Meta provided an end-of-year update to its newsletter platform, which it first launched back in April as part of an effort to enable greater connectivity between creators and subscribers by using the company’s vast reach to increase newsletter growth.
And while it has yet to become a key competitor for Substack and other newsletter providers, Meta has made steady progress and could become a key player for writers in a variety of niches.
As Meta explains:
“When we launched the Bulletin, we started with a small group of voices to learn how to best support their work. Six months later, we have more than 115 publications on the Bulletin, and we are full of energy in all the ways this first group has established significant connections with its audience. This is the beginning of our overall effort to connect people in a more meaningful way with content from a wider range of sources and experts.”
As for the specifics of growth, Meta says so more than half of the creators on the Newsletter now have over 1,000 free email subscribers, ‘many of whom have more than 5,000 or 10,000’. Which is pretty solid – but again, for a platform that connects nearly 3 billion people, you’d think growth rates would have significant potential for far greater reach than this. This is essentially a promise of the option, and for comparison, these numbers would also indicate that about half of the authors of the Bulletin have less than 1k subscribers. Which isn’t unbelievable, but it’s still early for this option.
One of the most interesting cases of using the Bulletin platform is providing local news and providing outlets for local news providers, many of which have been shut down or otherwise significantly affected the reduction of COVID. If the Newsletter can provide a fairer path for local journalists and updates, it could make it an essential tool for many users, and Meta highlights ways local news providers use their set of engagement tools to increase connectivity.
“Experimenting with engagement tools on Facebook and Instagram has led to subscriber growth and deepening reader connections, especially in places where the appetite for relevant coverage is high. Kerr County Leader, local news in Kerr County, Texas, hosts Facebook Live videos every weekday to engage its local community of readers. ”
added Meta 25 local journalists in their barn of the writer’s Bulletinin August, when financed through the initial period of their establishment. And again, given that so many local newsrooms have been forced to close in recent years, there could be a great opportunity for the platform to become a key hub for such, if it can provide a sustainable path for local news writers to make money from their reporting. , and at the same time highlights relevant news for Facebook users in feeds.
Which seems to be the most feasible way to grow the Bulletin. Other newsletter platforms offer similar revenue and connectivity capacity, but no other platform has reach as much as Facebook, especially when considering the use of the Community Social Network and local news discussions.
The newsletter could essentially be a substitute for your local newspaper publication – although it still seems far from being a significant, sustainable element.
So what’s next for the platform? Meta says that during the next year ‘carefully increase the ‘number of creators on the Newsletter as it improves the experience before future expansion.
“This will include a range of different themes and types of content, from creators who are first and foremost focused on audio, to long and short format writers and more.”
Meta also adds new third-party tools and integrations to enable more creative and exploratory options (including a partnership with LexisNexis for data insight), while also providing free educational opportunities for Newsletter creators to help them build their own newsletter business.
Tying your options to Meta comes with a certain level of risk, with Meta in the past changing the rules about creators and companies to limit their reach and change their incentives based on their own focus of engagement at any given time. But it could still be a viable path to building a newsletter business, with the reach and connection provided by Meta Networks opening up a significant opportunity – if it can offer the Newsletter in the right way.
An overview of the Year-end Newsletter can be read here.
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