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Blogging vs Newsletters and optimizing paid conversations on Substack with Casey Botticello of Blogging Guide

Yaro Bagriy
Yaro Bagriy

About this episode: This week we have the successful Casey Botticello with us. Casey is a very successful blogger and newsletter creator. He’s one of the few recipients of the Substack Writers Grant, creator of the Substack Writers Facebook group, and has over 10,000 subscribers on his newsletter called Blogging Guide. In this episode, we’ll cover his perspective on blogging versus newsletters, open rates, and optimizing paid conversions on Substack. We also have a second part of this podcast which will cover how to create digital content to increase ROI and revenue and creative uses of newsletters. To get access to this second part, join the Newsletter Crew community.

Episode sponsor: SparkLoop

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Show Notes & Insights:

  • The funding a16z gave Substack makes them a company to be taken seriously with especially with larger publications.
  • Newsletters have been around since the internet was been around, but Substack was able to create a platform where it had everything a publisher would need to be successful.
  • Substack was able to combine WordPress (CRM) and any email marketing platform into one.
  • Blogs are great to get surface area. You have access to SEO, longer-form writing, and generally more eyes on it. While a newsletter is great for building an audience.
  • Even an archived newsletter probably won’t get as much SEO traffic as a blog.
  • Blogs are mostly meant to be useful pieces of content. While newsletters tend to convey more of the personality of the creator.
  • The medium is the message.
  • There really is no definitive answer on when and what day is the best to post your newsletter.
  • The real difficult part to establish is the date and time for a paid newsletter.
  • Most of the top business newsletters (Stratechery, Sinocism, etc) send their newsletters out between 9 am-10 am, where most business professionals are at their inbox.
  • Some newsletters see higher open rates and free-to-paid conversions around 6 pm. Each newsletter is unique and you should experiment with when to send your newsletter.
  • Send more newsletters to the free subscribers. This will encourage more paid conversions.
  • Deviating from your standard schedule might entice a higher open rate since subscribers could see this as something more actionable than the standard.
  • To increase free-to-paid conversions on Substack, utilize the subscriber welcome page and point them to your best content.
  • On Substack optimize the unfinished email subscription page. This is the email that free subscribers of Substacks get when they haven’t upgraded to a paid version. This should be your professional sales copy page.
  • Provide your paid subscribers clear and demonstrable value with their subscription.
  • Give away and include content upfront with a paid subscription. Show the value of the subscription. This will increase paid conversions guaranteed.
  • Every paid subscriber’s expectations are different, so the safest way to provide value is to over-deliver.
  • If less than 10% of your new subscribers are paid subscribers then you should focus on converting your list more.
  • If over 10% of your new subscribers are paid subscribers then you should focus on more content.

Newsletter + Guest Info:

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Yaro Bagriy

Podcast host & community manager

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