Going Paid on Substack
Why now it the best time to do it and How-To
Image credit: Substack
With the Android app launch of Substack, there are a number of reason why this is the time to go paid on your Newsletter:
Substack @SubstackIncIt's almost here... We just welcomed a small batch of writers to beta test the Substack Android app. Join our Android wait list to get the app first: https://t.co/oiBWxtHDi6 https://t.co/rQoO9szbPU
Community management tools (discussion threads, paid augments this, audio features now live e.g. text to speech in the app)
Going paid will make you commit to the habit
Substack’s Going Paid Guide
Launching Paid Subscriptions
Going Paid Checklist (Download the PDF, highly recommended!)
Why do writers want to go paid? They want another revenue stream for their participation in the passion economy that is in its nascent beginning of the ownership economy.
The transition from free to paid subscriptions is one of the biggest moments in any independent writer’s journey. But also one of the most necessary.
Don’t forget to make “Special Offers” under Button to make a steep discount when you launch for your early fans to support you better!
Have a visual and brand design strategy
Have a go-to-market business plan
Create a lead funnel
Think of how paid members will access exclusive content and behind the scenes access and community!
According to Google people are really curious about this:
The fact remains Substack is the best Newsletter platform with community management tools in-built to scale and monetize your blog, Newsletter and micro-niche.
As its Android app launches and its Substack Network targets and directs the right traffic, August, 2022 is one of the best times to launch a Paid Newsletter.
You can actually make money on Substack
Stripe links to your bank account and it is seamless
They take 13% but the high U.S. dollar right now makes the conversion to your country’s currency really appealing in these macro conditions.
For example I live in Canada, so $100 American dollars is $128.54 Canadian dollars right now.
Scalability - Why LinkedIn Matters
Scaling your Paid Newsletters could be one of the most fun and immersive challenges and experiences you will have online as a participant in the Creator Economy.
Don’t forget to link it with LinkedIn posts and Starting a LinkedIn Newsletter, once you have over 10,000 followers there. This will allow you to compound your growth over-time. Microsoft who owns LinkedIn is in a position to scale their ecosystem that is compatible with the topics of many non-fiction Newsletters on Substack.
LinkedIn also has the highest CTR of the walled gardens and provides an older male demographic and professionals who can expense their Newsletter subs to education at their companies. This means LinkedIn’s audience are more likely to subscribe to your Newsletter.
Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit and other channels have far lower click-through rates that make them about as valuable altogether as LinkedIn is for someone with decent marketing, sales and lead generation hustle. You do need to diversity your personal brand to attract new free subscribers to compound your paid revenue.
Depending on your topic, your goals and your budget that might be 50, 100, 1,000 or more paid subscriptions.
Attracting new free subscribers as quickly as possible at scale
Creating the highest quality content you are capable
Finding new innovative ways to convert free to paid readers
Creating more forms of content to diversify value for paid audience (threads, podcasts, interviews, macro and specific coverage, backstage pass vibes, self-disclosure and personal sharing, etc.…
As a paid Newsletter you will need to keep:
Differentiating yourself from others
Understanding your audience
Refining and improving your content strategy
Finding new ways to grow your free audience
Scale of paid audiences is possible, it’s just a question of time, budget, effort and creating the right lead funnel. Of course this is assuming you write about a topic where there is high demand, less competition, you have some skill and provide consistent value over time to your target audience.
This is easier if you have pre-existing expertise and lifetime learning interests in that domain. Many years of professional experience or independent interest will certainly help.
Download Substack’s new August Checklist on going paid.
Crafting a launch announcement post
Always have a deep discount that’s time-limited when you first Launch going Paid.
Frame very clearly the value proposition of why your Newsletter matters and the cause they are joining if they support.
Manifesto Launch announcement post (keep writing new varieties of these)
Grow your free list
It’s helpful to growth if your writing and marketing work work is regular and consistently. However the key to growth is setting up a good lead funnel, discover what works and keep doing that better. Don’t keep doing what doesn’t work or waste time on experiments that fall flat.
Why Compounding Matters
Even if growth feels slow at first, over time, the growth will compound into a self propelling momentum; there is a major caveat though:
Only if you optimize Substack recommdantion
Only if you optimize your marketing lead funnel
Only if you create content that’s shareable and valuable to others
Only if you build overwhelming social proof and FOMO
Can you do it? It’s not so hard but you have to work hard, be lucky and connect with the right people. It’s not all about you. It’s not even all about the quality of your writing. It’s also about how long you do it for, growth simply takes a lot of time. The faster you grow your free subscriber list, the shorter this time will take to find product-market fit.
Create the expectation of interaction and community from the beginning
Your Welcome Email should offer new subscribers to just hit “reply”
You should do regular discussion threads, this creates an expectation of audience feedback
You should interview others, this creates proof of community interest
You should know your audience and where they hang out online
You can attach your Substack Newsletter to a bigger cause (reminding others why your work matters)
You can sometimes write more controversial topics and think of the sentimental impact of your work
You can choose a lower price point, to acquire a paid audience faster
You can do “special offers” often with a variety of CTA and sales tactics that work in Email Marketing
You can invest a modest marketing budget on your lead-funnel and marketing campaigns to make sure you are reaching the right audience
You can become a thought-leader by discussion your Newsletter topic in LinkedIn posts on a daily basis (only Finance or Political writers should be using Twitter for ROI)
You can connect with other Substack writers in your niche and recommend their Newsletter (your Substack Network funnel should be niche-specific)
Keep the majority of your work free to prioritize growth unless you have hit the ceiling of your growth on your topic with well over 10,000 free subscribers.
Anyways guys you were maybe at Substack Grow, you already know these things.
Why Launch Posts Matters - The Habit of Exclusive Premium Access
Be your own advocate, sometimes you will have to self-promote. By this I don’t mean on Reddit or Discord, but actually to your free subscribers, reminding them why what you do matters! Making an emotional connection about you and the topic.
Segmentation: In your Dashboard you can send such “Reminders” to your most engaged readers. Segment your subscriber list by “Activity”, “Emails Opened” and click the box, and you will see an “Email” button pop-up.
Why not reward THOSE readers who already love your work with a huge special discount? Just make sure they aren’t already paid subs.
Stay away from Time Sinks: do what works and forget the rest. It’s really important not to waste time.
Be prepare to work 2 years to see results that you want, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Consider building exclusive community groups around a Discord, Facebook Group, Slack, WhatsApp community or another tool.
Don’t neglect community: Discussion threads, comment interaction, reaching out to thank supporters, looking up your paid subscribers on LinkedIn, creating exclusive access and back-stage pass vibes - because this contributes to less churn and more insights about the “Cause” of your Newsletter.
The ad model demands that writers attract 40,000 page views every day to earn just $1,000 a month. With Substack, you just need to cultivate 1,000 true fans.
With Newsletter recommendations, LinkedIn’s audience converging well, and a Substack App that improves the reader experience - this is the best time to try Paid subscriptions.
August 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. PT / 2p.m.-3 p.m. ET
Substack says: Writers will walk away with the tools to launch paid subscriptions that drive a wave of excitement, attention, and—most importantly—paid subscriptions to support your work.
Don’t miss it, you still have time to register.
Consider supporting me if you found this helpful:
For those seeing this article from a Google Search, it also takes less than 5 minutes to important your writing and mailing free list from Wordpress, beehiive, Medium, Ghost, Revue, Tumble, Mailchimp, TinyLetter, SeekingAlpha and all the others.
For many of us we are finding Substack is the best in mid 2022 to monetize your personal brand, niche-interests and Newsletter that have incredible open-rates.
Thanks for reading!