The media world is in a constant evolutionary state and so it’s little wonder the word ‘gamechanger’ is bandied around every time a potential industry disruptor starts to make waves. However, the noun seems particularly appropriate for Substack, which is shaping up to rain further anarchy on the publishing industry.
However, while Substack has shown strong growth since its launch in 2017 and is hailed by some as the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of the dying traditional media industry, there are still huge swathes of the population that haven’t heard of it.
For those not yet in the know, Substack is essentially an online, email newsletter publishing platform, that allows writers to send content directly to its subscribers. Subscribers can decide if they want to pay for a subscription, whereby they get all the content a writer produces on the platform, or subscribe for free, which means they only get a select amount of content. The platform also has the capacity to host podcasts.
The beauty of this subscription model, and what is motivating more journalists and authors to sign up, is that it puts editorial control back in their hands; allows them to express their own views rather than a publisher’s; and, crucially, earns them revenue. It’s this potent mix of benefits that is driving such growth. And for consumers, they get curated content, without the Machiavellian forces of algorithms or modern editorial irritants such as click bait articles disrupting the reading experience.
What makes Substack interesting for marketing pros though, is its PR potential. Firstly, by subscribing to newsletters in your niche – be that food and drink, fashion, beauty or a myriad of other categories Substack lets you explore – you are served with articles that keep you abreast of news and trends in your industry (and written in a way that hasn’t been filtered by an editor’s heavy hand or a publisher’s news bias). Secondly, to help journalists write their paywalled content, they may be looking for exclusive news, product launches, data, interviews or thought leadership commentary, so it provides a new avenue for pitches (and handily, some journalists use their Substacks to request pitches or help with stories). Finally, if your brand or spokesperson does get coverage on a Substack, it is worth its weight in gold PR-wise, as it is guaranteed to be reaching a highly targeted, and super engaged reader.
As other areas of the media world dry up to editorial possibilities, and commercial realities take the heart and soul out of traditional media outlets, Substack brings exciting new avenues to explore. If your brand isn’t already on the front foot with it, why not drop us a line to find out how we could support you: firstname.lastname@example.org.