Facebook has made it clear in recent years that it is intent on fostering smaller, closer, and more focused relationships between creators and consumers rather than allowing big brands to take over the platform. Facebook’s newest evidence of this shift — which is especially impactful for freelancers and other writers — is Facebook Bulletin.
Because Facebook Bulletin is a new tool, many questions exist about it, including who has access and how it can be used. The purpose of this article is to let you know everything we know about Facebook Bulletin so you can start to make some educated decisions as you consider if this is going to be a tool for you. Let’s get to it. Here is what we know so far:
What is Facebook Bulletin?
Just because it has the name “Facebook” in it, don’t assume that Bulletin is like anything else you have seen on the platform. In fact, technically, Facebook Bulletin isn’t really a part of the Facebook app that you know and love (or hate) at all.
Facebook Bulletin is essentially a micro-blogging site that allows invited content creators to organize and maintain a presence in which they can create, distribute, and monetize their content without needing to run their own websites, create email lists, or understand how to do ad buying, etc. With Facebook Bulletin, Facebook takes the lead in helping with monetization and distribution. This means that content creators get to spend more time focusing on what they love most — creating content.Why Facebook Bulletin Might Be a Writer’s New Best Friend Click To Tweet
The types of content creators can develop through Bulletin varies. The written word is an extremely important aspect of Facebook Bulletin and all invited creators thus far have shown they have the chops to craft and fine-tune compelling written messages.
However, in addition to written content, Facebook Bulletin is also setting itself up as a compelling source for audio content. This includes allowing publishers to create content for Live Audio Rooms as well as podcasts. In essence, Facebook Bulletin is a place where thought leaders can let their words (both written and audible) be amplified in ways that allow for increased audiences that they may not have been able to reach otherwise.
In the first few months of its existence, Facebook has partnered with some known and some known creators to slowly build out the new tool. However, you don’t really “follow” or scroll through Facebook Bulletin content the same way you do on the Facebook app. Instead, Facebook Bulletin provides each creator with a standalone website that the content creator can customize with his or her own branding elements. As creators publish articles, they can include multiple multimedia elements —in addition to their written words. See this example from Amanda Stern and her “How to Live” newsletter.
As we mentioned above, Facebook offers many different distribution opportunities for creators who are invited to use Bulletin. Some of these distribution opportunities include:
- In a huge departure from what you might normally expect from Facebook, Bulletin offers a “subscribe” function that delivers new updates from the creators you subscribe to directly to your email inbox.
- Creators can distribute their Bulletin content through Facebook News to allow audiences to easily find it and subscribe.
- Facebook provides tools for the distribution of podcasts in addition to long-form writing. This includes podcasts that are hosted by third-party groups outside of Facebook itself.
- Bulletin works with Facebook pages so content can be pushed out through a traditional page as well.
- A Bulletin creator can create a Facebook group (free or subscription-based) that will allow him or her to connect on a deeper level with audiences. Even if a group is public, certain content in the group can be marked as “subscriber-only” to be monetized, if desired.
Who will benefit from Facebook Bulletin?
Currently, Facebook Bulletin is an invitation-only platform. This means that you, as a content creator, can’t just run out and sign up for Facebook Bulletin. In fact, you need to wait for Facebook to contact you to use the service. If you are an aspiring writer, that may sound discouraging, but don’t give up on your Facebook Bulletin dreams just yet.
Facebook is putting a lot of money, effort, time, and resources into making Bulletin an effective and sustainable tool for creators. While Bulletin started with established creators when it first launched in June 2021, it has already started to invite some local writers as well. Over time, we’d say there is a high probability Facebook rolls out Bulletin for many content creators.
Though you probably aren’t among the select few who can currently publish to Facebook Bulletin, the door is wide open for you to learn from some of the world’s great thinkers and content creators who are already creating and publishing content there. Dozens of creators have already joined Facebook Bulletin and Facebook has made a habit out of announcing a slew of new users each month.
A few of the top creators who are already using Facebook Bulletin from whom you can learn include:
- Malcolm Gladwell, Oh, MG
- Jessica Yellin, News Not Noise
- Jane Wells, Wells Street
- Antonio Mora, A View from the Center
- David Kerley, Full Throttle
- Mitch Albom, Life at the Orphanage
- Jeremy Faust, Inside Medicine
- Nedra Tawwab, Nedra Nuggets
In addition to these top creators, some of the local talent who Facebook has invited to join Bulletin includes Andrea Bruce, who focuses her content on Pamlico County, North Carolina; Charlene Rhinehart, who shares thoughts about Chicago’s south side; and Larry Hoffman, who highlights the restaurant and dining community in Sarasota, Florida.
When will Facebook Bulletin be rolled out more broadly?
This is an important question for content creators. If you are a micro-blogger or somebody who creates content on a smaller scale, chances are good that you probably have not received any sort of invite from Facebook to participate in creating contact for Facebook Bulletin. However, this does not mean that your day will never come. As is evidenced by the number of local content creators that have been added to Facebook Bulletin already, it seems likely that the long game for Facebook includes inviting participants who don’t have massive followings to also use the tool to build up their own networks and communities.
Having said that, there has been no indication from Facebook when — or even if, technically — smaller content creators will be invited to participate in developing content for Facebook Bulletin. However, if you look at general Facebook trends over the last couple of years, you will see that everything about Facebook is becoming more localized, more niche, and more focused on specific audiences to get individuals to connect with one another.
So, while there is no clear answer when Facebook Bulletin might become available for you as a freelancer or as a niche content creator, our suggestion to you is to continue to pay attention to what is happening there because your time probably will come soon. Paying attention now will allow you to have a better idea about how to use the platform when your opportunity comes later.It seems likely that the long game for Facebook Bulletin includes inviting participants who don't have massive followings to use the tool to build up their own networks and communities. Click To Tweet
Where will users be able to consume Facebook Bulletin content?
Like we stated earlier, Facebook Bulletin content will certainly be available on the Facebook platform itself. However, perhaps more than any other project into which that Facebook has ventured, Facebook Bulletin content will be available in many different places outside of the Facebook app.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this is found in the fact that Facebook is sponsoring personal sites for every contributor on Facebook Bulletin. Within the sites, users can customize and have full autonomy over the content that is created and published there. Because of this, it is entirely possible that a Facebook Bulletin creator could use the channel without using Facebook at all. Perhaps the opportunity for success would be diminished if a creator chooses this route, nonetheless, but the opportunity remains the same.
Perhaps the greatest opportunity for people to consume content and for creators to deliver their content is through the development of Facebook groups. Facebook has already said and shown that it is prioritizing the distribution of content through Facebook groups rather than through Facebook pages.
Similarly, Facebook groups cater to niche audiences. Because of this, Facebook Groups is the spot where monetization becomes a real opportunity for content creators — as they will have the opportunity to develop subscriber-only content that not all general users of Facebook can consume.
Additionally, Facebook will deliver updates of Facebook Bulletin content directly to the email inboxes of subscribers and followers. Again, this is where content creators will find additional value in having their own web presences as part of the Bulletin tool. Email distribution of the content is extremely valuable since email is perhaps the one platform that is even more ubiquitous than Facebook itself.
Why would I want to use Facebook Bulletin?
Our suggestion is that you take a close look at Facebook Bulletin and consume the content that is published by creators there. If you look at the big picture, it is entirely possible that Facebook Bulletin is a key indicator of where Facebook is headed for content creators.
We already know that your engagement on your Facebook page has dropped drastically over the course of the last two or three years. Facebook Bulletin gives you that opportunity to re-engage your followers — assuming that Facebook will give you the opportunity to be a content creator there. While you wait for that opportunity, you can learn from the work being done by so many other content creators who are essentially the guinea pigs for this project. As you observe and learn from the successes (and the missteps) of these creators, you will be in a prime spot to know how to use the tool effectively when your time comes.
In addition to this, the best content creators are also insatiable content consumers. Facebook Bulletin already has some excellent content. Facebook chose the creators who are there because they know how to write and how to connect with their audiences. Even if you never use Facebook Bulletin as a creator, as a consumer you will have many opportunities to learn from some of the best content creators around. These are individuals who know how to provoke emotions, prick hearts, and connect in ways that audiences appreciate. If nothing else, you can use Facebook Bulletin as a study guide for what some of the world’s best content creators do to connect with their audiences.