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How to spark conversation in Substack Chat
Chat is a new way for Substack writers to host conversations with their subscribers. Readers and writers are using Chat in creative ways, like sharing photo introductions, live-blogging NFL games, and even creating shared Spotify playlists.
After announcing Chat to your readers, you’ll want to keep the conversation going with regular prompts. Just as no two communities are the same, there are endless, creative ways to use Chat. In the earliest days of Chat, here are five ways fellow writers sparked conversation that might inspire you as you get started.
Get to know your community
For your first chat thread, we recommend asking for introductions so that you and your subscribers can get to know each other. You can ask them to share photos, where they live, or about the common interest that brings your community together.
Ski expertasked the Storm Skiing community about their home mountain and skiing goals.
Movie criticasked The Reveal’s readers what movies they’d seen over the weekend.
Poetasked The Utter’s readers to introduce themselves, ’90s-chatroom style.
React to live events
We’ve seen many active chats cover live events—coming together to discuss and react to what’s going on in the world.
Politicos(chat) and (chat) hosted chats for the 2022 midterm election results as they came in, discussing and reacting live with their subscribers.
Sports writers(chat) and (chat) hosted chats to discuss Sunday football and the World Series, respectively.
Share a window into your life
Bring your subscribers behind the scenes. Share personal updates that build rapport and connection but might not warrant an emailed post. Chat provides a real-time space for subscribers to hang out.
Mental-health writermimics BeReal by sending the view from their window and asking subscribers to share their own.
Farmeruses Chat to share photos from life on the farm, from her fridge organization to her recent harvests.
Write with your readers
Readers make some of the best collaborators. As you research new topics and posts, turn to your readers for questions, insights, and inspiration.
Investigative journalistasks readers what questions they have on key political topics during New Zealand press conferences.
Writerasks her readers to help with research for an upcoming project.
Host an ongoing discussion
Some conversations take time to unfold. Writers host extended conversations about topics of shared interest that often stay active for days or weeks, almost like each thread is its own themed group chat.
TV guruhosts a chat about the new season of Love Is Blind. Her subscribers chime in with their opinions as the show progresses.
Gossip writerasked subscribers for their Kanye takes, and they continued to add thoughts as the news unfolded.
For more ideas on cultivating a community on Substack, visit:
Have you participated in any fun chats on Substack? Let us know in the comments!