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Turn Your Substack Subscribers into Super-Boosters (Even If Your List Is Small)

  • 5 min read


Size isn’t everything. The true power lies in your newsletter tribe

Want to send your Substack following through the roof?

Let’s talk about the secret sauce on Substack— recommendations from other fabulous authors.

The way it works is newsletter authors can recommend other newsletters they enjoy.

Currently, over 590 other newsletters recommend my newsletter 😱.

photo credit: Kristina God stats page newsletter

In October 2022 Lenny Rachitsky reached the newsletter milestone of 250,000 subs and shared this insight:

“78% of my subscribers are now coming from other Substack newsletters recommending my newsletter. And 11% paid. Gamechanging feature.”

One year later, he has doubled his subs and shared:

“(…) the recommendations feature is a total game changer. IMHO it’s one of the most impactful growth features in history (…) and, (…) totally changed the trajectory of my newsletter.”

photo credit: Lenny Rachitsky newsletter on Substack

With 500,000 subs, Lenny’s Newsletter is among the top five largest newsletters on Substack and one of the largest newsletters broadly.

Friggin’ bonkers.

And guess what? You don’t need to look far.

These amazing folks who are recommending your newsletter are already a part of your community — hidden gems in your subscriber list!

Substack isn’t handing out ‘Who’s Who’ directories, but don’t sweat it

With a sprinkle of strategy, you can identify the movers and shakers in your audience.

The insider tip from Scott Britton with 25,000k subs on Substack?

“It’s my experience, that about ⅙ of the people who have taken the time to subscribe to many substacks and create a profile are also writing.”

Here’s your step-by-step action plan to use Substack’s Recommendations Feature:

1 — 🕵️‍♀️ Scour your email inbox for profiles that mention the word “Reads.”

photo credit: Kristina God inbox

This is an example of an email:

photo credit: Kristina God inbox

2 — 👀 Now take a sneak peek at their profile and look for that telltale gray box indicating they have a publication.

Voila! Found them?

Now it’s time to shine.

Compile a hit-list of these rockstars, jot down their email addresses, and get ready to make some waves.

Reach out with a heartfelt note like this:

“Hey [Their Name],

Big virtual hug for being a part of my newsletter tribe 🤗. I’ve noticed you’re a fellow creator and I can’t wait to check out your awesomeness!

I’m on a mission to spread the word about my content and would be over the moon if you’d consider recommending me on Substack. No worries at all if it’s not a fit for you — I totally get it!

Cheers and high fives, [Your Name]”

So, what’s the payoff?

Using this technique, I was able to identify over 15 people who are reading my Substack newsletter and have created their own newsletters (inspired by me).

Here’s an example:

photo credit: Kristina God inbox; I didn’t approach all of them. Most recommended me without me asking to help recommend my newsletter

This way I easily get recommendations from people who were excited to help spread my work. If people find your stuff valuable, they’ll want to share it with others.

Hint: I haven’t actively approached all of them. Most of them proactively recommended my newsletter! (I’ll tell you more in another story!)

Here’s the social proof:

photo credit: Kristina God stats page newsletter

Sounds like a lot of work? Not so fast!

A single power hour of focused effort can get this done.

Want to level up?

Depending on the number of subs you get per month, make this a recurring event on your calendar.

(If you’re lazy…, you can even delegate this task to a virtual assistant.)

Start flexing your Substack muscles, my friend.

You’ve got this! 💪

Oh and did I tell you about my new rewards system? Here’s how to recommend my publications proactively and get rewarded with a shoutout!

For more about Substack, check out my Substack series:

UPDATE: Started my Substack for Beginners series on YouTube with further insights:

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