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How to Make Money on Substack (2024)

And how to get there fast

Substack has become a popular platform for writers looking to monetize their content through email newsletters.

But can you really make money on Substack?

The short answer is yes, but it requires effort, consistency, and a solid strategy.

The real question is: How much money can you make on Substack 2024 and beyond?

This post will walk you through the key steps to maximize your earning potential on Substack.

Understanding Substack

For newbies:

Substack is an online platform that allows writers to publish content and earn money through paid subscriptions.

Writers keep about 90% of the subscription revenue, with Substack taking a 10% cut. This is the only direct way to earn money on Substack.

The platform has grown rapidly since its 2017 launch, now boasting millions of paid subscriptions across ten thousands of paid newsletters.

Setting Realistic Expectations

With those numbers in your face, the most important thing to keep in mind is… context.

You’re not going to be rich after posting a couple of posts on Substack.

Before diving into how to make money on Substack, it’s critical to set realistic expectations.

While some top writers earn millions annually, most Substack creators start small and grow gradually (and slowly).

Success on Substack is a long-term game that requires patience and persistence.

Choosing Your Niche

To make money on Substack, you need to offer something valuable to your readers.

And by value, I don’t just mean good content. There’s much more to it than “just” great content.

Far superior here is the expertise or niche building.

Consider these approaches:

  1. Educational content: Teach specific skills
  2. Informational content: Share expert knowledge
  3. Entertainment: Provide humor, nostalgia, or joy
  4. Time-saving: Curate relevant information
  5. Money-making: Offer financial or business insights
  6. Small niche markets: Offer unique advice to very specific (small) niches & topics.
  7. Location-based newsletters: Topics that interest a specific town, city, state, etc. (Those types of newsletters are on the rise right now)

Select a topic you’re passionate about and can consistently deliver high-quality content on.

Developing Your Unique Voice

To stand out and make money on Substack, you need to differentiate yourself. Ideally.

This could mean:

  • Developing a distinctive writing style
  • Exploring unconventional topics
  • Using unique formatting or multimedia elements

Building Your Audience

Growing your subscriber base is crucial to make money on Substack.

Here are some strategies:

  1. Start with free, high-quality content to attract readers
  2. Leverage your existing network and social media presence
  3. Engage with other Substack writers and readers
  4. Use Substack’s built-in features like Notes and Recommendations
  5. Consistently produce valuable content

Utilizing Substack Features

Substack offers several features to help you grow and monetize your newsletter:

  • Substack Boost: Helps offer strategic discounts to readers
  • Recommendations: Increases visibility among other Substack users
  • Substack Notes: Allows sharing of short-form content
  • Comments: Engages readers and builds community

Determining Your Pricing Strategy

When you’re ready to make money on Substack, you’ll need to decide on your pricing. Consider:

  • What value are you providing?
  • What are similar newsletters charging?
  • Do you want to offer different tiers?

Most successful Substacks offer a mix of free and paid content to attract and retain subscribers.

Consistency is Key

Always…

To make money on Substack, consistency is king. Aim to publish at least once a week, maintaining a regular schedule for both free and paid subscribers. This builds trust and keeps your audience engaged.

Increasing Perceived Value

To justify your pricing and make more money on Substack, focus on increasing the perceived value of your newsletter.

This could include:

  • Adding multimedia elements like images or videos
  • Incorporating data and original analysis
  • Providing exclusive content or access for paid subscribers
  • Offering community features like discussion threads

Promoting Your Newsletter

To make money on Substack, you need to actively promote your work:

  1. Share your content on social media (including Substack Notes)
  2. Guest write for other publications
  3. Participate in relevant online communities
  4. Collaborate with other Substack writers

Engaging With Your Audience

Building a strong connection with your readers can help you make more money on Substack:

  • Respond to comments and emails
  • Host Q&A sessions or live chats
  • Create opportunities for reader interaction

Personal connection is key in a world bombarded by AI content.

Diversifying Your Income Streams

While subscriptions are the primary way to make money on Substack, consider additional revenue sources:

  • Sponsored content (clearly disclosed)
  • Digital products or courses
  • Consulting services
  • Speaking engagements
  • Adv´ertisement spots

Analyzing Your Performance

Regularly review your Substack stats to understand what’s working:

  • Which posts generate the most engagement?
  • What topics resonate with your audience?
  • When do most conversions happen?

Use these insights to refine your strategy and make more money on Substack.

It can help a lot to connect the Google Search Console to your Substack publication to get even more detailed information about your readers and popular content.

(Guide here ↗)

Learning from Successful Substack Writers

Study top-earning Substacks in your niche to gather ideas and inspiration.

Some of the highest-earning newsletters on Substack generate over $1 million annually, proving the platform’s potential.

And there is a reason for their success, most likely.

Overcoming Challenges

Making money on Substack isn’t without challenges:

  • Building an audience takes time
  • Consistently producing quality content can be demanding
  • Pricing your work appropriately can be tricky
  • Standing out in a crowded market requires effort

Stay focused on your goals and remember that success often comes gradually.

Is Substack Right for You?

While Substack offers great potential to make money, it’s not for everyone.

Consider your goals:

  • Career change: Substack could become your primary income source, but it takes time
  • Side hustle: Substack is excellent for supplemental income
  • Hobby: Even if you’re not focused on monetization, Substack is a user-friendly platform for sharing your writing

Also consider the type of posts/newsletters you want to create and send:

  • If you typically work like a blogger, Substack is a great fit.
  • If you’re looking for an automation-based email platform that sends your newsletters on the basis of specific triggers or actions, Substack is not a good fit. You should be looking into platforms like ConvertKit or Beehiiv for that.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to make money on Substack requires dedication, creativity, and strategic thinking. As most things do.

By focusing on delivering value to your readers, consistently producing quality content, and effectively promoting your work, you can build a loyal subscriber base and generate meaningful income.

Success on Substack is a marathon, not a sprint.

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