The Facebook newsletter platform has arrived, and it’s called Bulletin.
Late last year, there were murmurs about Facebook having something in the works for content creators. Several months ago, Facebook confirmed it would start rolling out a new platform this summer to help writers monetize.
Now, we have the chance to get the first glances at Bulletin.
A (Sorta) Independent Facebook Newsletter Platform
Facebook refers to Bulletin as “a platform for independent writers.” It aims to allow content creators to “build sustainable independent businesses on their own terms.”
So, Facebook is going for “creator-first” branding with this venture.
All writers will have a standalone website bearing their brand, and each writer can add their chosen publication name, logo and color palette.
Users can customize their content with multimedia capabilities and different styling options. Plus, Mark Zuckerberg said writers will be able to complement their writing with podcasts and audio rooms.
Facebook also says it wants to enable content creators to “grow their audience in ways that are not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform.”
So, Bulletin lives in its own space on the web and readers won’t need a Facebook account to access free content.
Free Content & Subscriptions
Bulletin will offer free content and allow writers to create subscription-only content.
Currently, writers have the liberty to set their subscriptions rates, which are processed through Facebook Pay, and Facebook isn’t taking a cut.
Although Bulletin is sorta-kinda independent of Facebook, payment processing isn’t the only tool that will be shared across the platforms.
Subscribers will have the access to features, such as dedicated Facebook groups and special badges.
Writers’ sites will integrate with Facebook pages, and they’ll be able to distribute content through Facebook news.
Yes, it would have been too un-Facebook for Facebook to create an independent platform without some overlap.
But perhaps in this case it will work in writers’ favor, especially if they already have a large audience that’s familiar and comfortable with Facebook.
Bulletin is currently in beta and is closed to writers beyond the test group. But you can visit the platform to read and subscribe.
All writers on the platform were handpicked. And another unusual thing about this launch is Facebook didn’t limit the test group to popular creators.
“Some are up-and-coming writers looking to find and build their audience, while others have a long history of work and a sizable following,” its statement says.
The selection is supposed to cover a diverse range of topics, perspectives and disciplines. But with the exception of two international writers, the roster is stacked with US content creators.
Facebook is planning for Bulletin to get up-and-running “primarily” with US writers, but the platform will be available worldwide. And it will look at the possibility of adding other international creators after the beta.
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Feels Like You’ve Seen It
While this is the beginning, so far it looks like it’ll be on the writers to make Bulletin a game-changing destination. Clicking around doesn’t reveal reveal anything phenomenal about the platform.
It’s open, airy, and honestly, the design looks and feels very much like Substack, another newsletter service that allows writers to create subscriptions.
If you’re familiar with newsletter sites, and you visit Bulletin you’ll probably feel the same way. But we’ll see whether it evolves or gains traction.
For more background on Facebook’s announcement and decision to help writers monetize, catch this episode of the KnowGood Podcast…