Meta released Year-End Update on the Growth of Platform' s Newsletter 'Bulletin'
Meta has offered a year-end update on its Bulletin newsletter platform, which it first debuted in April as part of a commitment to help artists and subscribers engage more by leveraging the company's huge reach to scale newsletter growth. While Meta hasn't yet established itself as a serious competitor to Substack and other newsletter providers, it has been steadily improving, and it could soon become a major consideration for writers in a variety of fields.
When Meta first started Bulletin, they started with a small group of people to figure out how to best support their work. Six months later, they've published over 115 articles on Bulletin, and they're inspired by the many ways this first group has connected with their audiences. This is the beginning of their overarching attempt to better connect consumers to material from a wider range of sources and experts.
According to Meta, more than half of the Bulletin producers now have more than 1,000 free email subscribers, with several having more than 5,000 or 10,000. This is reasonable - but you'd assume that for a network that links over 3 billion people, the growth rates would have tremendous potential for much greater reach than this. That's essentially the option's promise, and these figures also imply that around half of Bulletin writers have fewer than 1,000 subscribers. This isn't great, but it's still early in the game for this choice.
One of the most intriguing applications for the Bulletin platform is supporting local news and providing a platform for local news producers, many of whom have been shuttered or severely harmed by the COVID slump. If Bulletin can provide a more equal path for local journalists and updates, it might become an indispensable service for many users, and Meta does emphasize how local news organizations are using its array of interaction capabilities to maximize connection.
Experimenting with engagement tools on Facebook and Instagram has resulted in increased subscriber numbers and deeper reader relationships, especially in areas where there is a significant demand for relevant content. Every weekday, The Kerr County Lead, a local newspaper in Kerr County, Texas, presents Facebook Live videos to engage its local audience.
In August, Meta added 25 local news journalists to its roster of Bulletin writers, whom it will finance for the first year of their existence. Again, with so many local newsrooms having been forced to close in recent years, the platform might be a major hub for such if it can provide a realistic mechanism for local news writers to generate money from their work while also showcasing relevant news items to Facebook users via feeds. Which appears to be the most plausible avenue for Bulletin's expansion. Other newsletter platforms provide similar revenue and connection potential, but none have the reach of Facebook, especially when considering how The Social Network is used for local community groups and news debate.
Bulletin may essentially replace your local news publication, however, it still appears to be a long way off from becoming a large, functional aspect. So, where does the platform go from here? Meta said it will 'thoughtfully increase' the number of creators on Bulletin over the next year as it optimizes the experience in preparation for future expansion. From video-first and audio-first makers to long- and short-form writers, and more, this will cover a wide range of topics and types of content.
Meta is also bringing additional tools and third-party connections to provide more creative and research possibilities (including a data insights partnership with LexisNexis), as well as free educational opportunities for Bulletin authors to help them start their newsletter businesses. Tying your possibilities to Meta carries some risk, as Meta has previously changed the rules for creators and businesses, limiting their post reach and shifting their incentives based on its engagement focus at any given time. However, with Meta's networks' reach and connections opening up the huge possibility – if it can get the Bulletin product right – it might still be a feasible approach to creating a newsletter business.