I just hit $10,000 Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) with my Substack newsletter, Blogging Guide. While this growth did not happen overnight, it was faster than I would have predicted when I first launched my newsletter. I was skeptical that Substack would even generate a single paid subscriber.
Blogging Guide (the newsletter) was really my first attempt to build a community for writer looking to navigate the digital publishing landscape and monetize their content.
This momentum has also lead me to create a related website full of free content (BloggingGuide.com). I didn't want to give up on either the newsletter or the website, so I made the call early on that despite covering similar topics, I would create 100% unique content for each. This has been quite a challenge and upped my content production requirements significantly.
However, the strategy seems to have paid off as the two direct significant amounts of traffic toward each other. They also help me map out my content production so that each site's articles are tailored to its unique audience.
For example, the newsletter tends to go to readers who are already familiar with at least one blogging platform, but may be looking for a new blogging platform, or a different way to monetize their existing blog. Some are looking to make the switch from traditional blogging to producing a newsletter. So many are curious about how to monetize their newsletter. Much of this traffic comes from readers viewing the content on their mobile devices, so the content needs to be a bit more concise.
The website is much more SEO focused, and tends to offer in depth guides on blogging topics. Most of these readers view the content on desktop devices and there is significant engagement with the content. Many also take advantage of the tools and forum that I created (using PeerBoard). Although the Blogging Guide forum is still in its early stages, it's a great way to build out a more robust community for my Substack subscribers.
Even if Blogging Guide's newsletter were to plateau in terms of ARR, it has effectively subsidized the creation of my Blogging Guide website, which I really love building. I am still amazed by this progress, and am eager to see how I can continue to grow this Substack newsletter over time.
And while it has been challenging, I actually enjoy the unique pace and content structure of both the newsletter and my main website.
If I hadn't seen this success with the newsletter, I probably wouldn't have created the main Blogging Guide website. I even managed to acquire the .com domain for my website (was formerly bloggingguide.org but is now bloggingguide.com). Without the success of my newsletter, I probably wouldn't have pursued this.