To help organize the conversation, please use one of the following emojis when you start a new comment.

🧠 - when sharing strategy or advice for fellow writers

✏️ - when asking questions or seeking feedback from fellow writers

🟧 - when asking a question you hope the Substack team can help answer

Use your emoji keyboard or simply copy and paste the emoji at the beginning of your comment.

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🧠 Hello all, and happy Office Hours! Here's a little bit of encouragement from one small newsletter to all of you:

In life, there are hundreds of things standing in the way of being a creative person, especially a writer. Things that occupy our time, energy, resources, and mental health reserves, most of which we have no real control over. Believe me, I know how that feels, and I know how that goes!

You may not get to decide what the circumstances are around you, but you DO get to decide the amount of worth you place on them in your own life. And placing worth on your writing, your craft, is always going to benefit you, body and soul. You and your craft are worth the effort, the persistence, the drive, and the time. And the sooner you can claim that truth for yourself, the freer you will feel to step onto the path you're meant to take.

Most importantly: keep going, keep writing, and DON'T GIVE UP! 🌿

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🧠 A rare second post from S.E. Reid!

Creating community is about authenticity. If you're only in it for the clicks and engagement, your readers will know. Immediately.

Instead, be genuinely interested in them, what they have to say, and their experience on your newsletter. Think of them before you think of yourself. Authenticity builds trust, and you can't buy trust. It's priceless. 🌿

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🧠 By the way guys. Recently, two people responded to my welcome e-mail. They are the second and third person to ever do so, since I customized the contents. I can’t tell you in words how amazing it feels that someone reached out, someone who’s here for the sole reason of wanting to read what I write. The lesson here is that the welcome e-mail really does matter. People do read it, and sometimes they even respond. It’s an important tool, and it’s best you learn how to use it and customize it to reflect your values. Little tip: give people a little taste of your newsletter early on. I provide a few links to my best received pieces, as a sort of “best of” introduction. Cheers and I wish you a wondeful week!

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🟧 - Hello lovely Substack team, how do certain Substacks get chosen to be 'Featured Substacks'. I'd love to know what I need to work on to be in with a running going forwards...

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🧠 I just read James Clear's newsletter this morning and found a really great piece of advice. Prioritizing what is important and focusing on that. Hopefully this is helpful!

"Live the Pareto Principle lifestyle:

Relationships. Who are the few people that have the most positive impact on my life? Spend more time with them.

Priorities. What are the few actions that have the most positive impact on my day? Prioritize them.

Learning. What are the few information sources I learn the most from? Focus on them.

Stress. What are the few sources that cause most of the stress and friction in my life? Eliminate them."

-James Clear

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I'm pretty new to this enriching reader feedback dynamic. Even as a longtime editor, up until now, my work has never had a public-facing gathering spot. So I'm experimenting a lot with inviting people to join in.

The first thing I tried was creating discussion threads with open-ended invitations like "Ask-an-Editor" AMA. I heard from a few folks, but I think the "ask anything" dynamic kept a lot of people away or created some sort of paralysis around knowing WHAT to ask an editor.

Right now what I'm finding the most satisfying, encouraging experience with is publishing a piece on, say, a Tuesday and then inviting readers to a discussion thread based on that same theme on a Thursday or Friday. It seems to give space to two different kinds of readers:

- those who are ready to jump in right when they're finished reading (in this case, they jump into the comments section) and

- the other readers who need some simmering time (in this case, they join in with the discussion thread).

I'm certainly not hosting an Oprah-level number of readers here, but the quality of questions, answers and sharing is a gift I've never experienced before.

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Hello everyone, meeting other writers on substack has been one of the best things about starting my newsletter. I'm always open to featuring / collaborating with other writers on here to build both our communities, so if anyone writes about art, design & travel hit me up! Would love to see how we could work together xx

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🧠- the best way to build community is to provide a place for your readers to meet. Seems silly to say, but it’s true.

In my case, we kick off every week with a Discussion thread about what we’ve all been listening to.

I hesitated to do this for quite awhile, as I was worried no one would show up. Hosting a party no one comes to us nightmare fuel for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong- lots of people contribute and share what music they’ve been playing- not just with me, but with each other. It’s been awesome to watch grow every week.

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🧠 my recent post was based off of original survey, conducted with the help of some other people in the outdoor space. The survey drove a lot of subscriptions from curious people, wanting to see the resulting conclusions.

I think it did pretty well, and I may try something similar again.

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✏️ Does anyone have suggestions on what to put in one's about/why subscribe pages? My content is pretty straightforward, but I wonder if I ought to elaborate more.

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✏️ Hi everyone, I just launched my first Substack newsletter focused on systems and systems science a few weeks ago.

It seems like a good chunk of my current readership, people who have subscribed, care about this topic, and happily correspond with me about my posts over email, tend to not be very active on Substack.

Have any of you had success with convincing people to use Substack more often and participate via comments/chat?

Also, is there anyone else out there who has an interest in systems? Would love to find some potential collaborators!

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🧠 Remember - We Set the Tone for Our Communities.

Substack is a framework, and it provides some useful tools, but creating an engaged, welcoming community is down to our own leadership and collaboration. Creating connection with people comes from sharing your values in an authentic way.

Don't be afraid of your unique voice and the value it provides to others. We're all looking for recognition and reflection, so setting a tone, honestly, and approach in your writing, newsletters, and community is an incredibly powerful way to build mutually beneficial relationships.

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✏️ What do you do when you’re in a writer’s block?

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🟧 Just curious, how do lesser-known Substackers land on "Substack Reads"?

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Question about the "dance" and etiquette among writers. To me, the great joy of Substack is when two writers connect and they both genuinely esteem each other for his or her work. It's magic. My question is what to do when one writer isn't that into the other? What's the etiquette? And when one writer subscribes (for free) and the other doesn't, how do we know if the other writer looked and wasn't interested or is waiting to see how interested we are first, or is just a narcissist who doesn't care what any other writer on Substack is doing?

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🟧 One of my subscribers complained that she stopped receiving my emails after she downloaded the Substack app, and the same thing happened to me after I started using it. My two cents: The default notifications setting for new app users should be “in email and app.” They should have to actively choose to not get emails or not get push notifications.

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🟧 - Will we again get a Dark Mode for substack? Helps me with the late night writing a lot.



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✏️ Interested to hear what has worked best for other writers. I get a lot of direct messages and likes, but would like to engage more, especially with notes.

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🧠 Right now (at 3mo on Substack) reciprocity and allowing time for growth is important to me. It’s straddling a fine line (this is literally what I just posted today) between writing what interests you and what interests your readers most. Engagement is a great way to measure interest but also understanding, this early in the game, that not everything you write may resonate with your new audience. They too are getting to know you! 😀

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Honest musing of the moment: The more I dabble in Notes, the more overwhelmed I get by what seems like the ceaseless energy of the handful of regular posters I seem to get fed relentlessly. And then I wonder if I post on Notes, will someone see me relentlessly - apparently not because no one notices. And it's just a spiral of comparison that seems to come down to numbers and how the system works better for the bigger, and I don't like feeling unheard, so I just kind of lurk a little and then stomp off to my corner. I imagine I'll be happier here when I can get in and out with intention - whatever that may be. Not overstay and become scrolling numb, but have an idea, post it, respond to some posts that strike me and GET OUT. Like originally I thought it would be a great idea to pose questions here that could be used as good crowdsourcing research for future topics of interest I want to write about. But because of the above problem of not getting noticed as a smaller Substacker, no one really responds and that's not proving a good use of my time.

I guess if there's any question in this - it's one of balance on a bigger scale beyond just the stickywicket of notes. How do people juggle the writing itself with the promo/social part that may not come as easy to many of us (we're writers!). And bigger perspective still, does anyone like me struggle in the reality of the whole enterprise of living online in a computer - this has been a constant war within myself all of my adult life. I want to be outside building something but my art form/any job I have requires stationary computer work.

Maybe it's just a nice day out there today and I'm here feeling distracted ;)

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Hi Katie! 🟧 And hello fellow writers! I’m working on finding my “niche” in order to find writers to connect with and cross-promote.

✏️ What does the phrase “emotional and literal landscapes”--how I currently describe my newsletter--evoke for you?

Thanks in advance for feedback 🤗

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I beseech Substack personnel to assist me with these issues:

1) Where and how can I find all the notes that I have posted (whether intentionally or by mistake).

I have clicked on the three horizontal lines on the top, right corner of the screen, was referred to a menu which included “notes,” clicked on notes and saw a vast selection of notes written by many different persons. I am interested in what other people have written. But first I need to see what has been published, under notes, under my name.

2) How can I alert my subscribers to the publication of my notes. I saw this information in your “help” section:

“We'll send your subscribers a one-time push notification when you publish your first note. We may also send them push notifications for notes they haven’t seen but push notifications won't be sent for every note you publish.”

You seem to indicate that you will send subscribers a notice when the 1st note is published and sometimes after that.

Is there any way I can post a note and ensure that all of my subscribers will be alerted to its publication.

3) I would like to browse other peoples’ notes. Can I browse by subject matter. Can I go to an index and type politics or literature in the search field and then see notes on these topics.

I look forward to your expeditious and hopefully clear and comprehensive reply. I apologize for posing so many questions

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Hi y'all! Grateful to be feeling a sense of community reading these comments. 2 quick questions:

✏️#1. For many of my subscribers, my posts get buried in their Promotions tab. Is there any way to remedy this besides having them add my Substack email address to their contacts?

✏️#2. I get a lot of texts and direct emails back after posting, but I want the discussion to live publicly in the comments! What are some ways you guys have made it feel normal and psychologically safe for people to comment on your posts?

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🟧 ✏️I love the way Substack is envisioning the writer + reader environment as a space that is free from some of the more debilitating parts of social media, such as likes, dislikes, trolling, etc. and supporting our creative spirit as artists! My issue is: Given this, why does Substack consistently list our "most popular" posts as the ones with the most likes, ignoring other metrics such as shares (or subscriptions, or comments)? My intention is to focus much less on "likes" and more on my community, and on writing that has more truth (and maybe bite) than FB, Instagram, or Twitter allows. I think the metrics could be more supportive here if tweaked a bit, but am curious as to why they're this way. Thanks!

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✏️ Has anyone found any valuable third-party avenues that have helped to grow an audience/community?

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I've been in the other thread, and it's tumbleweed

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Is there any more work being done on themes? For example Bari Weiss has a modified ghost theme for thefp.com that lots of us would love to have the option of! Is there any kind of ETA on when we can expect something like that?

That's my top feature for substack at the moment. The ability to differentiate my publication from others visually with more options than there are currently. Thanks!

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✏️ Not a question but really just dropping by to say hello! I saw that today's writer office hours is about creating community. 🤍 I write themed letters about the complexities and sensitivities of living. If you believe we share the same niche, please let me know! Hope you all have a sweet day and more connection to readers and writers out there!

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✏️ curious how those of you who have been here on Substack a while feel about the influx of new folks? I am relatively new here and I am absolutely loving the connection and community. It feels like my old days of pen pals and zines, the early days of blogs when conversations in the comments were the whole point ...

I am loving it and also confess that I feel some small vulnerability being new. I think it’s some old knee jerk reaction to wanting to be one of the cool kids who knew about things before they were cool (see: zines 🤣). I feel late to the table here and find myself constantly wanting to justify and share all the writing I’ve done before on other platforms and ... blah blah blah.

It’s a small feeling that I am just noticing. It is eased by the warmth of people here and the true sense of community.

Was just curious ...

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✏️ Hi All - I've been writing Nominal News for 6 months, where I bring to the readers the economic and social analysis tools from academia to tackle many of the current pressing issues. I have two questions:

1. As I have not been getting as much interaction from my readers although I know a few readers definitely enjoy my content, I am wondering if you have any advice on how to get readers to interact?

2. Slightly differently - I have noticed that some substack writers, especially bigger ones, sometimes talk about things less related to the main idea behind their publication. Do you think having a separate section on your site for more personal things (for example, I was considering listing out my favorite coffee roasters that I have discovered so far) is something helpful or detracts from the main aim of the publication?

All insights appreciated! Thanks!

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✏️ what sort of cadence is working well for people and are certain days/times getting more readership?

I’m currently posting once a week. I started off on a Friday lunchtime (UK) and switched to a Thursday for the past two weeks.

Not sure if that’s made any difference but would be good to get some thoughts.

Feel free to check out my Stack if you’re into productivity, web development and generally being a good human 😀

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🧠 This may be obvious, but using the search feature on Substack to discover writers in my communities was a game-changer for me. I initially didn't know how to find other LGBTQ+ writers, other martial artists, people who write about neurodivergence and the topics I care about. Then I searched for these keywords and found lots of great writers I could connect with.

People may also be searching for you using keywords. Consider what you put in your About page and in your posts: if I want to be found as an LGBT writer, for example, "LGBT" should be in my descriptions. Same for "freelance," "small business," "creative nonfiction" ... think about how you would search for someone else like you and make sure you have those keywords in your own publication.

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Hello everyone! I write a Substack called System Changers which is about growth and personal transformation for people who lead systemic change. I share resources, tools and opportunities for system changers, and I also interview system changers about their work and their approach to growth. I really love it and I'm looking forward to investing more time and energy here this year. I spend the majority of my time coaching system changers 1:1 and I write this on the side.

✏️ With people leading systemic change in human rights, venture capital, environmentalism, education, psychotherapy, healthcare, media, politics, art, farming, finance, housing and philanthropy and so much more, my Substack is shaping up to be an incredibly diverse community, packed full of opportunities to connect and collaborate with others. I'm at the beginning of turning a fairly one-way channel into more of a conversation and I'm nervous about attempts to get this going falling flat. Any tips for getting going?

🧠 - Something I did recently was create an "Introductions" discussion thread and pin it to my homepage. It's evergreen content that people can add to whenever they discover my publication and want to introduce themselves. It got some engagement going between readers and gave me some really great ideas for future themes and features.

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🧠 I find recording voice overs is an amazing way to do a final edit. I find so many little things that I fix as I go. Anyone else do this?

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✏️ I'm not American - and I have a question about culture.

When less than 15 readers gave my first articles a like I assumed they didn't like my writings.

But I have had more than 300 visits on every article - and still less than 15 likes.

Is it a culture 'thing' - I wonder - not hitting the like button?

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🧠 One of my primary goals for Heartbeats is to build community. I named my newsletter after reading an article that showed people's heart rates will begin to synchronize when they are actively listening to a story. What a cool way to create more harmony in the world, through the power of storytelling (and listening).

Here are some ways I'm actively hoping to create community.

1) Sharing a monthly art share from artists of all backgrounds, in all stages. You can check out my first one here! https://thebarefootbeat.substack.com/p/may-community-art-share

2) Hosting virtual new moon circles to connect other creatives to each other.

3) Interviewing artists from all walks of life to share about their unique path and inspire others (leave a comment if you'd like to be considered for an interview and I'll follow up! You can read my first interview here: https://thebarefootbeat.substack.com/p/pathfinders-diving-deep-to-resurface

I'd love to hear others' ideas and if anything resonates with you!

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✏️ - Hey everyone, I’ve been on Substack for about 6 weeks now and I have two questions for anyone willing to help...

1) I don’t have a ‘niche’ or ‘topic’ I write towards as I like to write about many different things. I guess my writing leans towards exploring ideas and aspects of philosophy, but I also like writing funny short stories. And so my question is - do other writers think my ill-defined niche will impede my growth on Substack?

2) What are other writers practical steps for reaching a larger audience/connecting with more readers?

All advice is greatly appreciated.

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🟧 platforming is defined as 'using resources to make some accounts more visible/relevant/important than others, whether those resources are financial, time, or with algorithms.' How does Substack decide what authors to platform?

Edit: here is an example (nothing against the authors, of course). https://substack.com/profile/81309935-substack/note/c-16525729

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It's helpful to have this forum. I'm new today. Hello everyone.

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🟧 Q2. I find the multiple threads within two main community threads in Office Hours somewhat overwhelming, especially keeping up for real time involvement. Things get lost easily too. Threads also seem to kick off 1/2 an hour to an hour before the scheduled Office Hours time. I also back the video idea, perhaps based on prior (or real time) ranked questions and key themes raised in preparation. Even if only once a month.

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🟧 Speaking of creating community, I have such a hard time navigating these weekly Office Hours threads. I’m using the browser on my phone (because that’s where the email link opens up), and I find that it jumps around every time someone new posts, and I lose the post I was reading or replying to, then have to rescroll through hundreds of comments to find it again. Can you fix that please?

Also, if office hours starts at a scheduled time, why is it that when I log on at that time there are already hundreds of comments and mine will be buried with no chance to be seen?

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I am so new to Substack, and have not been writing copy for years but I am now retired and hoping to develop a following for my articles.

So far, I am my only follower and although I post to Twitter with links to my Substack, I am still having problems finding any readers.

I know I am not a great writer but I believe that I am average at least so my question is: What am I doing wrong?

Thank you for your time!

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✏🟧 Who has successfully used interviewing as a way to add interest and grow your subscribers? Would you mind sharing your ideas, successes, fails?

I've done some podcasting, but only using Substack's built-in feature, which only allows for one person. I'd like to try interviewing others.

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🟧 Audio/podcast question: I launched my newsletter and started by loading audio into the podcast option. But the content of that audio is essentially the first official post, though I added a few words at the end. Then I learned about Article Voiceover and for my second post I used that. Lo and behold it showed up as the second audio in my podcast feed. What is the better experience for listeners and recommended best practice. I don't want a widely distributed podcast...just a private feed for subscribers. Should I continue with loading them as Article Voiceovers, switch to loading them as audio to the podcasts, load them both places as a redundancy, or something else? (I'm thinking I shouldn't load both places because then the same audio would appear twice in podcast feeds.)

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Just started my substack, learning how to tame this beast ya'feel me. HAHAHA

But already super stoked that for the first time I'm seeing some silver lining in posting a ton of random answers on Quora, 'cause if I pull this off I'll be making a living off of the substack in a matter of months— So yah boyee, super stoked! HAHAHA

So, let me give you guys a tip for getting some traffic going.

Quora is a great tool to generate "high quality" traffic to your substack, I have ~15k followers there, started driving traffic to my substack this month, and the results were pretty good for my standards— ~400 signed up which ~10% upgraded.

I said high quality 'cause the cool thing about Quora is the dynamic of addressing a question from someone, if you bring value to the person asking, more often than not they become a "real member" of the community, interating with the posts, generating discussions, and potentially becoming a patron/fan/subscriber/customer/whatever.

I've saw a lot of great advice in this thread, to me the most important one is BE AUTHENTIC.

People can smell bullshit from a mile away— in particular interesting, intelligent people, that could potentially support you— so don't understimate your audience too.

I guess that's it, BANG IRON!



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At the outset, I must apologize if my questions seem sarcastic or caustic or rude.

1) I am following the directive of "Katie" of substack to the effect that comments be prefaced with an orange, square graphic to denote that my question is DIRECTED TO THE SUBSTACK TEAM. About 30 to 40 minutes ago, I posted questions regarding NOTES. I have gotten responses from substack writers. However, I specifically asked for counsel from the substack team. My fellow writers mean well. However, my fellow writers did not develope your platform; substack did. I implore and beseech substack personnel to respond to my queries regarding NOTES.

2) Roughly 48 hours ago, I posted an addition to my newsletter, A message, posted under the alarm bell icon, says that 3 readers liked my post. However, the post itself understates the posts popularity and says that 2 readers liked the post. Why the discrepancy,

3) How can I determine how many people viewed a given note I wrote

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🧠 I write about complex family-building journeys (biological or chosen family) and had good (for me) engagement results with a recent post on Mother’s Day that I’m happy to share.


For this, I used an interviewee’s line about “the right thing to do/say” to people after pregnancy loss as a jumping off point for inviting comments about the right thing to do/say for these same folks (and others).

I made a series of Instagram posts and stories that my interviewee also shared, and we got a lot of responses. Then I compiled the results in the post above. It was so fun. I also restocked it alongside other people’s “F Mother’s Day “ posts and had great conversations after the fact.

I do wish more of my readers were “Substack people” who comment on posts directly vs emailing me or DM-ing me about what I write. I think they often don’t comment or bite on thread invites because they’re not tech savvy enough or just have “not another app” fatigue. But others here have helped me reframe that today — by pointing out that engagement is engagement, even if it happens off-Substack. Connection and community = what I’m here for, and it feels like I’m getting incrementally more of that, that more I initiate good connection with others.

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✏️- About to launch my first blog and I was wondering what steps should I do to attract readers from the beginning?

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