Don’t trust Facebook for traffic — Create a newsletter!
This morning my Nuzzel feed was full of stories about Facebook’s latest announcement: Facebook is changing their newsfeed algorithm (again!) to focus on posts from friends and family rather than content from publishers and pages.
This news should not be a surprise to anyone familiar with Facebook’s history, but seems to be a shock to some in the media world, after Facebook courted publishers to participate in their Instant Articles system. Many publishers were willing to have their content subsumed into Facebook’s world in exchange for an expectation of significant continued free distribution.
History of Facebook changes
Facebook has a long history of changing the rules and tweaking their algorithms to suit their own priorities and clamp down on applications or publications that have grown fast via Facebook. These include apps from companies like BranchOut, Socialcam, and Zynga in 2012, or viral publishers like Upworthy in 2014. Facebook also partnered at one point with publishers like the Washington Post on their “Social Readers” that featured “frictionless sharing”, only to disable and eventually abandon these features.
Prior to this morning’s announcement, publishers were already seeing risk in their dependency of Facebook for distribution. According to a recent report covered in the Financial Times, media companies publishing to Facebook were reaching 42% fewer people in June 2016 compared to January 2016. The changes announced today will probably make this slide even worse.
Facebook is also currently prioritizing Live Video content in the News Feed, to compete with Periscope and Snapchat.
Email newsletters provide direct engagement
So if Facebook cannot be trusted for reliable distributions, and most Internet users are not active on Twitter, what is the answer? Many media companies have been turning to email newsletters.
Contrary to what some people think, email is far from “dead”. Reuters reports that American worker spend over 6 hours a day reading email, which is seven times what they spend on Facebook. Subscribing to an email newsletter does not require an app or a Twitter account, and a presence in a readers’ inbox is not something that is controlled or filtered by Facebook. This is why McKinsey reports that email newsletters receive 40x the engagement of Facebook or Twitter.
Email newsletters are the best way to build an audience you can reach consistently, and you can curate a newsletter using Nuzzel in only a few minutes per day.
Nuzzel’s network of newsletters – the easiest way to curate a newsletter
In May, Nuzzel launched the world’s first network of newsletters. This new platform allows brands or influencers to curate a daily email newsletter in only a few minutes per day. You can read more about Nuzzel’s curated newsletter platform in Fast Company, MediaShift, or Medium.
Imagine if the top 1 million brands and influencers on Twitter created Nuzzel newsletters, each with only 100 subscribers. (Or imagine 100,000 newsletter curators with 1000 subscribers each.) This could create an aggregated newsletter platform reaching 100 million inboxes each day. As desktop and search traffic decline, this newsletter network could be a massive-scale alternative to Facebook for delivering relevant content to a large audience.
The future of engagement
Helping people curate newsletters in only a few minutes per day is just the first step towards building the world’s first network of newsletters. This platform will also enable new network effects between newsletters, curators, and readers. Publishers are interested in increasing engagement between journalists or brands and their readers, and a newsletter can be a great platform for building this type of engagement. A consistent presence in a readers’ inbox, combined with interactivity features and the immediacy and intimacy of email are a great starting point for allowing and encouraging communication between readers of a newsletter and the newsletter creator or other readers.