DTC Writing with Priority Towards Content Ownership, UI Lacking
July 11, 2022

DTC Writing with Priority Towards Content Ownership, UI Lacking

Carter Owen | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Substack

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.
  • Email newsletter integration
  • UI/UX
  • Social media integration
  • Positive - greatest long-term potential in rev sharing and ownership.
  • Positive - expanded reach and network effects across multiple platforms.
  • Negative - another site to learn and content to duplicate w/o immediate payoff (training/staffing/education costs).
  • Medium and Blogger
Substack is the DTC version of traditional blogging sites - you own everything, both upside, and risk, which appeals to me more. Compared to Blogger, the ability to monetize and site interface is night and day better. Compared to Medium, which I think has a better interface and content curation abilities, Substack's advertising and promotion of your work are much better because they don't rely on premium members like Medium - it can get very click-baity there.

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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).