Sign Up
What is Substack? The Content Platform is Changing the Game for Brands & Media Alike
May 17th, 2023
Blog Cover Image

Even if you’re not active on Substack yourself, you’ve likely heard the name of the platform quite a bit lately. So what is Substack and how can you use it? The content creation platform launched in 2017 and has grown since then. It’s now popular among writers, journalists, and other experts and thought leaders as a way to not only directly connect with readers through email newsletters and other content, but also to monetize their work on their own terms. As a result, it’s something that has increasingly caught journalists' attention as they’ve dealt with a changing industry and increasing layoffs.

Substack is changing the way writers and other content creators are able to work, whether it’s their main focus and form of income, or something supplementary. Because Substack is a subscription-based model, creators don’t rely on ads to earn an income. The platform is free to use for creators (and anyone else!), but if you monetize your work on Substack, the platform will take a 10% fee from your revenue.

How can brands use Substack?

Whether they're working to build an audience on the platform or hoping to keep up with journalists who may have press opportunities for them, brands and experts can absolutely make Substack work for them.

Creating content

More content is rarely a bad idea, and Substack is a great place to branch out from social media content and create longer-form newsletters, looks behind the scenes, expert analysis, and more. Not only can you reach your current audience through your Substack, but you can also build your subscriber base by adding additional engaged readers, potentially leading to new customers as well.

Expanding your brand

Build out premium content or a loyalty program for paid subscribers using Substack. There are tons of options and opportunities to easily add on to your free channel and expand into a paid version as well.


Keep in touch with the media

Many journalists have their own Substacks in which they do a variety of things. Some do long-form journalism or cover stories that they couldn’t find a home for elsewhere. Other journalists share industry news and media opportunities in their Substacks. Stay up to date with what those in your industry are working on and be sure to be ready to submit yourself for any relevant opportunities they include in their newsletters. This is just one more way you can up your chances for earned media coverage.

Establish yourselves as thought leaders

No matter the industry in which you work, you likely have some expertise that others would find valuable. Consider launching a company Substack in which key stakeholders can share insights and analysis on industry trends, news, advice, and more. Growing your brand awareness (and potentially finding media opportunities through this venue as well!) is never a bad thing.

Build your community

Substack’s Notes, Chat, and comments features allow subscribers and writers alike to interact with one another and build a greater sense of community. If this is a goal of yours, Substack might be a good platform to explore.

The digital landscape is ever-changing and it can feel like it’s hard to keep up. But doing your best to evaluate trending platforms and determine if or how they may fit into your overall content and PR strategy can help you craft plans that truly work for your brand. Whether you’re on Substack primarily to see what journalists are working on or you’re hoping to build your own online community there, staying true to your brand mission and creating value for your audience will help you succeed.