Bloggers July 4, 2020

Has anyone started blogging with Substack successfully?

Michael Brooks @MichaelBrooks

I have my own blog and signed myself up to Substack to build members for free. Currently, I manually copy/paste all my content from my Blog to SubStack and have the widget on my website. At the end of my blog posts, I say "Join the discussion" with a link to the post on SubStack, but I haven't had anyone sign up yet.

How many have managed to build an audience, and what did you do in order to kickstart it?

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    hey, yeah I was using Substack for around 9 months (my site is still live) before migrating to Ghost this week.

    I found it great for getting started - and Lenny's example is a testament to that. I wrote about the move here.

    Let me know if you have any q's :)

    ps. congrats on the book. I'm publishing my 1st this year, and hadn't come across PayHip - will check it out.

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      Hey, figured I’d chime in here since you mentioned you’ll be publishing your 1st book this year. Would love for you to sign up for the waitlist for to provide us some feedback during beta. It’s a alternative to both GumRoad and Payhip

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        hey, looks cool - I've signed up :) can I ask how it'll be different to Gumroad/PayHip?

        (also, noticed a small typo when I was signing up - 'filmmaker' is a weird word, it has two m's)

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          Thank you so much! Definitely got me there!

          Our platform will have lower transaction fees throughout each tier, more upsell features, and ability to select themes if you choose to use landing pages off the site, (and more post-MVP)

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            np, and thank you... this sounds really cool, i'll keep my eyes peeled :)

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      Thank you so much for your insight, that's really helpful. My plan would probably be to migrate over to Ghost as well since they offer a lot more flexibility than Substack, but are more expensive if you go for their Pro hosting (which I would choose for worry-free hosting). I also love the fact Ghost doesn't take a percentage cost either.

      I've followed you on Twitter (MBrooksUK) and would love to chat with you on how you got started and gained your first handful of subs and more q's.

      Thanks so much, PayHip are very similar to Gumroad, but are UK based. Good luck on publishing your book and I hope it goes well for you.

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        FWIW - You can find much cheaper Ghost hosting that offers similar support/services as pro. Been using them for a couple months now and love it. (The small cost was worth the saved headache of managing it myself).

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          yep, my developer (above) set me up on Digital Ocean which lots seem to use + speak highly of.

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        Yeah, I think Ghost + Discourse hosted would have been $130 a month (vs $15pm self-hosted; @dr has been helping me getting set-up and has been brilliant). Ghost Support is exceptional, I'd definitely recommend Ghost Pro for the first month or two as you have access to support.

        Re: my 1st subscribers, my 1st 100 came from a small existing following, and Twitter. I then hosted a Summit which grew my list more than 10x (I recorded about 18 videos with a co-host, all interviews with a 3rd person).

        A year in, and my current growth channels are:

        • blog & podcast (folks interviewed tend to share my content, and I'm hoping SEO starts to serve me more re: organic traffic)
        • twitter, i'll be using this month with Buffer to help me automate tweets (mostly content from the blog/podcast)
        • possibly another social channel (e.g. reddit/quora), but i'm holding off for now.

        My advice would be to hang out where your audience does (choose just 1 or 2 channels), and where you enjoy being, and be helpful. (e.g. I started a thread about Quora recently). You can also re-purpose your content for forums/social channels, e.g. Twitter (@harrydry is a great example of someone who does this).

        IH's @rosiesherry knows lots about community-building and is on Substack too -> hers is another good example & you might wish to look at how Rosie uses Twitter. In the early days, I think it's about being experimental and see what works / how it feels for you.

        And thanks man. It's this book. I'm excited to launch it :)

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          Thanks for the mention. I made the decision to stick with Substack and have just switched on paid subscriptions. 😬

          I'm time poor and I found that I was struggling to maintain substack, my Notion resource and Ghost.

          So I made Notion my website as I already had that habit of maintaining and adding to it and people seem to like it.

          But...I'm going to make the majority of my Notion stuff as part of a knowledge base for my Substack subscribers. I have other things I'm going to add to the Notion too, which I've been struggling to decide where to put as I didn't want to fall into the trap of giving away too much for free.

          I think in an ideal world, and with a bit more time, I would probably go with Ghost.

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            So cool to hear you've switched on paid! *" I didn't want to fall into the trap of giving away too much for free." the struggle is real -_- On balance, I've probably given away too much with INF club, I guess it's a learning curve & confidence-building process.

            btw, I've recently been putting my life (literally) on Notion, I'm loving it to help me organise my vision/projects/time, on both the 'work' and 'life' fronts.

            I was considering using Notion as a website. Does SEO still work with Notion? I'd imagine it does but I noticed Notion tends to add a long code at the end of each page's hyperlink. (omg, your Notion looks so cool, btw).

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          And feel free to drop me an email (it's in my bio), happy to have a chat.

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    I am enjoying Substack actually for case is just perfect.

    More click through and more openings. Like they tripled..

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    Umm... I can't really give you any advice cuz I'm still a noob.
    But I've found someone from Twitter that doing it so well ($100k ARR).

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      Amazing, thank you.

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        yeah, Rosie posted this on the forum too and I'm still making this face: 😮. I've just switched away from Substack but it's made me want to start another! So simple but powerful.

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    I got to 50 subscribers pretty fast but the growth is much slower since.

  5. 1

    Hi Michael, I'm just starting testing SubStack and also Sendfox (the new-ish product from Sumo). So far I think I am digging Sendfox a little more...

    If there was traffic coming from WITHIN Substack, then that would be an advantage. (i.e. people browsing SubStack for newsletters) but I'm not sure that happens so much. You still need to promote your newsletter off-substack...

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      SendFox does look good, but it's very different from Substack. Substack to me is an integrated blogging, memberships and newsletter platform.

      I think with all these platforms, you still need to promote elsewhere in order to get email subs.

      SendFox is definitely a smart email service though, I love the fact it can auto-generate content based on your RSS and social media.