We invited Erik Hoel, who writes The Intrinsic Perspective, to share his insights on returning to topics with fresh takes and allowing room for interaction and speculation, to boost virality.
Erik is an example of how developing a great visual identity can make your publication stand out. How do you dream of leveling up your publication aesthetic?
Reply to this comment with and tell us about your dreams! Our services team will help three writers with design services.
Love the point about frequency. I think a lot of people worry about that too much. There's a Substack that only publishes a scant few times a year but that I always find valuable (Leah Sottile's newsletter The Truth Does Not Change According to Our Ability to Stomach It: https://leahsottile.substack.com) and I'm happy to pay for it no matter how infrequently it shows up. Whereas on Medium there are some high-profile writers who post 3 times a week whom I end up unfollowing because the majority of the posts don't have a lot to say.
Quality over quantity! This was a refreshing read. Thanks for sharing your experience Erik.
Alexander Naughton's illustrations for Erik Hoel's newsletter are actually one of the highlights of my inbox! They mesh perfectly with whatever Hoel is writing about, but they also stand on their own.
Appreciate the idea of “roomy” topics. As a food writer I am drawn to ideas that can be looked at in different ways, depending on who is doing the looking. And food gets a bit preachy. I was trying to be honest and open, but now you’re telling me it’s good business practice, too!
I've unsubbed from a few stacks already because I get 3-4 posts from them a week. It's exhausting. I appreciate people/ writers who cultivate their work rather than manufacture it.
“The subject has to be “roomy” enough for multiple opinions.” --- This was my biggest takeaway from the wisdom and perspectives you shared. Just like sweet honey nectar. Yes, Yes, YES, people want to engage and share their thoughts and opinions. Now for the face slap -- I need to improve what I’m doing on this front.
That was a great post, Erik. As many people said already, I love the point on frequency too! I was just wondering: how many twitter followers did you have at the time of starting your substack? Did you notice any growth there too? Also, what did you leverage at the beginning - how did the initial growth happen for you?
Thanks Erik for this wonderful piece.
It was really inspiring to read especially as a science writer and video creator. I think content creation was really leaning towards quantity over quality towards the end of the last decade, but the tide seems to have shifted now and I believe readers have become more discernible about the content they consume online.
Do you have any tips regarding productivity and managing multiple projects at the same time?
Moreover, you mentioned experimenting with different writing styles. As online writers, we often here that’s it’s best to write clearly and in short sentences to engage the most readers.
Do you feel that is true? I’d love to hear your opinion on those two matters and thanks again for the piece and great content :)
I would love Substack assistance on how to make my page look less blog-like and more like a professional website. I strive for the focus of my subscribers to be on my writing, Morning After Thoughts, but also incorporating visuals for the personal pictures I post to pop! Thank you for all you do!
I literally taught myself Photoshop just so that I wouldn't have to use "Smiling Girl Holding Coffee Mug Free Stock Photo" like every side-hustler out there with an internet bill and a Pixabay bookmark.
So yeah let's normalize visual identity. I'm in love with The Intrinsic Perspective's art. I love Substack's color palette as well. This is a bit like food—it can't taste too bad if it looks this good.
I saw a few comments mentioning there were people who would like to work with illustrators but didn't know how to connect with them so I just wanted to mention that I am one and I'm open for commissions! Other places you can find illustrators are places like the Directory of Illustration https://www.directoryofillustration.com, AOI Folios https://theaoi.com/folios/ and illustration agencies.
I would love to have a visual identity that reflects the complexity of the subject I write about, the Future of Belonging. People are such weird, contradictory, diverse, multi-faceted individuals. I wish I had the visuals to bring both the beauty and the horror to life and invite people to share and dialogue. I find myself drawn to digital collages as a visual language to communicate these ideas but have no idea how to connect with illustrators.
Gosh, I sure would love some help with visual identity! My Substack includes multiple sections, a podcast, and a memoir-in-progress. Despite having a logo and an established brand, I’m still feeling aesthetically scattered on the platform. Thanks for considering me as a possible test case. https://Christinewolf.Substack.com
Aah very nice to see, Erik deserves this so much!
I like the idea of creating content slow but of higher quality. That is a niche for Creators themselves to further consider.
This especially makes sense for cross-disciplinary topics, that are more complex.
I'm going to add this Newsletter for sure into the list I'm building here: https://aisupremacy.substack.com/p/top-substack-newsletters-in-2022
I wonder what accounts for the huge spike of traffic in the last couple of weeks on the visual?