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8 Best Substack Newsletters Worth Your Time (2023)

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Top Substack Newsletters | Discover the Best Content

Are you a visionary marketer, or is your passion geared towards establishing your own enterprise?

Whichever way you are leaning you need a newsletter. 

From its foundation in 2017, Substack has revolutionized online publishing. It’s easily the biggest shake-up to journalism and personal writing since the early two thousand when the blogging boom happened. Using it might be what you’re missing in an effective online marketing plan. 

This article will discuss what this platform is, how it works, how to start your journey there, and give some examples of the best Substack newsletters to inspire you. Let’s go!

What is Substack?

Substack is a platform for your newsletter needs. It has a simple user interface where you can publish and monetize posts online. Those things combined have been game-changers for writers with any skill level.

Journalists find the platform interesting because they do not need to depend on an editor or sell ads to spread their message. Thought leaders can benefit from it because it’s easy to write down their ideas and ensure they reach their followers directly. And budding writers can build a portfolio and an audience, no matter how niche the topic is. For creators, it’s one of many ways to monetize their following.

This specific platform is also known for approaching censorship from afar. Sure, there are some loose guidelines to publish: no pornographic content, hate speeches, or harassment, for example. But Substack’s flexible community guidelines attracted some fresh voices in journalism and seriously controversial people. 

In short, this site is a tool to make publishing easier for anyone who wants to try it. And it works. As of 2022, there were more than a million paying subscribers to Substack publications every month.

How Does it Work?

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The very foundation of Substack, what it relies on, is publishing. With Substack, you can post your texts online or send them out as emails quickly and easily with just a few clicks. Publications can be hidden behind a paywall or for free. There is also a feature called ‘discussion thread,’ which enables you to begin twitter-like conversations between people subscribing to you.

And that’s not the end: Substack also has a space for Podcasts. It’s a new feature that empowers audio creators to publish and grow their podcasts. Beta testing of a video player that creators can use also started early in twenty-two, expanding this site’s content creation potential.

When your own Substack has been set up and is running (which we’ll get to soon), you will be surprised at how simple the user interface is. The best way to explain it is that it’s a blank canvas, and people create unique pictures.

Of course, conventional writers make up the most significant part of Substack revenue. And you’re sure to find many figures from the media, like journalists, social leaders, and anyone with access to a keyboard who wants to say something. You can find a few big-league names: Will Leitch from Gawker, feminist journalist Roxane Gay, and historian Heather Cox Richardson. 

That’s if we don’t mention how Chuck Palahniuk and Salman Rush used the platform to publish their newest novels. While Michael Moore, filmmaker, and activist, uses his space to preach about politics.

If you go further, there are Substacks for every niche. Here are a few examples:

  • Jessica DeFino, a known beauty critic, talks about the beauty industry in her own newsletter, The Unpublishable.
  • Blackbird Spyplane, run by Erin Wylie and Jonah Weiner, forecasts and breaks cultural trends with a perfectly designed email.
  • One of the longest-running podcasts about the NBA, True Hoop, uses Substack to publish its episodes.
  • And Patti Smith regularly takes advantage of Substack’s audio tool to release poetry readings.

Given how simple it is to use Substack, you can be as direct or as elaborate as you want.

How to Start Your Journey on Substack

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Signing up and starting to post on Substack is a piece of cake. We have made a list of a few easy steps to make your life even more accessible.

1. Find Your Audience

Not only for this platform, but this has to be the first step in any of your online undertakings. How you work, what you discuss, or your content may change with time, but it’s best to plan for a pattern before you start.

Do you want to reach crafty people with your emails? Fantasy literature fans? Did people become addicted to a specific sport? Choose your audience and figure out everything there is to know about them. What they care about, their wants, how they consume media, and whatever is relevant before getting started.

2. Create Your Account

There are a few alternatives to sign up with Substack, such as using an email address or login in with your Twitter account. The latter is an excellent option given the platform integrates very well with Twitter – it easily links to your contacts. It can also feature your newsletter link in the spotlight next to your bio. 

You may prefer that alternative if you have many followers on your Twitter account.

3. Set Your Profile Up

Yes, it’s that simple to use this platform. Your profile is where your information is confirmed, like your email address and username. It would help if you also chose a profile picture to be used on your page.

4. Create Your Content

First things first: create a name for whatever you’re publishing. After that, write a short summary of what you’re talking about, then confirm your URL. Here is the place to get creative, but don’t worry more than necessary – you could always change things later if you want to.

Be sure that your summary is as concise and straightforward as possible. People are more inclined to sign up if they can understand and be excited about what they are about to get into.

5. Subscribe To Substacks

If you created your account with Twitter and followed some people on Substack, it’s good to follow them on both platforms. It can be a good call for two main reasons. The first is that it will ease you into a content avenue like your one on Twitter. And it alerts your mutuals to the fact you have now joined Substack.

6. Check on Your Mailing List

Suppose you are migrating to Substack from other emailing services like Patreon, TinyLetter, or Mailchimp. In that case, it is possible to upload a CSV file and have all of your contacts imported.

7. Add People To Your Subscriber Base

You should be able to manually put people into your subscriber list, like friends and family, to grow your subscriber base. It seems so little, but we have got to start somewhere. Consider creating a secondary personal email as well; that way, you will be able to see your newsletter just as your subscribers do.

8. Put Out Your First Post

Once your account is all set, you will automatically be redirected to the Dashboard area. You can create a new thread, an episode, or post there. As you will find out, the interface is relatively straightforward, so it should be easy to write, format, and publish your first post.

Since Substack is such a versatile tool, it’s tricky to give you a how-to on writing your newsletter for that platform. Check out some of the other posts on how to create a perfect newsletter we’ve got at EcomSidekick. What we will do together now is go over some of the best Substack newsletters to inspire you. Let’s go!

Welcome To Hell World

Daily Newsletter | Stay Informed with Latest Updates

Luke O’Neil first published this newsletter in twenty eighteen to share his findings and thoughts on several topics. All are connected by a common theme: our world is becoming a “pit of despair.”

His writing aims to go beyond mainstream news to directly face what troubles our world instead of sugarcoating reality. By choosing to use Substack, he can step over the archaic way of reporting news and write as he wishes to talk about what he thinks is vital in this failing society.

Luke O’Neil managed to amass more than a thousand paying subscribers out of his more than seven thousand total. And he was able to secure a publishing deal to take his writings and transform them into a book.

Flow State

This one is quite unique due to its being a musical-based Substack newsletter. Flow State sends a curated two-hour playlist every day at three am. This early morning time slot is so that their email is in their subscribers’ inboxes with time to spare for the beginning of their workdays. Each track is curated to help create a creative flow while working.


This is a perfect example of how this space can be used by professionals like writers and journalists from other areas of expertise.


Sociologist Zeynep Tufekc puts out this newsletter. It goes deep into how technological advances affect the structure of society. It has covered various subjects like Donald Trump, elections, and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Tangle is a newsletter signed by Isaac Saul. It puts itself in an independent position to comment on US politics since the author doesn’t put himself in either the left or right wing. He criticized some and praised a few of Donald Trump’s policies during 2019 and 2020; he did, however, take exception to the events after the pandemic began. Should US politics be your thing, this one is an excellent option to vary from Hell World!

The Novelist

The Novelist is a perfectly-written newsletter by writer Ellie Griffin. She publishes texts frequently during the week, talking about the writing process, creative flow, and her own books. One of the most incredible things she does, which you can quickly adapt, is turning long-running topics into their own content series. Ellie also has a great time with her subscribers, posting tik tok videos for them.

One of her posts that had an outstanding performance was a thorough explanation of the math behind why writers should choose to put out newsletters over self-publication of a book. Her subscribers can support the work by paying for a subscription, which grants them access to more content behind the paywall, like her books.

Letters From an American

If you want to focus on current affairs, then Letters From An American, a Substack newsletter published by Heather Cox Richardson. Its primary focus is current happenings and how they relate to North American democracy, like the investigations conducted by the US Congress. In a commendable gesture, the historian also offers free editions of her content almost daily, gathering a lot of interaction from her audience. She also has a podcast that covers this theme.

The Audacity

Writers are massive fans of The Audacity at Substack. It is a labor of love done by Roxane Gay, a famed writer, podcast host, and literary critic. While splitting her life between LA and NYC, she likes to publish personal compositions. 

On her Substack platform, Roxane also gives space to up-and-coming writers and essayists she appreciates. Another thing she does is host a book club for the community she created and use it as a palace to highlight unknown American writers.

The House of Strauss

As the name suggests, Ethan Strauss signed House of Strauss, a sports journalist, along with Anthony Mayes, who produces podcasts. This newsletter covers the intersection of American life and sports. Many of their texts are available in audio form to their subscribers. Much like other creators we talked about, some of their content is also behind a paywall.

Now you’re inspired to go out and start on your own Susbtack platform with several different resources. Let’s see what you can do to grow your space and make some money

Here’s How You Can Enhance Your Substack Platform to Make the Most of It

Keyword Weekly Newsletter: Stay Informed with the Latest Updates
  • Encourage People To Take Action: Yes, calling people to act on something is still one of your greatest allies. Ensure your post has elements that encourage readers to subscribe to your newsletter, leave comments and share what you make. Things like buttons, headers, or footers work well when done right!
  • Connect With Other Platforms: Share the link to your Substack page on every online profile you have! Your website, social media profiles, even your email signature, and anywhere that allows you to hyperlink URL addresses. This also helps with ranking in search engines so people can stumble across your Substack profile organically.
  • Socialize: This may be an obvious addition to this list. Still, it doesn’t hurt to say it one more time: share your newsletter on your social media profiles, which helps your online presence grow. Use a thread on Twitter to break down content, take a screenshot and use it on Instagram, through which content can be directly shared to Facebook.
  • Speak Up: You may not have read a comment section online in years, but Substack is a place that blossoms discussion. If you leave comments on posts about similar topics, people may link back to your own page. And by doing so, you also show a few of your writing skills to potential subscribers.

  • Partner Up: Just because it is a marketing action, it doesn’t need to look like one. You can volunteer as a guest poster on someone else’s Substack or interview another creator in your newsletter. Talk to relevant social media accounts to see if they could share your content. Even paying to promote your material is an alternative.

Final Thoughts

Substack is a powerful platform for people looking to create a brand online if they know how to use it to its full potential. We hope this article has helped you in starting this journey! 

To learn more about newsletter platforms, visit our ecommerce resource hub.