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Seven reasons I'm betting on Substack for my writing business
Mastery Den, Tuesday Edition, 5-min read.
I've been slowly falling in love with Substack.
I have three Substack newsletters, and I will likely start a fourth one for my fiction. I know, I cray cray.
You are, of course, reading this on Substack.
But what is this Substack of which I speak, really?
Substack is a continually evolving platform, so it's not really any one thing, but to put it simply...
It is an email broadcasting tool that allows writers and creators to publish content to their email list while having their content be found on the application's website itself.
When an email is sent, your subscribers interact with you inside Substack.
Substack themselves define their platform this way:
Substack's simple system lets you publish to the web, email, and our app simultaneously so you can find new readers and always reach your existing audience.
Substack does lack some of the functionality, for now, of tools like ConvertKit, which allows you to automate email welcome sequences, for example.
I may combine the automation capabilities of ConvertKit with Substack as I go. For example, I want new subscribers to receive a five-day email series automatically that promotes some product of mine while introducing me more clearly.
This will require some clever finagling with a tool like Zapier. I could just join ConvertKit outright, but I just can't leave Substack.
Here are some more reasons for why I'm betting on it:
Superior multi-media functionality.
I love Substack's design interface and aesthetic, making all the emails I send appear beautiful and enjoyable to read.
This is important to me.
But Substack is also great for sharing forms of media beyond writing, like podcasts and videos.
They integrate nicely with the interface and the experience is seamless because it all happens within-app.
Paid feature for business.
A big selling point for me was the income-generation element through offering a paid membership option to a sub-section of your subscribers. This feature allows you to offer added value beyond newsletters to those who are willing to support you as an author and are happy to invest a bit more.
For example, I make several thousand a month by offering paying subscribers access to my courses and podcasts.
The paid element has a lot of potential in offering a fix for creators who struggle to monetise their creations.
I expect many creators to make all if not most of their income from Substack in the coming years.
Extended communication options.
I love how, besides sending email newsletters, you can start threads and chats and write notes too.
This adds some more variety in how you can interact with your subscribers and get your messages (and occasional promotions) in front of them in different ways.
I also love the ability to build community on Substack in ways few others can.
With most email broadcast tools, when you send an email, that's it. It lands in their inbox, and the best they can do to interact with the content is to reply directly to your email.
With Substack, users can share comments and contribute to the discussion beneath your posts. This builds connections not only with you but also among subscribers.
This is becoming a crucial component in building impactful brands.
Substack does a great job of responding quickly to the needs of its users and rolling out new products and features.
It seems like a new helpful feature - whether notes or rewarding referrals or podcasting - is introduced every few days.
This shows me Substack have their finger on the pulse of what their users are asking for, but also take action quickly to bring out new features.
Doesn't censor or cancel.
As a proponent of having the right to express oneself without censorship, I am encouraged by Substack's apparent stance on this.
From what I've seen and heard from the CEO and so on, Substack is keen to protect the freedom of speech of its users and takes a dim view of cancelling those for saying things that might offend some.
Not cow-towing to the political-correctness-obsessed mob is immensely important in the world of creative self-expression, where writers, creators and artists aren't afraid to say what they want.
It's healthy that even the worst views are exposed to light rather than stifled so its creators can stew.
If the reader doesn't like it - there's the unsubscribe button.
Recommendation feature and organic follows.
Because content is hosted on the Substack platform itself, making content accessible to all, your newsletter essentially becomes a 'searchable product.'
It's a product people can recommend to one another within the app ecosystem, opening you up to new subscribers who can choose to follow you.
This is how you can grow a subscribership rapidly without even having to promote your newsletter across the web (you still want to do this, however).
If you write good content, more people will want to recommend you.
They can do this either verbally or through the recommendations feature inside the app, which shows your newsletter product to other people's subscribers on the main content feed.
I have new subscribers I can count on two hands who join my newsletters each day that presumably came through recommendations or even organic searches within the app.
I love how, with each newsletter you send out, this will add to a growing stack of archiveable content that any of your subscribers can access over time.
This gives you a continually growing element to your product that you can view as an asset.
I make many of my past, archived posts accessible, but I lock others that only paying members can access, which adds more to the paid component of this business.
Also, posts are editable after you send them because they are hosted on Substack itself. If you make a typo, you can go back in and edit after you broadcast, which you can't do with most email broadcasting software.
This also allows you to go into a specific post, for example, and expand on it over time, which you can reshare later on.
You might have a piece of content, a collection of great writing ideas, for example, that you add to over time, from which paying subscribers can benefit.
This is all me thinking aloud, but you get the idea that Substack - with all its features - allows us to get creative and use it in smart ways that make for a happy user and a happy creator.
There's no right or wrong way to use Substack.
The possibilities are endless, which is why I love it.
Overall, two thumbs up for Substack. I like!
If you have any other thoughts on what's good (or bad) about Substack, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.
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