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.