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What is Substack?

Substack is a subscription-based newsletter publishing platform.

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Substack has become a popular platform for users who want to create freestanding blogs and portfolios separate from their existing …
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What is Substack?

Substack is a subscription-based newsletter publishing platform.

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Best Practices - Fiction on Substack

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Product Details

What is Substack?

Substack is a newsletter publishing platform that makes it simple for a writer to start an email newsletter that makes money from subscriptions.

Their tools include:

  • web and newsletter publishing tools that are purpose-built for paid subscriptions,
  • an all-in-one solution to help a writer get paid for their writing,
  • easy-to-use editing software that can handle simultaneous publication of stories and newsletter
  • a payment solution that makes subscriptions intuitive and manageable for both publisher and reader
  • features that allow stories to find large audiences outside the paywalls and design templates so that publishers can focus on creating beautiful reading experiences.

Substack was founded in 2017 by Jairaj Sethi, Christopher Best, and Hamish McKenzie and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA.

Substack Technical Details

Operating SystemsUnspecified
Mobile ApplicationNo
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Reviews and Ratings


Community Insights

TrustRadius Insights are summaries of user sentiment data from TrustRadius reviews and, when necessary, 3rd-party data sources. Have feedback on this content? Let us know!

Substack has become a popular platform for users who want to create freestanding blogs and portfolios separate from their existing accounts on platforms like Medium. This allows them to have more control over their content and customize their own brand. For example, in the CBD industry, Substack is used to create promotional and educational content in a mini-blog format. This helps businesses address branding and improve their store's searchability. Users have found that by utilizing Substack, they can significantly change their workflows, making content distribution more efficient while also enabling monetization and integrated financial support.

One of the key benefits that readers appreciate about Substack is its ability to collate subscriptions in one place. This makes it easier for them to stay on top of their favorite writers without getting lost in the noise of social media. Companies also find value in using Substack to write blogs and newsletters for interested parties such as investors or donors. In the AI domain, for example, companies leverage Substack to cover topics like data collection and principles of good codebase for Machine Learning. Similarly, researchers and community leaders utilize Substack to share newsletters on the latest happenings in the world of technology, allowing them to reach a large community with new breakthroughs and technologies.

With its large user base, Substack increases the chances of newsletters reaching a wider audience, whether distributed for free or as paid content. However, some users feel that Substack could improve its integration with other platforms and provide more guidance on marketing strategies to help them stand out in a crowded niche. Overall, Substack offers valuable solutions for users looking to create independent content channels, connect with readers, and gain financial support through subscriptions or sponsorships.

Easy to use and user-friendly interface: Many users have praised Substack for its easy-to-use and clean interface, making it convenient for writers to navigate and manage their subscriptions effectively. The platform provides a user-friendly interface that simplifies the process of managing subscriptions.

Seamless integration of content with operations: Several reviewers have highlighted Substack's seamless integration between content creation, subscription management, and payment design. This feature allows writers to monetize their work efficiently and effortlessly by providing them with an integrated system that streamlines the process of managing subscriptions and payments.

Ability to own content: Users appreciate that Substack allows them to maintain full control and ownership over their published content. This valuable feature provides a sense of security for writers who want to protect their intellectual property, ensuring that they retain complete ownership of their work without any restrictions or limitations imposed by the platform.

Clunky and Confusing UI/UX: Some users have found the visual UI/UX of Substack to be clunky, particularly when it comes to displaying stories and utilizing image previews. They have expressed confusion about the way stories are presented and feel that image previews are not effectively utilized.

Difficulties with Subscription and Donation Options: Several reviewers have mentioned difficulties with subscribing or donating while reading an article on Substack. They have pointed out that the option to subscribe or donate only appears after finishing the article, which most readers don't do. This has made it challenging for users who wish to support writers immediately.

Lack of Clarity as a Podcasting Platform: A number of users have expressed a need for more clarity regarding Substack's capabilities as a podcasting platform. They would like to see more hard technical information before making the switch and understanding why they should use Substack specifically for podcasting.


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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
In our company, we use Substack to write blogs and newletters to our investors / donors / other people interested in AI domain. We talk about how we collect data, principles of making a good codebase for Machine Learning etc.

I use Substack to write newsletter on the latest happenings in the world of technology. I'm a researcher who loves to research about new breakthroughs, new technologies, learn them. I run a community of people who want to learn about new techs and things happening in startup space.
  • Newsletter
  • Analytics
  • Integration with Twitter
  • Recommendation
  • It's really difficult when multiple people are editing the blog at same time. Some things change or get overwritten due to which have to reload the page multiple times. Would like to see an experience just like in Google docs.
Substack is well suited for people who want to run a newsletter. Like it's really good to share updates on your product, or your learnings. It is not suitable to write a series of blogs on particular topic as you can't create a series. Every blog is separate, you can obviously link those but if you want to create a new series, then there is no place on the substack which user can see as album where they can see the relevant blogs in that album.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
It's been an awful ordeal in previous years to try and keep up with all the content I want to push out to my followers. Forget trying to monetize anything or accept financial support in an integrated way. It has changed my workflow so much and made it much more efficient to use Substack for content distribution. Also, as a reader who likes to keep up with the latest in my industry, Substack collates my subscriptions for me, all in one place, so I can stay on top of my favorite writers without going down the social media rabbit hole.
  • integration of content with operations, like subscriptions & payment
  • design! clean and simple
  • curation of subscriptions I read
  • editor is on the primitive side - it's wysiwyg, but missing some embed options
  • integrate with google analytics
  • percentage cut that Substack takes can become a burden as your revenue grows. Problems scaling.
Substack is great for writers/content creators just getting started with wanting to monetize their ideas/content/writing, etc. The percentage-based fee that Substack gets is small if you have a small following. As your following grows, however, you might prefer a flat-rate platform like Ghost. If you're small, you're also not that likely to need a robust integration with Google Analytics. You're probably okay with just eyeballing your open rate. For putting publishing into the hands of the people, though, Substack is great.
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Substack is a great platform if you want to write and distribute newsletters with a large community so basically, content sharing things can be done so easily. Since it has a large number of users or readers so there are good chances that your newsletters will reach out to most of the folks. You may distribute either free or paying.
  • Quick and easy signup
  • User friendly UI
  • You can own your contents
  • No limit on free subscribers
  • Fee is nominal
  • Customisation
  • Can add more features
  • Add custom urls
Once you're happy with your newsletter, you just need to hit publish and it will get sent out to all your subscribers. How easy it is amazing so it's a simple way to reach a large community and you can send it out to free or paid subscribers. I don't find it less usable it's well suited.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I think that it is a great idea but I don’t think that they offer enough integration with other platforms, or provide enough ideas about how to market your substack or make it stand out in a crowded niche
  • Self publishing
  • Database management
  • Good interface
  • It can feel like you’re shouting in to the mist
  • Would be good if there was more integration with blog CMS
  • Needs more support helping people getting a paying database
It’s a fantastic way to monetise your content but you either need a very small dedicated audience or a huge one in order to make any money from it.
Carter Owen | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I use Substack personally to run a blog. I switched from Medium over a year ago and wanted to explore the ways I could monetize on the platform. The primary business problem it addresses was my inability to publish my Medium articles as part of a freestanding blog/portfolio separate from my account and the scope of my use was fairly simple (personal publishing and subscribing to a few newsletters here and there).
  • Content organization/discovery - really easy to search.
  • Newsletter/email integration - by far better at previewing and delivering content than any other site.
  • Visual UI/UX - stories are displayed very clunky, image previews aren't used well.
  • Promotion in-article - makes it hard to subscribe or donate while reading a piece. You have to finish it to see the option to, which most readers don't.
I think Substack is better for people who want to set up a personal-facing branded website vs people who just want to post random musings every so often. Monetization is better there than any other collective publishing platform as well as organic reach via email. Substack also allows you to build direct relationships with your readers via emails and own them 100% which is great long-term if you use it to pivot to another site or another form of writing/content creation.

Substack would be less helpful for someone wanting to write as a part of a group, not individually, or someone who's unwilling to put their personal brand behind their content. It's less optimized for SEO (which other platforms allow you to do) and can be harder to curate content based on your interests (you really have to go in knowing what you want vs finding it on the fly).
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
I use Substack to create promotional and educational content. I use a mini-blog format to write infomercials that explain various topics relating to the Hemp/CBD industry and Groovy Hemp Company. The problems addressed include branding and improving my store's searchability. The scope is very broad. A distinct brand identity sets my store apart from a very crowded field. A successful SEO campaign has been proven to drive a lot more sales than social media that is not 100% focused on video.
  • Because it has a very high Domain Authority ranking relevant backlinks in a published article will help make my store more searchable.
  • Substack is very easy to work in. The toolset they provide may not be as extensive as other platforms but it is certainly enough to create a meaningful, interesting post.
  • Substack is very focused on creating a community of writers that support each other. They run an ongoing email campaign that reinforces their focus on building a community of writers.
  • More clarity on why I would use Substack as a podcasting platform. I understand that it's a new thing for them but I'm not sure about making the switch until I see more hard, technical information. And yes, I am being picky about it.
  • They could provide a few more formatting tools for the writer even though what they currently provide does a good job.
  • Support for more extensive video tools. I understand that YouTube and TikTok dominate that arena but there's always room for more competition.
It's well-suited for a creative writer who is comfortable writing essays or short fiction. It's especially well-suited for writers who are focused on writing essays based on personal experiences. I'm not sure it has the tools at this point for someone who wants to serialize a novel or long-form non-fiction book. I'd like to see better multi-media tools for writers/content creators who are fluent in written and audio-visual methods of communicating.
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