Substack tries to write a new story
The Future. The feeling that Twitter is going under any day now is Substack’s gain. The newsletter company, which has been on hard times this year, sees an opening for renewed growth and a better experience for writers and users. If Substack can make a strong case for why readers should ditch the doom scroll of Twitter for the self-curation of its platform, it can potentially be part of rewiring brains away from quick fixes of the attention economy.
Is Substack about to get a surge in the inbox?
- Substack was a pandemic darling, nabbing a $650 million valuation in late 2020. Yet, it only made $9 million in revenue in 2021 (the money comes from a 10% cut of paid subscriptions).
- But this year, it’s been hit with layoffs, top writers leaving for competitors, and a complicated reputation concerning content moderation.
- Substack was set to raise funds at a $1 billion valuation earlier this year, but then the economy took a nosedive, the fundraising scene was no longer a party, and Big Tech newsletter features were shut down (bad vibes for Substack).
- But, according to Insider, the chaos at Twitter has led several prominent writers to direct their followers to subscribe to their Substacks (something Twitter banned for like a minute).
So, Substack has a new mission: seize the moment of renewed popularity, roll out features that improve its writing and reading experience, and become financially self-sufficient.
A new edition
How is Substack pulling off that new mission?
- It introduced a chat function, Substack Chat, that makes it easier for writers to develop relationships with their subscribers.
- It launched an in-newsletter recommendation system where Substackers can link to other Substacks — that has already seen many writers’ followings increase.
And since Substack knows that its writers have relied on Twitter to promote their newsletter, the company recently released an app that becomes a hub for discovery and updates. Have to get the word out somehow…