Today, everyone from major publications like The New York Times – which has 50 newsletters and a weekly audience of 15 million – to individual journalists have launched their own newsletters, many of them on Substack. It’s pretty clear that the platform considers itself the successor to blogging (it even has a guide on how to transfer your blog over), and that’s a good thing.
Substack is an easy way to publish and monetise a newsletter. In March, it announced that it had crossed the impressive milestone of two million paid subscribers. Big names in journalism and media have gone all in on the platform, and research by Press Gazette found that the 27 highest-earning email newsletters on the platform collectively earn at least $22 million a year.
This is also good news for other newsletters. The FT’s head of newsletters, Sarah Ebner, told Press Gazette that Substack creating a market where people are willing to pay for high-quality newsletters has been “very helpful” for the paper’s in-house newsletters.
Why does Substack matter for B2B PR?
Business to business PR is all about reaching specialist audiences – think quality over quantity. You might be talking to a small number of people, but if they’re the right people, they’re the right people. Newsletter writers and editors have invested time in creating exactly the type of dedicated audiences that your clients want to reach.
For example, our client ISMS.online’s report was recently featured in The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) Cyber Policy Substack, which has 8,000 subscribers. That may not sound like a huge number, and it isn’t for a publication like a national paper. But each of those 8,000 people is so interested in cyber security that they read a dedicated newsletter – it’s 8,000 bullseyes when it comes to audience targeting.
Substack newsletters are also great for PR people who want to stay informed about their clients’ sectors. In terms of media relations, they’re also a great way to understand what journalists are passionate about and – in an age of writer’s strikes – a subscription to a newsletter is a great way to show your favourite writers that you value their work.
Some of my favourite Substacks
The beauty of newsletters is that there’s one for every interest. If you’re interested in B2B PR and media like me, I’d recommend checking these out:
WOMEN | MONEY | POWER by Josie Cox
You’ve probably seen Josie’s work on BBC Worklife and Forbes. She has a particular interest in business, workplace culture and gender equality, and her Substack is a must-read for all those who focus on diversity and inclusion. Try her article ‘My complicated relationship with a criminal’, on Elizabeth Holmes.
Comms All Ye Faithful by John Forberger
Previously called B2B PR Now, Comms All Ye Faithful, is a great read for PR pros, marketers and founders working in B2B. John goes into granular detail on the hows and whys of B2B PR. He reflects many of the sentiments we hold here at Definition – particularly when he describes the need for PR pros to take time to understand their clients’ businesses and PR objectives, which we do during our onboarding phase.
Rory’s Always On Newsletter by Rory Cellan Jones
You might recognise Rory’s name from his time at the BBC, where he spent 15 years reporting on technology. He brings his informative and thoughtful writing to the topic of healthtech. Recent topics include sleep, dementia and AI, but his main focus is Parkinson’s, which he also covers on his fantastically named podcast, ‘Movers and Shakers’.
WTF Wednesday by Dean Piper
Dean is a former showbiz reporter and editor, and his Substack takes us behind the scenes of his busiest days and relates them to current affairs. It’s an interesting insight into a time when tabloids ruled the roost and has plenty of lessons we can apply in the social media age. It’s also great if you love a bit of celeb goss…
Make Work Better by Bruce Daisley
Bruce Daisley is a workplace culture writer, and his Substack is essential for anyone who likes to think and talk about the ways we work. Hybrid working, workplace culture, productivity, teamwork and more are covered here.
Written by Katie Chodosh, media relations director at Definition.