The Substack launch checklist

Get started

  1. Set up your publication

    • Connect your Twitter account during set-up

    • Import your mailing list, if you have one

  2. Edit the default post to turn it into a short announcement post. Keep it tight and tell people what you plant to write about. But don’t overthink it – the most important thing at the start is to generate momentum.

  3. Announce your newsletter to the world by sharing the link to that post or your homepage (i.e. your.substack.com)

  4. Publish your first “real” post (i.e. not just an announcement, but something substantive).

  5. Keep publishing!

    • Talk to your readers and get feedback (this is very important: what do your readers like? What would they love to see more of? What’s not interesting to them?)

    • Tweet each post with a short thread (learn how)

  6. Once you have some posts under your belt, flesh out your “positioning” a bit more (edit here)

    • Edit the one-sentence description that appears on your welcome page (your.substack.com/welcome) and entices people to sign up

    • Fill out the details of your “About” page: include publishing schedule, your bio, and testimonials from happy readers (best if they’re in the form of embedded tweets)

Launch paid subscriptions

  1. Read out comprehensive advice in “9 steps to going paid on Substack” (you should treat your paid launch as a separate event to the general announcement of your newsletter. It’s usually best to start in free mode while you get established and so your readers can get a sense of what your product will be)

Build momentum

  1. Tweet each post (public and subscriber-only posts) with a short thread

  2. Continue to publish regular public posts

    • These will help you gain new readers and build your mailing list

    • Aim for a 3:1 ratio of subscriber’s to public posts

  3. Send occasional posts to “only free signups,” to let them know that they’re missing out by not subscribing. Sometimes you might consider offering them a discount as an incentive to subscribe.