instant Articles.
2. Publishing tools: Besides WordPress Plug-ins, Facebook has also come up with several publishing platforms to create seamless integration with Instant Articles. The publishing tools include integrations with Drupal, Atavist, Perk Distributed, Medium, Steller, RebelMouse, Tempest, ShareThis, and Sovrn.
3. RSS Feed: For publishers who are not using WordPress or any other CMS backed by Facebook Publishing Tools, publishers can still connect the blog content to Facebook through an RSS feed. Moreover, it seamlessly integrates with Facebook. For enabling it, publishers must configure your content management system to generate a new RSS feed. For this, developer might be required to assist in the formatting of the feed.
4. API: With the help of API, you can directly create, update, publish as well as remove Instant Articles from the CMS. It also provides an excellent alternative to connect through RSS.
Step 5: Customizing Styling
Publishers get numerous options for personalizing the styling of Instant Articles while setting them up. This includes activities like uploading a logo and selecting types of fonts to be employed throughout the articles.
Step 6: Submission for Review
After going through the above steps, publishers need to submit their feed to be reviewed by the Facebook team for verification of the articles generated from your website. Facebook currently claims to re-evaluate all the submissions within 24-48 hours.
Overall, Facebook Instant Articles is a great way to go for if you want to create interactive reading experiences for your target audience. Although for any publishing platform, the worth of Facebook Instant Articles highly depends on your business model and objectives. Traffic from Facebook can indeed be one of your highest converting sources. And, now that you know how to set up instant articles on Facebook, give it a try!