The newsletter subscription world has a new player on the field: Facebook. The social media giant is reportedly working on a “self-publishing” platform, geared toward journalists and freelance writers, that resembles popular newsletter services that have recently grown in popularity.
What Is Facebook’s Newsletter Platform?
Still in development, the pending newsletter platform from Facebook will be a part of the Facebook Journalism Project, which “works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve.” According to The New York Times, the new product could include a myriad of features that are intended to positively impact writers, including the opportunity to expand their Facebook followings, build out email lists and capitalize on paid subscription features to create revenue opportunities through their distributed newsletters.
“We want to do more to support the independent journalists and experts who are building businesses and audiences online,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships. “We’re exploring ways to help them [journalists] benefit from the news products we’ve built, like Facebook News and subscriptions, while also building new tools to complement what journalists already find useful.”
Why Is Facebook Creating A Newsletter Platform?
Facebook is looking to capitalize on the surge in newsletter popularity, as the media industry continues to rebound from the significant impacts of the pandemic, which led to increased unemployment and diminished advertising revenue for many publications.
Many leaders in the newsletter subscription space have experienced continued success through their efforts to support independent writers. Substack (a platform for writers to send digital newsletters), for example, has welcomed more than 250,000 paying subscribers since its initial launch in 2017, according to Forbes contributor Falon Fatemi. The platform also reported that “readership and writership doubled during the first three months of the pandemic.” Plus, Twitter recently entered the newsletter ring, purchasing Revue, a platform which allows journalists to “write and publish their own editorial newsletters.”
“I think many people in the journalism world saw how quickly their business fortunes can change during COVID and decided they would rather run their own business as opposed to be dependent on another businesses' ebbs and flows,” said Alex Kantrowitz, author of the Big Technology newsletter on Substack.
Could The Growth Of Self-Publishing Platforms Hint At A New Era In Media?
The launch of new self-publishing platforms, like Facebook’s pending newsletter service, provides opportunities for journalists, publishers and larger social platforms looking to invest in this growing outreach trend. These newsletter services provide writers with complete control – both financially and creatively – to monetize their work, build their subscriber lists, collect direct profit and connect with audiences in authentic ways that foster trust among readers.
As more journalists gravitate toward subscription-based writing services, it is likely we will see social media companies jumping on the newsletter service bandwagon in order to differentiate themselves and improve their relationships with creators. By giving writers new outlets to connect with readers, social giants like Facebook can increase members and use time, creating a stronger brand presence by further cementing its position as a key place for the latest news and content.
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