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6 Best Substack Alternatives To Send Your Email Newsletter

Sometimes we confuse “popularity” with the “best”.

Substack is undoubtedly popular when it comes to newsletter creation platforms. But, you’re mistaken if you thought that’s the only creator-friendly platform out there to send your next email newsletter.

Substack was founded in 2017 as a means to send digital newsletters in an email format directly to subscribers. Substack allowed its users to easily set up paid newsletters and cut the middle man out while accepting payments from a subscriber.

It allowed its users to literally own their subscribers and reach them directly in their inboxes instead of depending on algorithms and staying up-to-date with all the platform changes (looking at you, Instagram 👀).

Substack quickly became one of the top “second sources of income” for many writers, journalists, and creators.

Substack’s biggest disadvantage

Despite its myriad of creator-friendly features, Substack is slowly trying to lock its readers into using its “platform” instead of getting the content delivered as a good ol’ email.

How?” You ask.

In March 2022, Substack released an app.

It might look like a small extension to what they’re already doing until you actually experience it as one of its users.

Ernie Smith, the author of Tedium and one of our Swapstack users, says:

“The app itself seems like a small gesture, whatever, every other company has an app, too, right? But when you load the app, it does something that makes you immediately question its motives—it discourages readers from continuing to get messages in their email, instead of relying on the app to read those messages.”

— From his recent newsletter issue: Congratulations, You’ve Been Platformed 📫

Note: After a continuous backlash from the community of writers, Substack has now turned off the feature that defaults to disabling emails when someone downloads their reader app.

Although Substack allows its users to collect email addresses, it is very clear that it is encouraging its readers to use its app as opposed to getting newsletters delivered only to their inboxes.

So, I did some research and came up with the 6 best alternatives for Substack so you can continue doing the good work you’re already doing as a newsletter writer.

Substack Alternatives

1. Revue

If there’s any platform that’s very similar to what Substack does, then that’s got to be Revue.

Highlights of Revue:

  • People can subscribe to Revue newsletters directly from your Tweets and Twitter profile.
  • Share just 5% of paid newsletter revenues (Substack takes a 10% cut).
  • Build on Revue’s features or use Zapier to connect with Revue.
  • Cross-publish your Revue posts on Medium, WordPress, and more.
  • It’s completely free!

2. ConvertKit

If you’re a creator, then you must have come across ConvertKit already. It’s one of the best marketing platforms for a creator to grow an audience base and monetize your creations through a newsletter, podcast, a book, a community, and more!

Highlights of ConvertKit:

  • You can build beautiful landing pages for your newsletter and digital products through ConvertKit. No need to go for an external platform to host your “Subscribe” page.
  • It has 50+ integrations with popular platforms like Squarespace, Teachable, Shopify. You can browse the full list of integrations here. What more? They’ve pre-built Zaps ready for you to use!
  • One of my favourite features of ConvertKit is how they support selling digital products like e-books, paid newsletters, coaching sessions, and many other formats to fully take advantage of being a creator.
  • It also comes with advanced automation and segmentation features to accelerate your career as a full-time creator.

3. Medium

Publishing on Medium and sending your posts as a newsletter is free. The stories you publish are not just for the people who follow you but Medium’s strength lies in distributing your posts to the right people.

Highlights of Medium:

  • Medium is one of the best platforms to distribute your content and reach your ideal reader. It also has some amazing domain authority, making your blog post easier to rank on the Top 10 search results on Google.
  • Medium also has a program called the Medium Partner Program where writers can get paid based on how many minutes their articles are read by its paying readers.
  • All your blog posts can also be sent as a daily digest or weekly digest to your reader’s inboxes.
  • Medium is completely free to start your writing journey.

Read more on this: Substack vs Medium: Which Platform to Start Writing On in 2022

4. Curated

If you’re more of a curator than a writer, then this platform is for you!

Win inbox attention with Curated’s incredible features to curate content for your reader.

Highlights of Curated:

  • As you discover interesting content, capture it in seconds using their one-click ‘Save to Curated’ link.
  • One of their best features is their editor which makes editing effortless. You can just glance over the links you collected and click on that “+” icon to add them to your newsletter.
  • You can also set up paid subscriptions for which they take 0% commission!
  • However, the Curated platform is free only for up to 1,500 subscribers. Once you grow beyond this number, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to continue using their platform and features. Here’s the pricing page.

5. Ghost

As far as I’m aware, Ghost started off as a Substack alternative and became much more than that. It is still one of the best alternatives to Substack and a popular suggestion among newsletter writers.

For only $9/mo, you can set-up a blog, a paid newsletter, and build a community around your content. Ghost doesn’t take any cut from your earnings other than the monthly fee to maintain your blog.

Highlights of Ghost:

  • Ghost takes 0% cut from your paid subscriptions so you get to keep all your hard-earned money.
  • If you’re a blogger and a newsletter writer, you can leverage SEO by opting for Ghost.
  • You can use a Ghost website to send newsletters, as a blog, and as a membership platform for no extra cost other than the monthly fee.

6. Beehiiv

If you’re looking for a newsletter platform that has a little bit more features like built-in advanced segmentation, referral program, and advanced customization to suit your editing needs, then try Beehiiv.

Highlights of Beehiiv:

  • One feature that stands out to me from the rest of the newsletter platforms out there is Beehii’v built-in Referral program to help you grow your subscriber base.
  • They also claim to offer superior analytics and advanced segmentation to understand reader’s behaviour and derive valuable insights about your audience.
  • They also offer unlimited sending with their free plan and quite a few “key” features under their free plan.
  • Keep in mind that this is pretty much a new platform so you might run into problems before the platform proves itself.

Conclusion: Which Substack alternative is better?

Personally, I’d suggest you go with Revue because it literally takes 5 minutes to set up. Since it’s also integrated with Twitter, it’s a lot easier to gain your first 1,000 subscribers by leveraging the platform instead of worrying about deliverability and other technicalities.

Once you understand how newsletter platforms work, you’ll gain an understanding of which features matter to you the most.

If you’re into Analytics, go for Ghost or Beehiiv.

If you’re into advanced segmentation of your audience, go for ConvertKit.

If you’re into curation and don’t mind other features, go for Curated or stick with Revue.

What’s your choice of weapon when it comes to sending newsletters? Do you have a personal favourite on this list?

Tag us on Twitter @SwapstackHQ and share your recommendations and thoughts on this article.

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