Ben Young
Ben Young
January 27, 2023

Edition #390

A breakdown on how Substack is driving subscribers, fonts in content and DHL helps rescue big cats.

If you want to get a new newsletter subscriber, the best way, is to get a mention in another newsletter. The same for a podcast. Why? Because the subscriber has already made the first decision, to subscribe to that newsletter, why not another? It’s also why every YouTube host asks you to ‘like and subscribe’, to feed the recommendation algorithm, so their content gets served up to other people like you.

This gets me to Substack, mid last year they launched their recommendations feature. Once someone subscribes to one newsletter, it recommends some others you might be interested in. And within seconds you can be getting a few other related newsletters.

Here is what it looks like, after I subscribed to StoryThings.

Substack recommendations

On the launch of recommendations, Substack featured Nikita Petrov and the impact it had on his subscribers. 

Anecdotally, I now hear from more and more folks on the power of this feature. Helping them build their audience, and reach folks they wouldn’t have otherwise. Which frees them up to create more content, which then, leads to more subscribers.

For Substack and their creators, this is a powerful mechanism and helps solve one of the biggest problems for newsletter creators, getting more subscribers. YouTube is the default for video, if you want views, put it on YouTube. Substack is working towards that same place.

It makes me wonder, has anyone created an audio recommendation unit to go on the tail of podcasts? Maybe that should be a thing.

If you hadn’t considered Substack yet, it may be time to re-evaluate.

Notable stories this week

  • A sneaky ad scam tore through 11m phones. It would bid for an ad slot, then execute javascript, to then load up to 25 video ads at once, hidden behind the primary ad unit.
  • BuzzFeed to use ChatGPT Creator OpenAI to help create some of its content.
  • Twitter gives brands tools to measure offensive content around ads.
  • Using fonts effectively in your content marketing.
  • Google calls in help from Larry Page and Sergey Brin for AI fight.
  • Google Optimize to sunset Sept 30th.
  • TikTok’s secret ‘heating’ button to make anyone go viral. 🤔
  • Price’s law.
  • Yeti takes slow and steady approach to sports marketing.


Campaign of the week

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “The difference between performance marketing and branding, is the difference between firefighting and fire prevention”Mike Taylor, Co-founder VexPower

Datapoints of note

That’s it for this week.