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The problems with building on Substack

Yaro Bagriy
Yaro Bagriy

About this episode: In this episode, we gathered a few members from the Newsletter Crew community to discuss the problems with building on Substack. Now it won't be an hour of straight bashing but a conversation about who's it really built and the pitfalls newsletter creators can fall into when using it.

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Show Notes & Insights:

  • Many creators leverage Substacks authority as a newsletter platform to grow their subscriber base.
  • Substack will eventually need to go to a SaaS model since many newsletter creators are realizing that they should do all of their free stuff on Substack then move off of it when they start earning revenue.
  • Substack subdomains will kill your newsletter's SEO.
  • Substack still in a way owns your content. You're hosting it with them, thus it's affected by any of their changes.
  • Anything you want to rank, put it on your root domain. Put your Substack on a subdomain for your newsletter. Thus you get the best of both worlds.
  • Substacks discoverability has been an issue since they're more inclined to promote their paid publications versus the free ones due to the incremental income they would generate.
  • Newsletters might not be the best medium to provide a paid product.
  • The standard progression: Free newsletter -> paid newsletter -> paid community -> something even more.
  • The real moat isn't your newsletter content, it's the community you build.
  • There's been a lot of plagiarism going around within the newsletter world, thus building a community as a moat is a very good idea. Unless your moat is your own opinion.
  • If you're running a curation based newsletter, you should watch out for some of the newer software services out there that curate for you.
  • As a newsletter creator, you need to figure out how to keep adding more and more value.
  • Not enough newsletter creators ask their power users what the value they are actually getting from the newsletter.
  • You should always be asking yourself, what can you provide that no-one else can.
  • Direct to consumer is a trend that's here to stay and newsletters are just the start of it.

Newsletter + Guest Info:

Episode 18 Video:


Yaro Bagriy

Podcast host & community manager