38 Comments

I think one of the difficulties with starting a Substack community around a publication is outreach.

Substack defaults to offering a streamlined means of publishing to just Twitter, however (pending any changes by Elon Musk) Twitter is not a conduit of free speech, like many places that opt to engage in censorship. The ones that don't engage in censorship often look down even on relevant attempts to promote as being a type of spam.

Many Substackers draw in their audience from other, similar Substacks, and whilst this is great news for Substack readers as it means more content, it doesn't expand the audience pie, as it were, as breaking through the behemoth takes time and resources. The primary growth factor from what I can observe is through word-of-mouth and direct link sharing, however for new beginners this is painfully slow.

Many Substackers who are new are inexperienced at marketing and advertising (myself included), especially for people on budgets of very little or zero (myself again included), finding the most cost effective means of advertising is difficult. Perhaps Substack can do an article or PDF explaining the most effective means of advertising?

Additionally Substack might want to create a sort of primary page akin to YouTube where you can see a list of (free) posts recommended by some transparent system reporting on today's topic, based on a user's previous browsing history (if they consent). That way natively expanding internal reach and discoverability.

I recognise Substack is in the early days and will improve as time continues, so I look forward to see how it turns out!

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I agree with you! I would so love if the front page, Substack.com, was like "Hacker News" and listed text links of all the latest individual posts being published by Substack writers, plus a tag system per post so that readers can search Substack.com based on a category or topic, e.g. "humor" "comic strip" "movie recommendations" "life hacks" etc.

https://news.ycombinator.com

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The more I read about starting out, the more confused I get. This is no country for old ladies. Is there a Substack for Dinosaurs thread?

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That should be your title! Start that page and I will read it!

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I look at how to do this and go to bed!

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Js and JennyStokes THANK YOU!!! I thought I was the only one who couldn't figure out wth is going on. I have a WordPress blog: www.articulation.me which was only possible through the tech savvy skills of my son. Otherwise, I follow someone (Nadia Bolz-Weber) on Substack and sorta stumbled into all of this. I am totally clueless. Anywhoo, thanks for making me feel better! :D LOL

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Ha. I am trying to write on substack on my own Profile.

I get a sentence out then everything stops!

There are a huge number of older people who really can't figure this new substack out. It was easy before.

Will keep trying!

Good luck to you too.

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I'm tired of being told "Social Media" is viable. SM is useless trash. We're writers/authors/producers, not kids. Unless Substack is willing to innovate their platform that allows readers to find the content they want (both free and paid) via a better hashtag system, a stream of the latest posts of selected categories, etc. It's nonsensical to suggest other platforms. Substack itself should be the platform in which creators can find and build readers.

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Sorry you feel that way, Jubei. 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.

When it comes specifically to discovery, Recommendations (https://on.substack.com/p/recommendations) and Reader (https://substack.com/discover) are two places for visitors to find great writing.

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Don't apologize. And I'm aware of the statistics purported by Substack. I know of recommendations and Reader as well. My point stands: Substack shouldn't be interested in telling its community (that gives Substack its value) to go somewhere else to increase readership. Substack should innovate ways to make discoverability more attractive and reader friendly for the general public. Recommendations/reader is Okay at best and not the solution we're looking for. It's just more work for us.

Writers here need to focus on producing content, and Substack could aid in helping them get readership on its own platform with improving these things.

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Being able to tag content of what we write about, that's searchable on the Substack home page would be a start. Discoverability should not have to depend on a network or persuasive system of peer recommendations, it should be user-centric instead.

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I agree with the currency of peer recommendations. We need to be able to individually add tags (up to 5 or so) on each article. I wish Substack overall was more SEO friendly too. Medium is superior in this department.

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All automation is a failure there's no perfect way to do that you have to do the work there is no democratization those are all euphemisms

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Thank you so much for this post! I just launched a community for secular homeschoolers and am so excited to apply some of the techniques here to make our community more vibrant!

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I appreciate the clarity and guidance here:"Publish consistently—ideally weekly." The question of how often to post has been a puzzle. It's good to get a solid number from the people who can see the data and trends.

Anyway, if anyone would like to collaborate, I have a "Guest Writer" section in my newsletter, "moviewise: Life Lessons From Movies."

If you've ever felt that you learned something about life from a movie, please share it with the "moviewise" community here:

https://moviewise.substack.com/p/be-our-guest

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I’m definitely interested in doing this! I’ll take a look at your archive to make sure I choose a movie you haven’t done yet 😊 thank you for offering a guest post option!

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That would be wonderful Daisy Anne! Thank you so much for considering it!

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Thank you for the nice guide! It looks like I've applied many of these tips to getting started with my new abundance mindset community and associated podcast this year, popularized via periodic posts through my substack; looking forward to the next step of forming collaborations with other writers.

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Building quality content can't be overstated. Thanks for this wonderful piece!

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Hey, Check out my weekly newsletter - The Wordsridge Newsletter! It is completely free to subscribe. It is a miniature literary and cultural magazine with poetry, essays, articles, quotes, recommendations, bulletin board, poetry prompts, book reviews and lots of love!!!

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thank you so much for this important information.

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Kindly subscribe to my Substack ☺️

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I will not use Twitter does this mean I can't publish.

Frankly I am disgusted with people still using Twitter!

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Smart stuff here. Thanks. I lost my virginity today and published.

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Hey, Check out my weekly newsletter - The Wordsridge Newsletter! It is free to subscribe. It is a representation of literary and cultural publications with, writings, articles, quotes, recommendations, a bulletin board, book reviews and lots more!!

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loved this! great tips! working on consistency and building my subscribers! its been a challenge especially learning marketing tactics on IG BUT I’ll definitely will be more conscious about these tips! feel free to check out my newsletter and leave me any additional advice lol :)

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I am one of the millions of people "howling" in the dark.

WHAT ABOUT DEAF PEOPLE!

Every podcast should have tanscripts or enabled subtitles!

I am so sick of writing to people I pay for and asking them to please do this.

I recently wrote to Michael Moore. He said there would be a transcript soon....where is it.

People are becoming more poor and cannot afford to pay for content IF the above are not catered to.

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thank you so much for this important information.

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