What is Substack?
Substack provides publishing tools that allow writers to launch pay-to-read newsletters. It helps them build their own audience and publish content directly to subscribers they engage with on social media and email. In addition, Substack offers analytics, design, and subscription management tools.
Using the Substack platform, writers can collect payments from subscribers, track analytics, and design their newsletter’s payment page and email template. The platform also includes email-promotion tools to help writers grow their subscriber base.
Why Should You Use Substack?
Imagine if the internet was originally designed to send letters instead of digital objects. That’s what Substack is.
Substack is a platform for people to share writings with interested readers. It’s a place to post letters you’d like to send to your favorite authors. It’s a place for your favorite authors to post letters to their fans. This place is for sharing letters with devoted followers and eventual super fans, because of course the best way to support an artist’s career is to love them at the beginning of their career when no one else does.
Substack has also launched discussion threads – a feature through which creators can start Twitter-style conversations with their subscribers. Moreover, Substack for podcasts is a new tool that supports audio content and allows creators to record podcasts for better engagement.
You don’t have to care about algorithms, SEO practices, and rankings. Simply write whatever you feel like writing!
All in all, Substack is the simplest way to communicate with a single person or several thousand people at once. It’s a platform to publish the things you say and the things others say, and then get those things out to the people who need to see them.
How to Grow on Substack?
Create a Mail List to Build your Community
The first step to building your community is creating a mailing list. If you already have a subscriber base, you’re good to go. If you don’t, you should consider building your own mailing list on your website or writing a blog post about why you’d like to use Substack.
Target your Special Audience
An important part of building an audience is making sure that you’re writing to them. You can have the best writing on the internet, but if you’re not speaking to your specific niche or audience, it’s not going to matter.
Filter out your special audience and speak to them directly. If you write across a range of topics, consider creating separate letters for them to keep things cohesive. Use the second person pronouns when you write because you want your reader to feel like the content is written directly to them.
Post your URL on Multiple Platforms
Everyone knows the importance of creating quality content on any social media site. We aren’t going there. Let us discuss what to do after pressing the post button.
After you’ve published your stories or posts, you will receive a URL that looks like this- substack.stories.in/baeefb53-0aaf-11e7-9f7d-0e2e13c3bf18
This is what we call a Substack — a shortened version of your long URL.
Every time you post on social media, your Substack should be right there by your side. Post your Substack on your homepage, social media sites, company email signatures, and other platforms that allow posting URLs. This practice will boost organic traffic.
You can also upload a synopsis or screenshots of your post to attract a similar audience from other platforms. Hence, break down your content as Twitter threads or screencap takeaways for Instagram and Facebook.
Collaborate with Other Creators and Allow Guest Posting
The game of marketing is changing fast, and the best thing you can do right now is connect and engage with the people who are already interested in your work. To engage more people, you should collaborate with other creators who have a similar audience like yours. You should also allow guest posting and let people explore your account as per their requirements. Both guest posting and collaboration will help you grow your network on Substack.
Keep Your Content Free
Do not charge for your newsletters in the initial phase. Let your audience explore your content. After you have built your network, monetize a portion of your content and keep the rest free. This way you will have more subscribers.
Be Consistent with Publishing
You can send out one email a day or week—but you make sure that your audience gets something from you every time. (The best-case scenario is that they’re excited about whatever it is you’re sending them.) Ideally, all of these communication strategies will feed off each other. Be consistent, post regularly, and never stop giving your readers value. If they signed up for something valuable, they expect more in return.
A Quick Recap of the Techniques on How to Grow on Substack
- Be a great writer. Don’t worry about reaching the widest possible audience, instead, focus on your own preferences. Be as honest and realistic as possible.
- Link to other articles or newsletters that extend your point of view. If you need to quote, research, or support a claim with evidence, link to it or summarize it.
- No one likes to read block quotes, so don’t go overboard with them.
- Consider posting your Substack URL on other platforms to test the response and allow for comments from readers.
- Share your post with people in your network, even before it’s published. (It’s easier to promote something that already has some popularity.)
- Think about the title long before you write the first word of your newsletter.
- Keep experimenting – even if your first few newsletters aren’t super popular, don’t give up! Keep trying new tools, formats, and ideas and publishing regularly. The right idea will eventually resonate with readers and help you gain traction.
Authored by Aashna Chawla
Edited by Yara Fakhoury