Nuzzel is expanding its social reading service with a newsletter platform that automatically collects five of the most popular articles in a user’s network, allows that user to write a short message to their subscribers, and sends out the whole thing in an email delivered to subscribers’ inboxes each morning.
The newsletter platform is a bit of a departure from Nuzzel’s existing service, which combs through a user’s social feeds and presents the articles their friends have shared to Facebook or Twitter without requiring them to scroll past baby pictures. (It’s basically the “discover” tool Twitter should’ve built.) Today’s announcement also comes shortly after the debut of Twitter’s Moments feature, which is the social networks answer to news aggregation — something many think Nuzzel has done much better.
“Our newsletter platform is a natural extension of technology we have already built in our app and website, but […] we are expanding beyond a personal consumption experience to also being a platform where people can share stuff,” Nuzzel chief executive Jonathan Abrams says. “This is good for spreading the word about Nuzzel, but it’s also pretty logical for a service that is completely based on social-based news discovery to have more social features.”
Newsletters have enjoyed quite the rise over the last few years. Publications use them to present the news to readers in easy-to-digest formats, writers send them to promote their work and stay in touch with their audience, and services like MailChimp’s TinyLetter exist to make sending a newsletter pretty simple. So, where is Nuzzel’s new platform supposed to fit into this trending category?
“[W]e believe that +90 percent of influencers don’t have their own newsletter, because getting up at 5 a.m. and editing it manually every morning is way too much work,” Abrams says. “So, by offering an automated approach to generating a relevant newsletter, we think this enables a whole group of influencers to have a newsletter who might not have had one otherwise”
The struggle will be in finding the balance between automating the process to make it easier for people to share articles that (supposedly) interest them, as well as giving users enough control over the email to make them feel personal. Nuzzel is trying to find the right balance by using its curation tools, while also giving its users the ability to write short introductions for their morning newsletters.
This will make things easy for people who are interesting in jumping aboard the newsletter bandwagon, but hesitate to do so without a little assistance. (A technological springboard, perhaps.) It could also get Nuzzel in front of people who would never use its service otherwise. And given that the company is a venture-backed startup that just raised more funding, that’s not a bad thing.
“Our apps are great, but there are probably hundreds of millions of people who would subscribe to an email newsletter but not install an app or have a Twitter account,” Abrams says. He adds that getting a newsletter ostensibly curated by a friend is more personal than getting “a news digest from a newspaper or from Yahoo or Google,” at least from Nuzzel’s admittedly-biased perspective.
It’s a win for Nuzzel either way. It doesn’t matter if someone likes the newsletters if they decide they like a curated reading experience and sign up for the main service, nor does it matter if they like the main service so long as they like receiving the newsletters. And if they like both? Well, that just makes them the kind of engaged user that social startups just love to hold on to.