Substack Course for Creative People 17

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In this lesson you will learn:

  • How to get your first 100 subscribers on Substack
  • How to find the Substack blog to get tips on becoming popular on Substack


Okay, guys, so now I want to talk to you about getting your first 100 signups on Substack. When you start a brand new newsletter, obviously, the big thing is, after you wrote a couple of posts is where can I find some people to read these posts? That’s what I want to talk about now.

This video will help you get your first hundred signups on Substack. So the first thing, you want to tell everyone you know, tell your friends, coworkers and acquaintance that you’ve started a newsletter. It’s okay to email them from your personal email to let them know. Be sure to include a link for them to subscribe if they choose. Bring it up in conversation over lunch and whenever you meet someone new . Link to your publication everywhere you can make yourself discoverable to increase the chances that a stranger will stumble upon your work.

Add your Substack URL to your email signature, personal website and bio on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Post on Twitter or Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. about starting a newsletter and asking your followers to subscribe. Pin a tweet about it to the top of your Twitter feed. Tell them what it’s about and why you think they’d like it. As you publish new posts, keep sharing your excerpts and insights.

Here are a couple of little tidbits from other Substack writers:

“My first hundred subscribers were all friends. I’d send them a note saying hey, I sent an email that I think you’ll dig. I’d add them to the list. And pretty quickly after getting a couple of my emails I get a love this response to this day. The one by one approach has been my most successful.” -Shelby Erickson.

“I tweet about my Substack at least once a day, not always direct links to the stack or anything so obvious. But hey, my dad thought the thing I wrote was ridiculous. Or Wow, you guys really liked this issue. And I make sure to tweet a lot about my normal life or politics or my usual beat so people don’t get really sick of me plugging my stuff all the time. -Jay

“Surprisingly, LinkedIn was a huge source of subscribers. I didn’t realize how many connections I had. -Sam Becker.

The next thing is be consistent. One, pick a regular writing schedule and stick to it, whether daily, weekly, bi weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. The important part is being consistent. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to say yet. Getting into a rhythm will help you find your voice and feel more confident sharing your publication.

As new visitors come across your publication, they’re more likely to sign up when they see that you’re active, to let your personality shine through. The best part about writing for a subscriber audience, that your readers are there to hear how you think, so be yourself. Even if you’re writing about a narrow topic. Don’t be afraid to give it your own personal spin, it will make your writing more memorable and more likely to be shared.

Keep a good portion of your content free at this stage; you’re still trying to increase the chances that new readers will discover your writing. Paid publication is important. But if you’re still building an audience, focus on building your free email list as a priority. The larger your free list grows, the easier it will become to get paid subscribers from Substack.

“I’ve made sure to publish regular posts and then post links to each issue on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. On Twitter, I tag writers whose work on promoting and their pubs so they’re aware of it. I include the link to the newsletter and my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and my email signature. I have a sizable LinkedIn following and once in a while a celebrity might happen across you and give you a push. But nothing beats the consistency of regularly writing great stuff.” -Azeem Azhar

“My first 30 were just friends who asked pretty simply, oh, I’m starting this new project, I would love to get your thoughts or insights and if you hate it, or if it’s annoying, then it’s easy to unsubscribe. The rest have come from hitting on certain topics that resonated more broadly, and brought in a lot of new readers.” -Luke Mokai.

Tap into other people’s audiences. At this point, you’ve tapped your immediate network. So I make sure I’ve got the tap into your immediate tap into other people’s audiences. At this point, you’ve tapped your immediate network and written a bunch of posts you’re proud of now spread the word to people you don’t know. Ask your friends with big audiences to share your newsletter, you’re more likely to get a positive response, if you give them something that’s relevant to their followers that they feel good about sharing. Perhaps it’s a specific post that covers a topic they cared about deeply.

If you don’t know anyone with a big following, try cold emailing or DMing. Someone you admire whose audience overlaps with yours, and ask them a thoughtful question. briefly introduce yourself by saying you write, or just link to your Substack from your email signature, chances are, they’ll get curious and click through.

This also works if you’re interacting with interesting people on social media. Make sure your subset URL is in your bio.  Don’t be spammy. If they’re genuinely thoughtful and curious, people would dig deeper on their own.

“Tell people when you write about them; people like to read about themselves. If you write about someone with an audience, tag them and your tweets or posts. Aim for people who are a little bit more well known and you write something substantial, instead of just name dropping, so they’re excited to read, share and respond.

Go to events, meetups, conferences, dinner parties attended by your target audience. If you write about knitting, go to a knitting group. If you write about soccer, go to a soccer club. When you RSVP to an event list your Substack URL as your affiliation and add it to your name tag. If you have a great conversation with someone at the event, mentioned your publication and perhaps even gently suggest that check it out. Five, try to get a few big hits write a high quality content that stands a chance of getting picked out picked up by other websites.

People with big audiences like outlets that match your target audience. There’s no magic formula for doing this. But one big hit can bring you thousands of new readers from other Substack writers.

My third article blew up when the Globe and Mail Canada’s biggest newspaper featured it. I bugged the personal finance writer the globe on Twitter, and it worked.” -Jacob Jackson.

“My foreign bodies audience is interested in Immigrant Policy and mental health. So I reached out to immigration reporters and advocates plus organizations involved in mental health stigma reduction, I asked if they would want to be added to the listserv. And instead of asking them to sign up if they showed interest, I manually added their preferred emails for the Parana.

In summary, guys, it can take time to build your email list, but the value of your list compounds over time, with each new person who subscribes you increase your chances of those people telling their friends about it and getting that many more readers and signups Be patient and keep at it. Listen for more suggestions from other Substack riders, check out the discussion thread on sub stacks blog, as well as how the these links got our first 2000 signups look.

Now how do you find these posts I’m going to show you, you go to You go to the blog, then you go to community. And I’m getting ready to show you right now how to do that. So what you want to do is you want to come over here to substack we’re on our dashboard right now currently, what I want to do is I want to go to Now when I get to, I can scroll all the way down here to the bottom. And way down here you’re gonna find a little something called blog right here under company. Go to the blog. This is substack blog, it’s It’s sub stacks, personal substack. And what you want to do is you want to go to the community section. Now on this community section, you’re going to find a lot of really cool stuff being talked about that has to do with Substack and getting better those posts that were mentioned in the slideshow you can find very easily by clicking down here on see all and when I click on see all I’m going to get everything that they have posted in their community discussion thread.

There’s this one comments on how to go from zero to 2000 signups and if I scroll down a little bit further, I’m gonna find a post called tell us how did you get your first 100 subscribers? Click on that and you’re gonna have a ton of people here talking about how they got their first hundred subscribers.

Pretty awesome, pretty helpful. And I hope it’s helped you. That’s it for this one guys and I will see you in the next video.


Substack Course for Creative People 16

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In this lesson, you will learn:

  • How to export ALL your stuff if you want to back it up or move everything to another platform.




One of the beautiful things about a platform like Substack is that you are not tied down to this platform. You can leave here at any time and take all your stuff with you, your posts, your email lists, your subscriber lists, your podcasts, everything you can take with you.

Let me show you how to do it. Go to your Dashboard and then to Settings. Then scroll down until you reach Export your Data. This is gonna allow you to export your posts, email list, and related emails.

Statistics will send you an email when your data export is ready to be downloaded. And it happens pretty quick. You just create a new export. And there it is.

As you can see, it only took a few seconds. Now clearly, this is a brand new account. So there’s not a lot of data. If you have a lot more data, obviously it might take a few more seconds to do it than what it took me. But the fact of the matter is, it happens really really quickly.

That’s how you do it. And that is amazing because you can take that data and you can go anywhere and set up shop again; you’re not tied down to Substack. That’s it for this video. Let’s move on to the next one.


Substack Course for Creative People 15

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Substack Course Video #15 – Total Email List Vs. Subscribers List

You will learn:

  • The difference between the Total Email List and the Subscribers List



Okay, so here I am back on my newsletter Truth about Bigfoot. And one of the things that might be confusing to people on Substack is some of the lingo they use here.

One of the things here that’s kind of confusing is the difference between a subscriber list and an email list. What I want to show you now is what that means.

So come over here to your dashboard. Then come over here to subscribers. And what you’ll see is that you have a Total Email List. And then you have Total Subscribers List.

Now, what is the difference between an email list and a subscribers list? On Substack, it’s basically the email list is the people who are not paying. (ALL the email lists that you have on Substack.) Most of these may be your free subs.

The subscribers list, these are the people who actually pay you every month. So just be aware that the people who are signed up for free they are part of your email list. Once they become paid members, and they’re actually paying you every month. They are your subscribers. That’s the only difference. I hope that helps and I’ll see you in the next video.


Substack Course for Creative People 14

Header for postsSubstack Course Video #14 – Creating Multiple Newsletters

You will learn:

  • How to create a second, third, fourth or any number of newsletters centered on different topics
  • How to switch back and forth between the different topic newsletters that you are publishing


So you know, one of the great things about Substack is, it’s a totally free platform and you can create as many newsletters (on different topics) as you want here.

Now, let’s say I want to create a whole new newsletter about something else. And they’re going to be about separate things. But they’re going to be under my same Substack account.

Like I told you before, you have one Substack account. And it’s kind of like this media Publishing Group. And you can have multiple newsletters in that account.

You can even have different people writing for those different newsletters. You might just be running several newsletters and you might not be writing any of them.

So how do you create multiple newsletters in your Substack account? Here we are on the dashboard of Truth about Bigfoot. I’m on the dashboard Truth about Bigfoot, and you see my URL is

Well, if I want to create a new newsletter, I need to go back to and I go into my dashboard. Instead of doing that, you see I’m logged in, but what I want to do come down here to Start Publishing I’m going to make this newsletter topic whatever. This is another (separate) publication. I’ll just call this one Easy Email for Newbies.  This is about “How to write the easy, make money, online emails that can work for anyone.”

Website URL, this is going to be EasyEmailforNewbies, and it’s basically the same exact process that I did last time. I can bring over a list from MailChimp or somewhere else if I want to. We’re just going to skip that here. And we see I’ve got it done. Now I’ve got a brand new newsletter.

And we see I’m on the easy email for newbies dashboard. And we can go through the whole process and set this new newsletter up just the way we want it.

But the question is, how do I get back to my other newsletter? How do I see both of the newsletters. Here is how you do it:

Come back to, the homepage for Substack. Then come up here to Fats Media Publishing; that’s the name of my my account. Now instead of going to dashboard, I want to go to Account Settings.

When I get to Account Settings, I’m going to see all of my publications right here. I have Easy Email for Newbies and I have Truth about Bigfoot. Now I can go to whichever dashboard I want. Boom. If I mess up an accidentally go to the wrong Dashboard, I can go back and go to the other dashboard, just like that.

Whenever I want to switch dashboards between my newsletter, all I have to do is go back to Click on Account Settings. And I will see a list of my publications. Pretty great! That’s it for this one and I’ll see you guys in the next video.


Substack Course for Creative People 13

Header for postsSubstack Course Video #13 – Adding Email Addresses Manually

You will learn:

  • Where to get email addresses that you can add manually.
  • Where you go in your Substack account to add those email address to grow your email list


Now I want to show you how to add subscribers manually to your Substack newsletter (email list).

When you first start a new newsletter on a platform like Substack, your first initial challenge is to get some people subscribed to your newsletter. Sometimes that can be difficult when you’re first getting started.

One of the best ways to do it is manual outreach. That means reaching out to people individually, letting them know about your new newsletter and asking them if you can sign them up to your newsletter. And what that essentially means is they give you their email personally and you come over here to your Substack account and enter their email manually.

The way you do that is very simple. Go to your Dashboard and then to the Subscribers section. Then click on the Add Subscribers button.

Then  you have two choices. You either import  free signups from CSV, which I showed you in an earlier video or you enter an individual’s email address manually.

You can easily add people, for instance, Separate them by commas.

“Success they’ve been imported.” And that’s how you add people’s email address manually to your Substack newsletter.


Substack Course for Creative People 12

Substack Course Video #12 – Changing Rates on Paid Newsletters

You will learn:

  • How to raise or lower your subscription price
  • What to expect regarding people who are paying the old subscription price before you change the monthly or yearly rate.



So what if you have an existing subscription model here, you have an existing newsletter on Substack, and you’ve been charging people $5 a month. It’s a paid newsletter. But now you’d like to up the price to $8 a month. You can change your subscription price, no problem.

All you need to do is log into your dashboard, then go to settings. Scroll down to your Paid Newsletter section, set up pay subscriptions.

Now you can change the price to whatever you want. I’ll change this from five dollars to seven. I’ll change this from $50 to $70. It’s as simple as that. I can change the founding member if I want to to $175  and click Save.

What I want you to know about this is that the new rates will only affect the people who are signing up from this point forward – AFTER you change the rates. The people who have already signed up for your newsletter and who are already paying a certain amount, their price won’t be increased. They will be grandfathered in at the price they signed up for.

And that is all there really is to it. Very, very simple to do. And very, very helpful. That’s all for this one and I will see you in the next video.


Substack Course for Creative People 11

Substack Course Video 11 – Importing Podcasts

You will learn:

  • How to find the URL of the RSS feed of your existing podcasts on other platforms
  • How to migrate those existing podcasts from another podcast hosting site to the Substack podcast hosting site



Now I want to show you how to import your existing podcast episodes.

Basically, if you already have a podcast, you’ve put it somewhere else. But now you want to use Substack (to host those podcasts). I want to show you how to do it really quick.

So come over to your Dashboard. Then go to Settings. Okay, and you want to scroll down until you get to your Podcasts section.

Once you get to your Podcast Settings, you want to scroll down until you come to Import an Existing Podcast RSS Feed. Alright, so this is very similar to importing posts; it’s done in the same way. If you already have a podcast, you can migrate it from your old podcast host to consolidate everything on Substack. And it only takes a few minutes.

So we just click on this button import existing podcast. Step one, paste in your current RSS Feed URL. You can find this in your Apple podcast dashboard, Just login, click on your podcast and copy the URL from the first line, not the smaller mirror URL below. Right.

Now, I know that not all of you might have Apple podcasts, you might not all be using that (platform). I just want you to know that no matter where you’re hosting your podcast, it’s going to be a little bit different for everyone. However, what you basically want to do is you want to figure out what the RSS Feed URL is for your podcast.

For example, I have a podcast that’s hosted on If I go over to my anchor account and log in, I come up here to settings, and I come up here to distribution, I will see my RSS feed right there. I can easily copy that. Come over here to Substack and paste it right there. I can Submit it, and boom. And here we go. My episodes will come up and I can import all episodes. And it’s as simple as that.


Substack Course for Creative People 10

Substack Course Video 10 – Importing Posts

You will learn:

  • How to import posts that you’ve already written.
  • Where your imported post will appear.


Next, what I want to do is show you how to import posts that you’ve already written from other places, say your email list, or say from your blog or from some other location – how would you import those into your Substack account.

The first thing I want to point out is that when you import posts to Substack, all those posts will not go out to all your existing subscribers. That won’t happen. But they will be on Substack for people to find on this platform, and for your email subscribers to look through if they visit this platform.

But how do you import all that content? Here’s how you do it. Come over to dashboard settings. Under setup the basics, scroll down to import posts and click on Import Posts. Import post allows you to bring your archive from MailChimp, WordPress tiny letter review, Tumblr or your website with an RSS feed, import. Click on Import.

You need to paste your RSS Feed URL. Most WordPress websites will be word /feed – a forward slash and the word feed.

Then click on getting Get Started. And then it’ll give you some instructions here because it’s a WordPress site. And it’ll give you some instructions on how to export your posts and then upload them to Substack.

It could be a tiny bit different depending on where you’re importing the post from. But essentially, it starts with Import, and enter your RSS feed. And that’s how you do it. It’s very simple.

As I said, if you have an existing subscriber list on  Substack and you import posts from another platform, those posts won’t go out to all your existing subscribers. So just keep that in mind. Your subscribers won’t be bombarded with a bunch of brand new posts that you’re importing. That’s it and I’ll see you in the next video.


Substack Course for Creative People 09

Header for postsSubstack Course Video About Importing an Existing Email List

You will learn:

  • How to get the list of email addresses from your other list service to import into Substack
  • How to import that list into the Substack list feature


Next thing I want to show you is how to import an email list if you have an existing list. This is where I want to show you how to import that list of emails into your Substack newsletter.

The first thing you want to go to your dashboard. Click on settings and scroll down here to import your email list. You’ll see something that says import CSV. Or you’ll see something that says important individual email.

You can import individual emails manually one by one separated by commas if you like. If you just have five or 10 to enter, maybe that’s the best way to go. But if you have hundreds and hundreds or thousands of email addresses that you need to enter, then CSV is the way to go.

So how do you get your CSV? Well, most platforms, most autoresponder platforms will allow you to download your list of emails. You just go over to your platform (such as MailChimp). Go to the list section. You’ll see something that says export active lists. From there you can download them (into a CSV format spreadsheet).

Go back to Substack were it says you can import your list. Browse for your file and choose it. Confirm that you have the consent from these email addresses to distribute your newsletter to them. Click on OK.

And just as easy as that I imported successful 67 new emails added. And then very quickly, you’ll have the subscribers there. If you go over to subscribers, you’ll see that 67 have been added. You can scroll down and you can see the individual emails right there have all been added. Very, very cool. And that’s how you do it.



Substack Course for Creative People 08

Header for postsSubstack Video about Publishing a Private Newsletter

You will learn:

  • Where to find the settings to make your newsletter private
  • How to invite just certain people to read it
  • How paid subscribers can be allowed to invite a number of friends to receive your private newsletter



Next thing I want to teach you is how to create a private publication.

You could create a newsletter on Substack that nobody can see on the Substack website. It won’t even be seen by search engines. In fact, the only people who will be able to see this newsletter are people that you personally invite.

Here’s how you would do something like this. Go to your dashboard. settings.  Scroll down until you get to the import your email list section. And here is a little checkbox called {Invite only mode}  When turned on, visitors to Truth about Bigfoot will not be able to see any posts or content unless invited by you. This will make Truth about Bigfoot blocked from the public.

And then I have a couple of options. Once I do that, it says let paying subscribers invite, nobody, up to one friend, up to three friends, up to five friends or up to 10 friends. Each of your paying subscribers can invite a number of other people to Truth about Bigfoot You choose how many invites they should have, if any. Click here to send some invites yourself.

That’s the invite only mode and that is how you would create a private newsletter.