174 Comments

posting at erratic, schizo times is underrated

i sometimes make a point of posting at 3am, or like not for a week, and then three times in three days

always keep your readers on their toes

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Sep 13, 2023Liked by Substack Writers

"Things that don’t matter: your design, your title, your strategy, your growth plan, vision . . . most things. Things that matter: quality, consistency." Amen, Lenny.

This is excellent advice from beginning to end.

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I appreciate the post is trying to help but I find it lacking substance or detail, so I'll share my findings (as it's about enlarging the share of the pie for everybody):

1) Use data from free email unsubscriptions to determine if you're publishing 'too frequently' (it is also a warning flag for low quality content). I've found that publishing once every three days (for my style of content) minimises the rates of unsubscription. In contrast, I found publishing daily drove a spike in unsubscriptions because the email notifications are seen as spam.

2) Use data from free email subscriptions to determine how long an article should 'stew' for. If an article is popular and you keep seeing additional free subscriptions, *don't* publish a new article, as the new article "bumps off" the older one. Instead, observe for when the free subscriptions start to 'peter out' and *then* publish.

As an analogy, it's a bit like a comedian who tells a joke. If the audience laughs, let them finish laughing before you tell the next joke. If you try to force the next joke, they either don't hear it, or you interrupt the laughter. If, however, the audience doesn't laugh... you need to tell a new, better joke quickly!

3) Don't affix yourself to a specific time. International audiences will have crazy different timezones. So your 3am publish might be their late evening. I've tried to datamine best time of day... it seems to be *for the audience* their best time of day is either early morning or late evening... but because of timezone differences, you won't be able to "hit" that mark most cases, so don't worry.

4) Don't affix yourself to a specific day. Unless you're writing something that is synchronised (say you analyse the DOW or you need to publish a report before XYZ event)... don't worry because readers will get notified. Yes, you could publish weekends only, but people will want to go outside, relax and do other things, where as, during weekdays, they might sneak a read at your Substack during work.

Quality of feed and an even pace (but not too frequent) seems crucial.

5) Oh... and market your Substack in places where it is relevant and people will be interested. If your Substack is based on knitting, suggest it to knitting groups. If it's based on flowers, suggest it to flower groups. Don't try to throw it out at random; find targeted interest groups first.

I'm not as big as other Substackers, but I am one that is built from the ground up.

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I have only been on here for 7 weeks posting, and somehow got notified I was in the top 24% of posters for consistency! Think about that for a minute...

Nearly 80% of people don’t post weekly. Consistently posting every week is a great way to stand out from the herd.

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I don't know how Substack can say they are promoting quality, long-form content but then also recommend a weekly publishing schedule? A good long-form piece will take most people at least 20 hours. That's impossible to keep up for anyone that isn't already doing Substack full time.

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I try to post at least once a month. So far I'm doing great!!!

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Write when you are inspired and have something to say. Don’t listen to this crap. Schedules are for jobs and the morons who you have to work for. One excellent piece is better than ten piles of crap.

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I love the advice here, and although I fell off this summer, the thing that has helped my substack the most is consistency. When I publish consistently, my readers show up and I get new subscribers.

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Art isnt scheduled.

The creation of such isnt regulated by the fluctuating frequency of cesium atoms.

It is as Buk put it- Poetry is a hot beer shit.

This is more spammy crap from substack-

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Excellent advice. I’ve been writing The Bus since April 2022, publishing twice-weekly on Monday and Thursday. I’ve not missed an issue yet - mostly because I take advantage of the schedule publishing option when travelling and I know I won’t be able to work. Consistency is key - but it can be demanding. A schedule and calendar is essential - and it helps to have a very understanding family!

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While I appreciate the intent of this post, there’s a lack of information and detail which makes me cringe. I’ll just keep posting at my own pace because it seems to be working for myself and subscribers. If it doesn’t work for them, they can unsubscribe. I think the answers are different for each writer, based upon audience and subject matter. I’m finding the writer comments here far more helpful.

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I can vouch for all of these concepts. One thing to add: a lot of folks assume that having a routine means being boring, but I couldn't disagree more. My mind is focused on everything that's important since my day's activities are more or less identical from day to day, so hopping in to write first thing every morning isn't really a decision; it's automatic.

Make your routine automatic, so you can focus on the things you're passionate about!

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Agree with the POV that "it depends." It takes your gut, plus your life, plus feedback from readers, plus data, plus guessing, and not being afraid to experiment.

Imho, it's most important to be authentic, consistent (however that applies to your situation), and enjoy the process. If there were a one-size-fits-most formula, it would be easy.

Relax, listen to some music that fits your purpose from project to project, and remember that in the really big picture, we're just people doing our best not to lose our bits and pieces!

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I continue trying to figure out how to post essays. I wrote an introduction several days go and I cannot find it. Did it disappear into the ether?

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I have a consistent weekly schedule. When I post more often, I just use web-only and then link the post from my weekly mailing. (Can’t say that gets good click through though.) I can’t get past worrying people will unsubscribe if email lands more than once a week.

Feature request - I wish I could choose web-only with app notification and NOT email as a publishing choice. I think app readers aren’t always the same as email readers (and maybe have a higher frequency tolerance before unsubbing).

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I’m shocked to hear there isn’t a “best day/time” to publish based on external data. I’ve been using my views to better determine when to post a note during lulls between publishing.

Should writers let the views guide publishing decisions knowing that current content schedules may potentially skew popular days/times readers are viewing the content?

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