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What Is the Difference Between a Follower and a Subscriber on Substack?

Substack is a popular platform that allows writers to create and publish their own newsletters. One of the features of Substack is the ability to have both followers and subscribers. While these terms may seem interchangeable, there are actually some key differences between the two.

Followers on Substack are people who have chosen to follow a writer’s profile. They will see the writer’s notes and some reading activity such as post likes. However, they will not receive the writer’s posts in their inbox. On the other hand, subscribers are people who have chosen to subscribe to a writer’s Substack publication. They will receive the writer’s posts via email and/or the Substack app.

Understanding the difference between followers and subscribers is important for both writers and readers on Substack. Writers may want to consider offering different benefits to subscribers versus followers, such as exclusive content or early access to posts. Readers may want to decide whether they want to simply follow a writer or subscribe to their publication to receive their content directly.

Understanding Substack

Substack is an email newsletter platform that allows writers to create and distribute content to their followers and subscribers. The platform offers two main types of relationships: following and subscriptions.

A follow is a lightweight way for readers to show their interest in a writer’s work. When a reader follows a writer, they will receive updates about new posts and publications, but they will not have access to exclusive content or features.

On the other hand, a subscription is a paid relationship that grants readers access to exclusive content, features, and benefits. Subscribers are typically more committed to a writer’s work and are more likely to engage with their content on a regular basis.

It’s important for writers to understand the difference between followers and subscribers on Substack because it can impact their revenue, engagement, and overall success on the platform. While followers can help writers grow their audience and increase their reach, subscriptions are the primary source of income for most writers on Substack.

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Defining a Follower on Substack

On Substack, a follower is someone who has chosen to follow a writer or publication without subscribing. They will see the writer’s notes and some reading activity such as post likes. However, they won’t receive the writer’s posts in their inbox.

When someone follows a writer on Substack, the writer won’t receive their email. The exact follower count is not shown on the writer’s profile, but anyone can see the writer’s followers list to see who follows them and who they are following. This list is public by default and cannot be hidden.

It’s important to note that following a writer on Substack is different from subscribing to their publication. A follower is not a paying subscriber and does not receive any exclusive content.

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Defining a Subscriber on Substack

A subscriber on Substack is a reader who has paid to access a writer’s content. Subscribers can pay for a monthly or yearly subscription, and they have access to all of the writer’s content during their subscription period. Subscribers can also receive exclusive content that is not available to non-subscribers.

Subscribers can manage their subscription settings, including updating payment information, changing their subscription plan, and canceling their subscription, by logging into their Substack account. Writers can also manage their subscribers by viewing their subscriber list, pausing subscriptions, and removing subscribers.

Subscribers are an essential part of a writer’s revenue stream on Substack, and they provide a stable income for writers who produce high-quality content. Subscribers are also a way for writers to build a community of readers who are invested in their work and want to support them.

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Differences Between Followers and Subscribers

On Substack, followers and subscribers are two different types of audiences. A follower is someone who has chosen to follow a writer’s work for free, while a subscriber is someone who has paid to receive exclusive content from the writer.

Subscribers have access to premium content that is not available to followers. They can also receive additional benefits such as early access to content, exclusive newsletters, and more. Subscribers can choose to subscribe monthly or yearly, and the writer can set the price for the subscription.

Followers, on the other hand, only have access to free content that the writer has made available to the public. They do not receive any additional benefits and cannot access any exclusive content.

Writers can use both followers and subscribers to build a community around their work. Followers can help increase exposure and build a fan base, while subscribers can provide a steady income stream and a more engaged audience.

It is important to note that Substack does not take a cut of a writer’s earnings from subscriptions. Instead, they charge a small fee for processing payments.

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Benefits of Being a Follower

Being a follower on Substack comes with several benefits. For one, you get to stay up to date with your favorite writers and their latest articles. Additionally, following a writer on Substack allows you to engage with their content and share it with others. This can help build a sense of community around the writer and their work.

Another benefit of being a follower is that it can lead to discovering new writers and publications. Substack has a robust discovery feature that recommends writers and publications based on the topics you’re interested in. By following writers on Substack, you can also get access to exclusive content that’s only available to subscribers.

Finally, being a follower on Substack can help support the writers you enjoy reading. While followers don’t pay for content, they can help promote the writer’s work and increase their visibility on the platform. This can lead to more subscribers and ultimately more revenue for the writer.

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Benefits of Being a Subscriber

Subscribing to a Substack publication offers many benefits that followers do not have. First and foremost, subscribers have access to exclusive content that is not available to the general public. This content can include in-depth articles, podcasts, videos, and more. By subscribing, readers can gain access to a wealth of knowledge that they would not have access to otherwise.

Another benefit of being a subscriber is that they can interact with the author of the publication. Subscribers can leave comments on articles, ask questions, and provide feedback. This interaction can help to build a sense of community around the publication and foster a sense of loyalty between the author and the readers.

Subscribers also receive regular updates from the publication, which can help to keep them informed about new content and upcoming events. These updates can be delivered via email, social media, or other channels, depending on the preferences of the subscriber.

Finally, subscribers can show their support for the author by subscribing to the publication. This support can help to ensure that the author can continue to produce high-quality content and grow their audience.

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How to Convert Followers into Subscribers

Once a writer has gained a following on Substack, the next step is to convert those followers into subscribers. While it may seem daunting, there are several strategies that can be employed to turn followers into loyal subscribers.

Firstly, writers can offer exclusive content to their subscribers. This could be in the form of early access to articles, behind-the-scenes insights, or even personalized messages from the writer. By offering something that followers can’t get elsewhere, writers can entice their followers to become paying subscribers.

Another effective strategy is to offer a discount or promotion for new subscribers. This could be a limited-time offer or a special deal for those who sign up within a certain timeframe. By giving followers an incentive to become subscribers, writers can increase their conversion rates.

Writers can also use social media to promote their Substack publication and encourage followers to become subscribers. By sharing snippets of their content on social media and directing followers to their Substack page, writers can increase their visibility and attract new subscribers.

Finally, it’s important to engage with followers and subscribers on a regular basis. Responding to comments and messages, asking for feedback, and showing appreciation for their support can go a long way in building a loyal subscriber base.

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