We invited Noah Smith, who writes Noahpinion, to share insights on the key to growth: focusing on the free list and doing work that is sustainable
"Substack is bringing back the blogosphere" -- yes! This is the best part of it! (Well, maybe not the *best* part, but certainly pretty high up there.)
I love the advice to grow your free list -- I think it's so easy to get hyperfocused on paid subs, there's so much conversation about going paid, converting free to paid, etc., that one can forget the meat and potatoes, so to speak 😉
I agree that conversations in the comments are generally high quality on substack, as compared to what the norm is on twitter and facebook, and that it feels like there is a community of bloggers who actually read each others long form works and engage collaboratively with commentary.
Focusing on building the free subscriber list has been my approach, but I'm not always clear on how to do that. Noah, did you have a strategy for building up the free list? Apart from creating good content, of course.
Great advice on the free posts as a marketing strategy. Thanks for that!
I used to read Noah's blog back when blogs were big - but only when I remembered. Now it's frictionlessly delivered to my inbox. Am frankly impressed by his output, and a few of his recent pieces resonated especially with me:
https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/dont-panic-europe-will-deal-with (yes, this is true: we will deal with it).
I became a paid subscriber recently - and was happy to.
Great advice, and Noah is a GREAT one to follow. He really does somehow make complicated things seem super uncomplicated.
great read. Ty for bringing together your wisdom in one place so I too might learn and grow.
Noah Smith you are the best!
@noah, how did you start off with a couple thousand subscribers more or less instantly? Did you import a list from elsewhere? This seems to be a theme with other high subscriber count authors...
The requirement to be on other social media to grow is what killed SS for me. I came here precisely because I do not use social media at all. The world has became utterly dependent upon social media and I don't wish to live like that. I want my digital footprint to be as small as possible. Every one of these articles is always the same.....I use social media to get my subscribers. Yeah, no thanks.
So happy to have found you. I join mew Substacks slowly. Glad I did
Great insights, thank you.
Great advice. It’s interesting on going paid from day one.
This is not related directly to this author, but it is to growth. I just subscribed to his publication, and was reminded that you can share this publication as soon as you sign up, but the only place to share it to is Twitter. I’ve had a few subscribers mention to me that they would like to have other options. Any chance Substack will be adding more buttons to that page? (Facebook, Instagram, etc)
Noah deletes comments he doesn’t like. You’d think a PhD “expert” economist would be more confident in defending his bad takes, but alas.
Interesting! Thanks for the reminders. Always good to see how others do it.