Where should I publish, Medium or Substack?

  • You gain access to your readers’ emails.
  • You get a free landing page that autopublishes your blog posts, and your newsletter at the same time, in a nice format.
  • It’s easy to monetize — it easily and directly collects payments from users willing to pay for your content, and you can set your own prices.
  • People (especially busy people) like getting content directly via email, and because of this, people may be more likely to see/read it, especially if you’re writing for a highly specific or niche audience.
  • “It’s the current hotness.”
  • Medium has a perception these days of being “annoying”, Substack does not.
  • You can monetize groups of highly niche but devoted readers and do not have focus on content that will “go viral” to make money.
  • The stats you receive are very detailed and allow for conversion rate analysis.
  • You’re in charge of getting your users to your blog/newsletter. Substack doesn’t compete like Medium on SEO.
  • Pressure exists to make sure content is time-based.
  • It’s harder to promote evergreen content (content that you’d like to stand the test of time, as if it’s an online magazine article that people could find as easily a year later, as when you first published).
  • While Substack does come with a blog, it is “a bit more challenging to promote via FB/Twitter”.
  • “Readability on Medium is better IMO.”
  • It’s harder to engage with the content (the Substack comments section has limited visibility).
  • The fees can add up, so if you already have a large and engaged reader base, you might be able to make more on Medium.
  • It’s great for single time, infrequent announcements — “like if you’re a founder putting out news about your Series A raise or product launch”, and then you can use influencers to hype and share your post. It’s also great if you want to publish multiple times a day, which might majorly annoy someone on Substack.
  • Medium does much better at ranking in search engine optimization, and has built audiences both (relatively) niche and general. It most rewards people who publish regularly on popular topics.
  • It’s highly readable, and does have an email subscription option.
  • It’s “easier to promote” on other forums like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Content is simple to find, even 1–2 years after publication.
  • Medium itself may select and boost your content through its curation features, and has customizable home pages for your own publication.
  • You can publish when you want, at no specific interval and without time-based delivery expectations from your readers.
  • It’s considered slightly passe by hard core techies, with it being appropriate for single time, infrequent self-publications and announcements, or for those who are well known enough to not need direct inbox delivery to attract readership.
  • Most readers who aren’t navigating from the Medium home have to find the content through your other channels, and actually click it to follow the link (from your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) rather than receiving it in an inbox.
  • You’ll have to pay for an email marketing system if you’d like to collect the emails of your readers, which can be expensive as readership grows.
  • You don’t have control over how much money your article makes, because you cannot set your own prices.
  • To make money, you need mass appeal to at least some of Medium’s readers.
  • Do you want to be publishing a newsletter? If yes, choose Substack.
  • Is your audience very niche and easy to recruit? If yes, choose Substack.
  • Do you care a lot about SEO? If yes, choose Medium.
  • If you’re still really stuck or want more details, try this much more technical overview.

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Startup and tech operator in the Bay Area

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Kate Lowry

Kate Lowry

Startup and tech operator in the Bay Area

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