260 Comments

A few product tips and tricks I've learned:

- Stock photos and icons. There are tons of resources for free, copyright-friendly stock photos. I believe someone has mentioned https://www.pexels.com/, but there's also https://unsplash.com/. For simpler, more abstract concepts, I love https://thenounproject.com/.

- Whitespace. Sometimes I really want to add extra whitespace to a post (like, say, when simulating a timeline: https://www.ignorance.ai/p/ai-legal-timeline) but by default the editor trims multiple lines of whitespace. You can use a "zero-width space" (https://zerowidthspace.me/) to force larger blocks of whitespace to display.

- Settings. Test your subscriber onboarding experience! I haven't turned on paid subscriptions on purpose, but I didn't realize that Substack was still prompting new subscribers to pledge a future dollar amount before subscribing (which I then disabled). It might have just been me, but it was a reminder to make sure you know what your readers are seeing when they sign up.

- Videos. Video content is really engaging, but be careful with it! I've been burned a couple of times by videos that play correctly in the editor, but aren't playable for my audience. Unfortunately, I'd suggest uploading to YouTube and embedding the link rather than uploading directly.

I've got a few more tips, but this is turning into an essay!

Edit: Adding one from my reply to @Robert Urbaschek:

- Pages: You can create pages that aren't publicly visible on your homepage. I'm pretty sure they're meant for one-off informational sections, but you can use them to create unlisted copies of content.

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Would read that essay on your Substack, Charlie! Thanks for these great suggestions! Love the extra resources for stock images (I mostly use the Unsplash integration). And I LOVE the white space suggestion!

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Thanks so much for that "zero width" link! I've been trying out different ways to create whitespace and that could save me a lot of time.

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Zero width! Thank you. I had been wondering how writers got those lovely white spaces. As a reader, I personally need white space, so have always included it in my writing, yet had forgotten this bit of code. It's like a breath of fresh air between clusters of thoughts.

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Perhaps it's too early for me, but can you explain how I use this? Is there an example with and without it somewhere so I can see the effect it has?

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I can't get it to work either, Nathan

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These are very useful tips, Charlie. Thanks!

I learned about the default Nag-O-Gram for pledges that free subscribers are presented with early on when a friend signed up and told me about it. I turned it off immediately. The white space is something I will likely have occasion to use.

I think I read about the additional pages when I was first setting up my account, but had forgotten about them. This particular tip reminder comes at the perfect time for me. I will be using a separate page to tell my readers about discounts on my space-inspired artwork. Rather than cluttering up every one of my regular posts, I can simply point to it's unique URL from anywhere.

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Does anyone know of a place to get photos of books. Since my Substack covers fairly recent non-fiction works, I would like to embed a photo of the cover but short of taking my own photo, which doesn't look great if the cover is stained, I haven't come up with a good, easy solution.

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Goodreads? I've used that when linking to books previously. They usually have the various published versions of covers for a given book.

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Whitespace suggestion is great, thank you Charlie.

How do you turn off the future Pledge notification in the onboarding?

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If you haven't found it yet, it's under "Settings" > "Payments" > "Allow readers to pledge subscriptions"

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Thanks Charlie. I didn't get a chance to go take a look earlier but I've just gone there now to turn that off for now.

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Thanks for these great tips Charlie. I’m interested in using icons from The Noun Project. As a technological amateur, how do I insert the icon once saved so that it doesn’t appear as a picture rather than an icon?

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When you find an icon you like, you can download it as a PNG file (you'll need to create an account first). Once you do that, you can insert it into your post like a normal image. Hope this helps!

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Serious Question❗️🧐

I wonder if Substack has become large enough now to require the services of an independent ombudsman or public advocate/public editor who is focused specifically on *ethical issues* as well as reader and writer complaints with the aim of resolving problems that lead to poor service or poor user experience?

Even just a dedicated continuously open and accessible “Suggestion Box” page that maintains a history of complaints and suggestions as well as actual actionable responses from Substack leadership showing accountability, transparency, consideration of suggestions, thorough explanations for maintaining the status quo, or an agreement and time scale to change policy/product given the feedback received would go a long way toward building trust and confidence and improving the site. Periodic “Office Hours” where the majority of issues people bring up get no response at all or get a dismissive “thank you for your feedback” response is not harnessing the power of users to point out problems and solutions or gauge the level of friction these issues are causing.

But a dedicated “Suggestion Box” page that an ombudsman moderates and organizes/categorizes the issues for readability, and where only issues are discussed (and not side conversations between writers encouraging each other) that would allow polling, updates, an actual avenue to communicate with the decision makers, etc. would probably accelerate the fixing of sometimes minor problems that are causing some people major concerns.

Would love a response from Substack about this suggestion, and if there isn’t one, then I prove my point, and then one must wonder how committed or serious the site is in fixing problems efficiently and whether this lack of concern for users is detrimental to the sustainability and long-term health of the site.

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Thank you for this thoughtful note!

We are still a small company (just 80 people) so the number of writers on the platform, let alone readers, outnumbers our staff greatly. That said, one of our biggest teams is our support team. We want to get better and better at making sure writers and readers get the help they need. We know that we can do better and I promise the experts building and scaling our support team are thinking about this all day every day.

I'll make sure they see this, but I don't know that we'll ever build exactly what you're asking for here - 1:1 public responses to issues.

(And though everyone from the company attend these Office Hours, we see ourselves as playing a less crucial role here than writers do for one another. We set up Office Hours this way - as threads - so writers can connect to one another more than as a space for our team to answer every question! Help center resources and email tickets work much better for those kinds of non-collaborative issues.)

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So far, I've had a great success rate with the email tickets. I may just be lucky, or it may be that I ask really easy questions? Either way, I've been so happy with that. The best part is that I don't have to swim through a sea of bots in order to hear from a person.

I want to know the deal with Substack meetups this year, though. I'm going to keep bugging people until I find out whether I can travel in September or not.

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Hi Bailey,

Thank you so much for your response and consideration as well your offer to share the above comment with other Substack team members.

We all want to feel like we are being heard, but obviously we also understand that 1:1 public responses are not feasible. This is why the suggestion is really for a page, or publication, that collates problems into groups maintained by an "ombudsman."

In order to illustrate this concept better, I went ahead and made a mockup of what I mean here: https://suggestionbox.substack.com

(Substack's awesome tools made it easy for me to create this site in a couple of hours because I'm familiar with publishing here.)

However, the purpose of this "Suggestion Box" site is to have a history of issues so that updates can be publicly tracked, as well as give an outlet for readers and writers to voice their concerns, and the space for Substack decision-makers to answer these larger issue questions, not provide 1:1 customer service. I added links to the various places users can find help, but as many of us have noticed, people seem to have trouble finding answers to their problems and come to "Office Hours" for help.

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I certainly would appreciate this effort from Substack! Thanks for taking the time to write this, Moviewise, and thanks in advance to Substack for publicly addressing this idea.

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Agreed, there should come a point when you grow enough that you start hiring some customer service people. Wouldn't want a Valve situation (although in recent years they have improved their customer service).

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Tip on free imagery. I use www.pexels.com to source license-free imagery. All they ask is that you put the respective photographer caption in your document. You can also subscribe to Shutterstock or purchase image bundles. Hope this helps folks. Pro quality imagery or art is important in establishing social proof with an audience or prospective subscriber.

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I'll look into that too. Have you tried the Dall-E to generate cover images? And do you have any thoughts on using that?

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I mentioned this in a comment below:

I'm using DALLE and Midjourney to generate images, but authors should know that the copyright status of those images is still a legal gray area. Right now, it isn't clear who owns the copyright of AI-generated images.

Probably not a big deal for most publishers, but I thought it worth mentioning!

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Midjourney images are CC-BY-NC if you don't have a subscription. But if you have one, don't they become yours to use as you please? I thought I read that in the ToS.

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Googles definition of CC-BY-NC ... ;)

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Yeah, this is me too at the moment. I love the flexibility and creative power they give (Midjourney has the far better output at the moment, in my opinion, but I'm enjoying both). If I ever go paid then this will become something to seriously consider.

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Nice, will check it out. I have used pixabay in the past, but the choice can be quite limited.

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pexels.com has truly professional grade imagery, mostly from budding amateurs, but amateur talent is quite good in global photography today.

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Thanks for this recommendation!

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Thanks, James, great tip!

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Hi everyone!

I have two unrelated “product-based” questions:

-Can I get a caption to move WITH an image? Every time I move an image, the caption disappears. This is especially bad when the image is something I found on Unsplash :-(

-Can I change the text of the caption that goes with the “subscribe with caption” button? I’ve been doing it manually, but I’d love to set it and forget it somewhere. Am I missing this setting?

Thanks!

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I second both of these! The photo caption thing is really frustrating. Also, on the buttons, I'd really love to be able to save my custom buttons too.

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Yes! Saving custom buttons would be wonderful!

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Both good questions. I’d be curious as well.

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Yeah having a bit of custom text that is saved for each time you insert a "sub with caption" button would be awesome. +1 to this.

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I got around it by putting the caption in the Alt Text, and then copying that, and pasting after moving the image, or by copying the caption in the first place. Quite clumsy tho

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I've just been copying the Unsplash, etc credit line and using it as text below the image. Making it italics and differentiating it. Not bothering with captions.

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That's great news, Kamil, thank you!

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I’m curious when Substack plans to add more support staff? I’ve had a request in for technical help for a month now.... meanwhile my podcast posts look terrible and I have no way to fix.

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Hello, weekly Office Hours happen during our workday, so we can't actively participate. We pre-wrote the words you're reading the day before Office Hours. Is there a space, independent of time, for Substack writers to gather? I'm thinking of the ones who have regular 9-to-5s, or some poor Substack writer based in Ulaanbaatar where Office Hours take place at 1am :-/

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There is a Substack discord, though not too active. Also lots of folks over on Reddit.

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The subreddit is like 80% self-promotion right now. It would be great to have more folks posting stuff besides "here's my substack".

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Mar 30, 2023·edited Mar 30, 2023

Eventually, Substack forums will have to develop along thematic or geographic or other lines. When the category is just "Substack Authors" you're dealing with too huge and too varied a group, and everyone just defaults to "hey, read my stuff." In smaller groups, people start acting more like normal humans.

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I like how Substack puts the ‘writes _____’ next to our names here. I think it finesses the issue a bit.

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There's a rule there: "No excessive self-promotion." But are the mods enforcing? I can't tell if the mods are Substack writers or staff.

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A substack discord? Interesting. Where can I find that?

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Someone posted a link to it in office hours several weeks ago. I have no idea how discord works so I’m not sure if you can search for it or what.

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Thanks for the tip. I'll check those out. Do you know if Substack staff drop in to those from time to time?

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I do not know, but if I had to take a gander, I would say no.

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Australia doesn't fare much better. I usually get to this 2hrs+ after it starts, when it's my early morning. But, I've learnt to embrace the fact there's lots of active discussion that's already happened that I can then read through.

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It was a little disheartening to not participate, so we decided to try it. But now, it's overwhelming to come back after work to find thousands and thousands of words. No wonder Substack staff implemented a new format for office hours.

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Dear substack, I would like an option to control what posts show up on my homepage. I currently have duplicates showing up there because I uploaded an audio (podcast rss) version of a video, which had to be a separate post to properly work with Spotify etc. Would be nice if I could hide posts from that list, so that they only show up in the archive.

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Yes, please! I've been begging to be able to exclude posts from the home page for a while now. I have different sections in my newsletter, and I'd be happy if I could just confine certain posts to these sections and not have them appear in my app feed and on the homepage. Having a box to tick (like the one that allows us to "pin to top" would be amazing!

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This is a very hacky solution, but you can create "pages" in your settings section which aren't publicly visible on your homepage (navigate to "Style" then "Additional pages" then "New page"). You have to manage them via the settings box, so if you've got dozens of these it's probably an unwieldly approach.

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Yes that does work for all posts EXCEPT podcast posts it seems.. Those show up in the podcast tab, which I want to be visible, but I can't categorise those posts so that they don't show up. I'm not sure if I can make the podcast tab invisible, so that might do the trick, and then link to those posts next to the videos, for instance.

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Oh, that's interesting! Hmmm. I don't know how the Spotify integration works, but maybe you could embed them as a voiceover/audio file instead of a podcast entry?

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I think that could work, but then I would have to manually add it to spotify as opposed to having a dedicated RSS feed that sends it everywhere, right? Basically I would like to have the posts on the RSS feed page ('podcast') not show up on the main page, only on its separate page.

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Another hack: You can change the post date manually, you should be able to hide posts you don't want on homepage if you date them before the latest posts. Obviously that changes the date of the post, but if you have 2 of the same and one is right date maybe doesn't matter (you could actually use one specific old date for ALL your podcast posts so they're uniform?)

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you know that might actually work, although it feels a bit.. untruthful? .. to 'claim' that it was published on a different day, if you know what I mean? It does feel like a bit of an obtuse workaround for something pretty basic.

If I were doing a regular podcast, it would not be an issue, this is mainly because I wanted to offer an audio version of a video so people could listen to that if they prefer.

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alternatively, you can use the "pin" feature to pin the posts you want to show up. e.g. with the magazine layout, if you pin 4 posts, that will take up all the avail real estate on the homepage. That would mean though that you'd be manually changing what's pinned every time you want a new one up.

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Yes, that I do all the time. already made sure that is looking clean. it's just the list down below that has the duplicates

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I wish the média assets came with the link embedded or, the url printed below the jpg, part of a jpg

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Hello..I just sent this to your support mailbox (which was kinda hard for me to find...) but since this just appeared in my email, maybe you can help with this question:

I composed a post on my computer that included a quiz, using a numbered list for the questions.  Then, when I went to write answers, when I indented I was given a lower case letter which I thought was fine.  I tested the post using the test email feature and it looked good, with numbers and letters and also some strikethroughs I'd included.  But when I looked at the post on the app, the lower case letters had turned into numbers, and the strikethroughs were gone.  How do I avoid this happening again? Do people see one version in email but a different one on the app?

Here's what I mean:

https://open.substack.com/pub/williamklein/p/still-waiting?r=9bfq3&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Thanks!

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If you wouldn't mind sharing the support email, I'd like that too. Can you reply with it?

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looks like I put this in the wrong place before...what I posted on this thread was a copy of what I sent to the support mailbox. but if I hear from them I can forward to you.

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Actually I should have said "email address." :)

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Right. There's a "need more help" window at the bottom of this page. As I said, it was a bit of a hunt to find it...

https://support.substack.com/hc/en-us/articles/4433990875796-Can-I-see-how-a-post-will-look-like-to-readers-before-publishing-

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Would LOVE there to be more layout control. PINNING MORE THAN ONE POST to the top, for instance. Or a carousel of PINNED (maybe 3) posts. Right now it's very limited as far as what you can do to command attention on the landing.

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You can link posts in your about page too.

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Carousel=winning.

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Very much agree.

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Small irritation in the grand scheme of things, but I'd love to be able to collapse comment threads when they get long. Used to be able to do this until a few weeks ago! Anyhow, I assume there is reason this feature was removed, but I thought I'd mention it.

*continues scrolling while hair turns gray*

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Hey Jen! I might be misunderstanding the question, but I think you should still be able to collapse comments threads by clicking the thin, grey line to the left of the root comment?

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THANK YOU! It used to work a different way, so thanks for pointing this out.

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I thnk that is what she meant. It used to be a slightly different solution, but the grey line works wonders.

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I have mentioned this before but someone came up with the best idea--the tip jar. I just cannot ask people I know, or even those I don't know to pay for something I love doing and they have gotten for free. I did have someone just pay for a subscription. Maybe you could come up with something the person to click on IN THEIR EMAIL. Ok just thought of something. What about a donation? They have an opportunity to click to donate and a portion goes to the writer and a portion goes to a charity of their choice?

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Have you tried a solution like buymeacoffee.com?

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I like the media assets. Somehow they never get emailed to me, but it's no big deal to get them from the little three dot thing on each article. I have a un-product-related question, though: what's the story on official Substack Meetups this year? Are they not happening? I really wanted to make it last September, but I had to be out of town.

Also, even though I was one of the people calling for separated Office Hours, the breakout room vibe feels slightly awkward. I'm glad we're trying it, though. I'm guessing it'll feel more normal with time.

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Same issue here. Definitely have it set to send me the media assets but that email doesn't show up...

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There is an option somewhere in the settings menu to turn on/off getting emails with media assets. Search in writer dashboard - settings for 'media' and you'll find it.

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Thanks! Yeah, I toggled it on ages ago, but I still don't receive the emails. Not a big deal, though.

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I received them but had no idea how to use them. Everything I tried with them did nothing.

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Their main use (in my experience) is for Instagram posts. You click on the "media asset" you want to use, which opens it in another tab, then you download it and use it as the image for an Instagram post. That way, your posts have a clean, recognizable format with the relevant info (title, etc) included. On Facebook or Twitter, it's better to use the post link so that readers can click through to the page.

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Ah, that makes sense. I don’t use Instagram so I couldn’t see a reason to use it. Thanks!

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This is really helpful. Thank you for spelling it out for me. Illumination. I'm grateful to you.

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Okay I went to go check. If you go to your post, you see at the top these 3 dots. If you click that, there is an option to get the media assets that way.

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Thank you so much for your effort on this! Much appreciated!

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Can Substack create a conversational community that doesn't feel like a thread of promotion and self advertising? Expert opinions abound when a question is asked but answers have a habit of being few and far between.

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I'm wondering about this also.

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Can Substack create a 'sort new' on the explore page. It's kinda a pain to find new articles

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Hey Ivan! This idea gets brought up on our team every now and then. I'll check and see if there's still an appetite for building it :)

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The media kit is cool, and looks great on your socials, nice addition for sure by Substack - valuable asset.

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Yes, it's nice. I would like to see them in Instagram stories format, too, though. At least from there I can link to the post itself

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Dear substack, it would be great to have a text wrap functionality for pics

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I’ve been asking for about six months.

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Has anyone successfully enrolled their Substack into the Amazon Affiliates program?

My Substack is a book blog, and I frequently link books, so I figured it would be an easy way to keep track of what people are interested in purchasing and make a few dollars. I'm wondering if Amazon allows Substacks into their program?

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Working on a community paper with local news. Would love to be able to post a calendar showing events. Is there a template for that?

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I like the media promo kit! My issue isn't the kit, which is great & super helpful, but the fact that sometimes Substack kicks out an automated email to me with the kit and sometimes it doesn't. Is there any way to standardize that? Also, if the email doesn't get sent to me, is there somewhere I can go in my dashboard to find the media kit? The concept is great, but the execution is hit & miss at the moment.

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I have NOT been getting mine. Feels like there is a bug. Wish you could find them in a place other than the email.

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You can! On each post, under the Title, look for three little dots. Click that, and then "view media assets" and you can see them there.

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I love the way Media Assets looks when it uses my post picture but I find it almost useless since it’s not clickable. Or am I missing something? Shouldn’t it have a way to get into the post it’s promoting?

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I agree, but I think that's an issue with the platforms (instagram, especially.) It's just impossible to create a clickable post on instagram. On Facebook and Twitter, you can, by putting in the link.

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What do you mean by “putting in” the link? I tried typing it into the media asset picture but it wasn’t linkable then. If I put it above or below the asset, people still try to click on the picture.

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I'm realizing I should put this in the Product thread, so here it is:

We are using Substack to publish a serialized book (after running the main substack mindfulagility.substack.com for a little while), and this leads me to my question: I created a Section/Tab called "Mindful Agility Book" where we would put those serialized chapters, and I checked the box so new subscribers would automatically get that section subscription, but none of the existing subscribers were subscribed. I didn't realize this until I had already sent out the first chapter. So questions:

1. Can I somehow subscribe existing main subscribers to the new section?

2. Can I mail an article to the main subscribers who didn't already get it (after the article was published)?

The number of existing main subscribers we have on Substack is tiny (we're experimenting), but I'm partly interested because I'm considering moving 1400 subscribers from MailChimp and I'm worried the Substack functionality constraints might make that contraindicated.

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Hi, there! I’ve really loved diverse functions and templates you provide from the begining, with which I can directly write on the Substack platform instead of moving initial drafts from MS Word files. An issue, however, is a backup. How could I back up my posts?

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You can download a backup of your Substack by going into the Settings on your dashboard, under Export. I try to remember to do it on a semi-regular basis. Just in case.

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Hi there. Is there a way to set a subject line that's different from the headline of a post? I'd like the subject line to include the name of my publication, since it gets cut off when it's the sender name. I know I can change the post headline after sending, but I don't want the publication name to be part of every URL. Thanks!

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You could change the sender name just be the title of your publication. Also add an email header and/or header image to highlight your publication name once inside the email.

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Yep, my sender name is currently the name of my publication. Sender names often get cut off in the inbox, especially on mobile. And some people come to my newsletter through me, not the name of my newsletter, so I want to make sure they recognize it in their inboxes. In a perfect world, I would have the sender name be my name and include the pub name in the subject line. Other email software I've used has a separate field to enter a subject line, separate from a headline. (Whew! This is getting very in the weeds!)

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When you get ready to post your article, go in settings to SEO options. If you change the text there, it'll change the subtitle - maybe you could work with that as an alternative??

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Thanks Diane! Do you think this would help with the subject line of the email? I do typically write alternative SEO heds so I will poke around in there again and see what options there are.

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I’m not sure. If yr tweaking the SEO I think that’ll help a lot with discoverability. I’m not sure about substack but I know in places like Amazon the system looks at title, description, etc.

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Yep. I’m actually asking about the subject line that appears in people’s inboxes, but thank you! :)

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Sorry I couldn't be more help!

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No apologies necessary! Thanks for weighing in.

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I’m worried about retroactively changing the URL in case it breaks any links. Basically I just wish Substack had a field to write a subject line like other email platforms! 🙃

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Hey Substack, love working on your platform! I'm following up on my request for the analytics page, to add a column on each post's report that shows a simple chronological list of opens/reads, with the most recent open/read at the top. That way we can get a quick look to see who our most recent readers were since the last time we looked. There's no other way to know this. I believe this was submitted to your programming people and they were going to look at it. It would be so helpful and easy to add! At the moment it takes forever to figure out. How's it going??? Thank you!!!

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Hello! I am a writer as well as illustrator and printmaker. I want eventually to use my paid list as a way to give supporters first access to original limited edition work, but also to have a way in public posts of letting people order prints of images (print on demand options like printful)...are there any artists already using their substack to platform things like this, and is there any plan on the horizon e.g. to integrate a third party API into substack for commerce (similar to how Shopify has a plug and play integration with dropshipping companies like printful)?

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This is more of a technical issue, but does anyone else have a problem when trying to edit a line of text that has a hyperlink in it? This is hard to explain, but the little graphic that pops up when you click inside a hyperlinked line (it contains the linked web address) often covers exactly the spot I'm trying to edit. I feel like Substack did just modify it so it now sometimes appears below, instead of on top of, the line, but it doesn't always work. Am I the only one having this problem?

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I’ve had this too

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Hi Jessica! I'll send this feedback to our editor team.

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Thank you! I can’t believe I’m the only person bothered by this!

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Hi! Is it possible to change the size of photos? Put photos side by side?

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To change the size you drag from a corner when the photo has a blue box around it. I’m not sure if they can go side by side, but you could use Canva or a similar app to make a collage and then use that.

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Well, actually, you CAN put two or three photos side by side. From the image icon, choose "Add gallery." You can drag 2-6 photos into a field. 2 or 3 will appear on one line. They'll be bigger if you put in 2. Readers can click on one to zoom it full size. (Sometimes I add a note to that effect in the caption, which refers to all the images in the gallery. See my post https://mygaia.substack.com/p/flowering-spurge)

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Wow, you're right. I completely forgot about the gallery option. I never use it, because the images are so small in the emails, but that's definitely a thing. Thanks, Diane!

I keep hoping they'll somehow add the option of image slideshows. I know it'll be an issue when it's sent out via email, but I'd love to be able to shake up the format a little.

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I didn't even know it existed until now. Good thing I asked here!

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I am so glad Substack added the gallery option! the only bummer is that it doesn't keep the size of the photo. Meaning, it will cut part of the photo off to make it fit along side other photos. Have to say, WordPress does this much better. :/

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I always make my gallery photos square. Solves that problem. It is, though, a workaround.

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Thank you for mentioning this, Jan!

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Thank you, Diana! That visual was super helpful. I will try that next time.

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Seconding Laura, it's easy to change the size by dragging the corners of the photos. As for side-by-side photos, nope, that isn't available yet. I think it's the awkwardness of making each post work both online and also via email. The formatting options are pretty narrow. A good suggestion, though, to make your own collages.

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Thank you, Laura! I think I tried to do that but it didn't work - will try again! Do you use Canva app or on the desktop?

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I use the Canva app on my phone, ipad, and desktop. It syncs really well, I pay for pro because I really enjoy making posts with it, and they put enough features and graphics behind the paywall that it makes a difference.

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Thank you so much, Laura! You're such a help!

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I need help. For some reason I cannot access the page to write my Substack article.

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Margaret, Are your problems only with Substack? Can you access all other sites without problem?

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Glitch?

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I have no idea what to do. I feel like I have tried every possible way to access it, but it will not come up. Has anyone else ever have this problem and do you have any suggestions on what I can try to get it back?

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I feel your pain Margaret! I’ve had a slightly different but similar problem for over a week. I can’t get the draft page to save anything I write there. I’ve sent a ticket but haven’t heard anything back yet.

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I don’t know. I’ve been trying for two day to get to the main page and cannot get to it. It will not pull up.

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I want to learn more about how the algorithms (or whatever decides when to send emails) behind boost work. How many emails are sent to readers, for instance? How does it ensure it does not send too many special offers?

Also, from the faq page it looks like there is a standard template for the boost email, but for me it is empty if I want to edit it. So I made mine from scratch instead, partly based on the example from the faq. Not sure if that is a bug.

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I don’t know if this is the place to ask this, but I’d like to know how to remove a block or poetry quote after you’ve put one in. Thanks! I love posting on Substack. It’s so user-friendly!

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I just use back space

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I think you can highlight and press undo. I don’t like the way poetry comes out with it anyway. I just hold Shift and press Enter to get single spacing between lines. You can see a poem I posted here:

https://open.substack.com/pub/theflare/p/speak-to-me-of-summer?utm_source=direct&r=nnkuq&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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Thanks. Glad to know about single spacing as I also don’t like poetry block. But I still can’t figure out how to erase formatting without also erasing text. Backspace doesn’t work for me (it deletes text) and I can’t isolate the blocking or line to highlight and undo unless I’ve just done it as the last operation.

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Suddenly, today, I saw an influx of subscribers to my inbox poetry magazine. I could not understand why. I would love to have some extension to the stats page to see where subscribers come from.

Then I got an email. From Substack...

I was featured on the homepage!

Many thanks for that, Substack.

The question still stands, though

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Hey Arjan, congratulations! You might be able to get more information about your subscribers in the "Stats" tab of your writer dashboard. The "Traffic" and "Subscriber Report" tabs cover sources of subscriptions and (when available) where they are coming from in the world.

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Thank you Sam. Yes, that does help. And when I play a bit with the dates, I can sort of assess the source of spikes in traffic. It does help. For me, when an extraordinary spike like today happens, I would love to understand why.

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I have only been able to read articles on app, not upload new posts. Are they going to update the app so writers can upload their posts using the app on their smartphone? I do this with my Wordpress blog and it works wonders! So easy and accessible to write on the go!

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I just use the mobile web version to edit for now and to be honest, longer threads are better viewed on the web so I stick there. It would be helpful to have it on the app, though.

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Oh we can edit on the mobile web version, that's good to know!

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Oh yes! Uploading single photos is a lot easier. It’s also how I get emojis in the text.

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Maybe the chat feature can be combined with Office Hours somehow? I love the idea of office hours because it reminds me of the times when I would visit my professors, but realistically it's a mess. The chat format is so much easier to navigate. I feel like office hours needs some major work, although the idea itself is great.

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The concept of group subscriptions is intriguing. Does anyone have any tips for finding subscription partners or for figuring out what most appeals to readers?

(I started a second Substack page for my fiction writing. Cause my main one is for political/legal writing and the two just don't go together. One is for those who enjoy fantasy fiction and one is for those who want political takes/legal info. I'm thinking that like, group subscriptions would be for fairly similar concept pages. But I could be wrong.....maybe there's a general interest sort of appeal. But I'm curious to get takes on this from those who understand Substack far better than I do as I'm a novice).

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On Fictionistas Substack there are some tips on partnering. The group subscription was not live at the time but the principles apply.

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Dear Substack,

Can you please give us the functionality to wrap text around images in posts ? Seems like it should be standard and will make posts look much more professional. The current default where the image is centered without the option to wrap, makes it look pretty clunky. Can you unleash the coders on this one? Thanks in advance substack. That's my only niggly naggly. Other than that I love the platform. I am just about finished moving a third newsletter of mine over from another platform to Substack.

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Hey Brent! I can definitely mention this to the team that works on the editor. We probably do the "center everything" approach because wrapping doesn't work very consistently across email tools, but maybe we can explore this :)

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THANK YOU. I think a lot of users are dying to have some text wrapping. Hopefully on the web version that can happen.

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Thanks Sam! OK, I didn't know what the issue was. I understand that you want it to look good across various emails tools/clients. But it certainly WOULD look good when you went to the accompanying blog site and right now it looks clunky everywhere. Do you have stats on what email tools are being utilized out there? If so, perhaps if you could get it to work on a significant majority of them that would be an improvement and you could let people know that it might not format perfectly everywhere? Lots of ifs in this I know but thanks for giving it your attention. Much appreciated. Looking forward to what you come up with.

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I love unsplash for free imagery but I’m a designer so do my own. I think it’s important to have a distinctive look and feel to grow your substack “brand” successfully.

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I think the platform is one of the “better looking” mailing list services for design - I’ve kept mine white but I can see folks really needing design services in the near future especially when you start to notice beautiful little page breaks and original illustrations in other peoples Substack posts. 🥰

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I gotta say, I really hate how the image gallery crops photos. Is that going to change any time soon? We should be able to dictate how the photos get cropped.

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Is it clear yet that a certain critical mass helps make a “chat” thread worthwhile? I think I could pull it off for a big event, like live blogging an election, the Oscar’s, etc— but the newsy types like myself want to be in the pit on Twitter where all the action is. I suppose that indicates I should try a more personal chat prompt, not at all like Twitter, more the sort of thing one would quickly note on Facebook? I am concerned about how I ween those FB people away

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Same here. All my readers comment on my FB shares of my posts. And that’s where they tend to “like” the posts too. I don’t know how to change this. I have a large readership on FB and since I had no contact list to start out with, I’ve counted on FB to lure subscribers. But I think a lot of them just access my posts from FB, read them and comment and don’t necessarily subscribe. I’m not established on Substack enough yet (started in January) to just count on Substack for developing a readership. (I’m fine with the subscriber growth I’m seeing, but the posts themselves look lonely, with all the likes and comments on FB.

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Well, it’s def. A serpent eating its tail kind of story. I had a wildly successfully blog in 90s. THen FB started, and we all thought, “that’s neat.” LOL. Facebook took our mailing lists, which were open to creators for a hot minute, and then POOF, they closed the doors and all our content, Rolodexes, and mailing lists belonged to them. You look at the thousands of little faces following you and you can’t reach them as you would wish. SO! Now we start again, at Substack. I do have some SS commenters who know the value of starting the community. And I nag my FB crowd about once a month. It’s so tiresome! I cant’ cut the cord yet. Dream about it.

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EXACTLY!!

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And Susie, would be great if we could trade subscriptions….

I know your work and I think you may know mine.

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One more product question: when will the customized menu for our newsletters that are visible on the web be available in the Substack app?

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What the hey? Suddenly it is no longer possible to edit the caption of gallery images. Until a few days ago, when I clicked a gallery, a pencil icon appeared at upper right of the gallery that allowed me to create or edit a caption. Also I could delete, re-order or add photos. Now that functionality has disappeared. Is this a planned change? Are going to restore editing to these images. Soon, I hope?

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I've noticed that Substack management is assiduously ignoring my question about gallery images.

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My media assets always come up as a solid color with a title even though I use my own custom art, let me know if there is a fix.

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Usually it shows me four options, three of which are solid color/title, like you're talking about. Then one will use the preview image I've selected for that piece, slightly faded, with the title on it. I always use that one.

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For images DALLE 2 is good

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I'm using DALLE and Midjourney to generate images, but authors should know that the copyright status of those images is still a legal gray area. Right now, it isn't clear who owns the copyright of AI-generated images.

Probably not a big deal for most publishers, but I thought it worth mentioning!

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DALLE is awesome

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Just a little thing: I noticed this in the analytics recently for one of my subscribers:

Opens: 0 Clicks: 1 Devices: 0

How is this possible? Basically I have a feeling that somehow some "opens" aren't being counted.

Anyway, doesn't really affect me too much but thought I'd point it out in case it's a bug.

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I really like the promo media assets. They're great for platforms like instagram, or for when a link preview does not work somewhere.

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