Substack’s most powerful feature is growth
Publish with us, get a world-class growth team
Substack makes money only when writers make money, which means we have a very strong incentive to help writers grow their revenue. Happily, we’re now in a position where Substack can drive growth for writers without them having to think about it (unless they choose to). Growth can happen magically in the background.
Today, the Substack network is driving more than 40 percent of all subscriptions across the platform, and 12 percent of paid subscriptions. That means you essentially get readers and money for free just by publishing on Substack.
This effect is coming from Substack network features, including Recommendations, our human-powered system that helps writers suggest other writers to their readers via the subscribe flow, on their homepages, and automated emails. (Read more about Recommendations.)
On top of this existing network effect, however, we’ll be driving further growth through an ever-improving list of features. None of them require the writer to be marketing savvy, and none rely on clickbait or salacious packaging. We have a team of world-class engineers, designers, and data scientists working on these efforts day in and day out, laser-focused on helping writers grow.
Here are some examples of new and recent efforts to fuel growth for writers:
We acquired Yem, a startup that helped newsletter writers grow their mailing lists and paid subscriber bases through smart email marketing. We’re building the magic of Yem into Substack.
Referrals. We recently launched a Substack-native version of referrals, through which paid subscribers can give their friends a one-month gift subscription to a publication they love. (Read more about Referrals.)
Post-page conversion experiments. Post pages are a huge source of traffic and are often an entry point for new readers. We’re testing different subscribe prompts to encourage new or casual readers to subscribe to your Substack, and seeing very promising early results.
We’ve also just launched an early beta of Substack Boost, our most energetic investment to date in helping writers accelerate their growth. To start, if a publication turns on Boost, we’ll use data to automatically show discounts and special offers to readers at appropriate moments to maximize revenue. (For example, we may extend a discount to a reader when they are deciding to cancel a paid subscription.) We expect the details of Boost to evolve over time, but to always be aimed at helping writers grow their audiences and earnings.
In all these cases, the writer is always in charge. If you don’t want the Substack system sending marketing emails on your behalf, you can opt out. If growing your mailing list isn’t a priority, you can turn these features off.
But if you do want our benevolent robots to help you make money and grow your reach, then you can unleash them with the click of a button.
We’re excited about this work and continuing to explore ways to help writers thrive. Come grow with us.