When it comes to freelance writing, there is a lot at stake. First, you need to take out time from your routine to write, if it is a side business for you. Secondly, you need to take care of pitching before editors which call for expanding your contacts. At the same time, there are hassles of signing contracts, running for payments, meeting deadlines, and planning schedules.
On top of that, if you are someone who runs their own website or channel, marketing becomes another pain in the neck. Gladly, Substack is here to help. In this Substack review, we try to glance at some of its best (and worst) features, to find out how worthy it is for giving a try.
What is Substack?
Substack is a platform dedicated to creating and managing email newsletters. It is meant especially for small publishers, freelance writers or content startups who are looking to convert their subscribers into paying customers later on. Substack offers its customers a sophisticated and efficient Content Management System or CMS. They can use the CMS to not just manage email newsletters effectively but also integrate a well-rounded payments system with it.
Substack effectively helps writers start both free and paid email newsletters for their business. This service comes in very handy, for writers often do not have too much time to give to management-related issues.
The platform is ideal for those who wish to make a living by writing say, on their professional website, through paid subscriptions by loyal readers. Therefore, it is an ideal choice for those who have developed a content funnel, providing free access to some content and restricted one to some others. Substack comes equipped with all such tools that you would need for this purpose.
How does Substack help?
Substack, as stated earlier, is one of the best content management systems you can find in the market. It takes care of your email newsletter campaign seamlessly as well.
It is one of the platforms that provide you with the simplest ways to start an initiative of this sort. There is no further requirement from your side other than a few basic steps. At the same time, you can keep using the platform for free unless you yourself begin charging your subscribers.
Substack also plays an important role in building a bigger audience base with time. It comes with social media integration, which is a must if you look forward to growing your readership.
There are also interesting features like scholarship programs and writer features. Besides, there are additional features for editors, so, brownie points if you are managing both! Substack is also one of the greatest options for audience management, apart from managing just the content.
Having said this, it is important to realize that Substack might not be the perfect choice for everyone who is into writing. It is particularly suited for freelancers and smaller businesses, who are looking to start out in the field of email subscriptions. This is because Substack is the right place, to begin with.
You can expect to make some money while at it, though it may take a lot of time to make it huge. At the same time, Substack is also perfect for someone who is committed to writing regularly and has a large, loyal base. If you are good at both writing and editing and run your own content website or business, Substack is yet again a great option.
How to use Substack?
The steps to use Substack for generating a free/paid email newsletter campaign are pretty straight and simple. We have outlined them in the form of crisp steps for you.
- Choose a niche you want to work on: It is always better, if you are planning to start a website, to focus on a particular domain, like fashion, travel, a particular country or user group, such as freelance writers themselves.
- Start a Newsletter: Once you are done with deciding what to write, the next step would be to set up your very own professional newsletter. This would entail filling up various relevant information, such as what settings you want, where your content is archived, what users you are targeting and so on. Now, you can choose whether you want to send out all your newsletters for free, to offer paid subscriptions without restricting your content, or to restrict all your content as exclusive to paid subscribers only.
- Begin Writing: The most important stage, and the most obvious one too, is that of writing the content for the newsletters themselves. Keep in mind that Substack can take care of everything apart from your writing, so make sure you invest enough time in it!
- Proofreading and Monitoring: From time to time, it would be advisable to keep a tab on both your content as well its performance. After all, you would not want to deviate from what your subscribers are in for.
- Maintain a Schedule: You can take help from Substack for the purpose. Maintaining a schedule is important because your subscribers would be in for punctuality and committed efforts from your side.
Substack is an extremely user-friendly platform that is just about right even for beginners. The platform’s simple-to-use tools and drag-and-drop features offer immense support to even beginners who are looking to use the platform.
This means you practically need no experience to start a newsletter with Substack. At the same time, Substack offers you great efficiency in terms of output. With minimal inputs required from your side, you can expect a well-rounded, neat, and strategic newsletter campaign for your subscribers.
Another benefit of using Substack is that it is highly versatile when it comes to niches. You can write about almost anything, and you can expect Substack to take care of it for you. This means there is wide niche support for an array of freelance writers.
The minimum subscription price you can opt for with Substack might not work for small freelancers. This is because this is difficult for smaller businesses to find paying subscribers who are ready to pay so much for newsletters unless the brand is well-established. Again, Substack deducts a lot of fees and charges for various reasons, including transaction charges and Stripe’s fees. This, again, might be problematic for some.
One of the most evident cons when it comes to Substack, or for that matter, any other email newsletter campaign, is that it takes time. Newsletters can be hoped to succeed only with a large, loyal base.
If you are someone who believes in organic growth, you also have to digest the fact that growing a sufficiently long subscriber list, that too one that pays you, is going to take time. Therefore, conversion rates with Substack will increase only with time.
Content writing is one of the most lucrative, engaging, and interesting professions today in the online world. No wonder, more and more people are taking up the profession, either full-time or part-time, to cash some extra bucks while at it.
However, this also calls for proper management of their content, clients, and readers. Substack, as an efficient email newsletter management portal, comes across as a powerful tool to have in your pocket. Although the newsletter industry is still a nascent one, it has a promising future. Besides, with consistent effort, you can ensure you do well in the arena.
Substack as a tool does its job quite well. It is ideal for both those who are just starting out as well as for those who are already standing firm in the market. We have tried to cover all these aspects in this Substack Review. Also, we’ve tried to present a well-rounded glimpse of its services, pros, and cons.
The platform is still young and can mold itself into something much more evolved and specific over time. Still, it is one of the best money-makers on the internet today for writers and content creators. Let us know if you have used Substack for managing your content or plan to use it in the future. We would love to hear from you!