Facebook unveiled Bulletin, a set of ‘publishing and subscription’ tools for independent writers in USA, on Tuesday. The company also revealed the first wave of writers on the new platform.
Bulletin is aimed at independent writers who want to build their own brand through writing and audio content, including live audio rooms. The company also claims that all the writers on the platform will have complete editorial independence.
There are third-party perks, legal resources, design support and financial assistance available on the platform. Facebook says that it’ll roll out new “investments, products and services aimed to support more independent writers and experts.”
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So what’s on offer?
The new platform enables writers to start their own publication and publish long-form articles. This involves each writer getting their own standalone website with the ability to customise the publication’s name, logo and colour palette.
There’s some customisation possible in the articles, and writers can use multimedia embeds and “other styling options”. Writers can also take advantage of Facebook Live or Live Audio Rooms to engage with their audience more.
The platform offers comment moderation, including the ability to control who can comment or turn off comments altogether. Writers on the platform can even make Facebook groups, either free or subscriber-only, to further their communities. They also have the ability to create exclusive subscriber-only content or host subscriber-only conversations in said rooms.
A sustainable business model?
Speaking of subscribers, the platform lets writers offer subscription-based services that include exclusive content, commenting abilities and exclusive Facebook groups. Subscription payments will be handled by Facebook Pay which allows subscribers to pay through either a credit/debit card or a Paypal account.
Facebook also claims that Bulletin writers will keep all of their subscription revenue for as long as they’re on the platform. They also have the ability to take their subscriber lists and content away with them if they leave.
Facebook is offering a multi-year licensing deal to give writers time to build a relationship with their readers to kick start things. They’ll also have access to analytical tools to help writers understand their audience and grow subscribers over time.
Finally, Bulletin content will be eligible for distribution in Facebook News and other discovery surfaces. The platform will also integrate with Facebook Pages to allow publishing across various formats. There are tools for podcast distribution and externally hosted podcasts, and additional audio features coming soon.
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