Substack has emerged as a powerful publishing and newsletter platform, revolutionizing the world of newsletter writing. Its popularity for consuming written content online is skyrocketing, and political campaigns are beginning to leverage its capabilities to effectively communicate with voters. Congressman Jeff Jackson of North Carolina is among the prominent political figures using Substack. In this post, we delve into what Substack is and how campaigns can seamlessly integrate it into their overarching strategies.
What Is Substack?
Substack is a versatile platform that allows creators to publish newsletters and simultaneously post content on the web. It has gained acclaim among professional writers for its monetization features, including the ability to charge readers subscriptions and place exclusive content behind paywalls for paying subscribers. Political campaigns should consider Substack due to its network effects and its effectiveness in content deliverability and distribution.
Moreover, Substack boasts an array of functionalities such as drafting, sending, and publishing email newsletters. It also integrates social media features like commenting on newsletters, re-sharing them to followers, creating author profiles, and sharing excerpts from different newsletters.
How Does Substack Work?
While you can read content on Substack without an account, you’ll need to create one to subscribe to publications, engage in discussions, share content, or launch your own publication. When starting a newsletter, you’ll name your publication and create a profile as an individual author. Substack requires subscribers to opt-in, and it’s advisable not to import too many existing emails as Substack excels at email deliverability.
If you decide to charge subscriptions, you’ll need to provide bank account information. However, campaigns should tread carefully due to compliance issues related to collecting information from potential donors. Once your publication is up and running, you can create content with a plethora of tools, including embedding videos and section breaks, designed for a long-form reading experience.
What Content Should You Share?
Substack is a hub for substantive content from world-renowned writers. Therefore, your campaign needs to deliver substantial material such as policy updates, op-eds, analyses, and interviews. This platform is not suited for shallow fundraising tactics or hyperbolic rhetoric; it’s for campaigns aiming to cultivate a community around meticulously crafted content.
Integrating Substack into Your Campaign
Maintain your primary email list for fundraising and volunteer engagement, but also promote your Substack to supporters seeking more in-depth updates. Aim to publish on Substack at least once a week, and remember that consistency is key in audience growth.
Substack is ideal for sharing pertinent updates with specific supporter groups such as top donors and key influencers. A major advantage of using Substack is its deliverability, ensuring that your content reaches subscribers’ inboxes.
Growing Your Audience
Substack offers tools that harness network effects, which are highly sought after in social media platforms. You can recommend other publications to your subscribers, fostering reciprocity as they may follow suit by recommending yours.
Engage with comments to foster community, and use features like re-sharing and note creation to share content you’ve read with your audience. Another effective growth strategy is writing guest posts for other publications, which can attract followers even if you don’t have your own publication.
Substack represents an innovative and popular channel that political campaigns should explore to enhance their email strategies beyond fundraising. With Substack, the emphasis is on delivering insightful, long-form content. Building an audience on Substack requires offering content distinct from what you disseminate through traditional email campaigns.