Online newsletters are a great way to publish content on the web. Journalists are moving to use email newsletter platforms to share their opinions and reports to a wide audience. Writers and creators can use these platforms to boost their following and even monetize their posts.
Newsletters allow businesses and organizations to share value with a network of customers. Product-centric businesses can use newsletters to give tips and tricks on how to best use their product and even announce new features.
Outside of businesses, a newsletter can give public figures such as journalists and thought leaders a platform for regular long-form content. Unlike blog posts, newsletters are usually more personal and directed at a smaller audience. Finding a niche that is willing to listen to you will help grow your audience and increase your credibility.
With so many options out there for marketing platforms and newsletter editors, it’s difficult to choose which one to start with. For this guide, we will be looking at two popular online platforms for newsletters, Substack and Revue.
These two platforms are both free to use and have a growing number of publications joining them in recent years.
We will explore the key features of each platform and later give a verdict on which service is better on a number of criteria.
Substack is a San Francisco-based startup founded in 2017. The platform aims to make it simple for any writer to start an email newsletter that makes money from subscriptions. There are over a million paying subscribers on Substack, with the top 10 authors making over $20M per year.
Substack seems to be the platform of choice for journalists working in top media publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
The platform offers both paywalled and free publishing options, and even has support for podcasts. Substack makes it incredibly easy to create and grow an audience through a newsletter. Users can name their publications and provide a short summary of what their newsletter is about.
There are currently no costs for having a Substack account. Users can upload as much text and audio without having to pay for storage. Substack makes money through the optional subscription model option. Every time a subscriber pays for paywalled content, Substack keeps 10% of the subscription fees.
- Welcome, Page for your newsletter
- Free and subscriber-only posts
- Monthly and Annual subscription options
- Post scheduling
- Community features such as Likes and Discussion threads
- Upload MP3s or record content using the editor.
- Mailing list options
- Podcast support
- exclusive platform for readers
- publish for web and newsletter
- Multi-admin access for newsletters with multiple writers
- Tracking pixels for Google Analytics, Facebook, and Twitter
- Easy to export posts and email lists into a CSV
- Mobile App is available for iOS devices
- Limited integrations
- Custom domains are expensive
- Substack takes a cut out of each transaction
- No personalized tag features
Publishing on Substack is free. This is true even if you have thousands of subscribers already. Substack will charge 10% of every transaction made for paid subscriptions.
Revue is an online publishing platform based in Amsterdam. As of January 2021, Revue has now been acquired by Twitter. Twitter has since integrated Revue newsletters into Twitter bios, making it easier for writers on Twitter to promote their newsletter.
Creators on Revue have full control over the availability of their content. Revue creators can decide on adding a monthly price for their paid newsletters.
Revue also offers an API that allows creators to smoothly integrate Revue with their website. The platform also makes it easier to export a subscriber list from a former email platform, such as Mailchimp.
- Easily let followers subscribe to your email on the Twitter app
- subscriber management
- Post Scheduling
- Cross-publishing options including Medium and WordPress
- Custom domain support
- Revue API access
- drag and drop editor
- a wide number of integrations
- free custom domain support
- Revue asks only 5% of paid newsletter revenue
- Easy subscription from the Twitter app
- Revue only allows importing from Substack
- Fewer options for readers compared to Substack
- No podcast support
- Revue does not offer Publish to Web option
Like Substack, publishing on Revue is free. Revue earns money from charging 5% of every transaction made for paid subscriptions.
Verdict: Which is Better?
Between both platforms, Revue has more integrations with third-party services. Revue’s integration with Zapier allows users to connect Revue to other services such as Typeform, Mailchimp, and Facebook. Revue also includes integrations with Pocket, WordPress, Medium, and other publishing platforms.
While both platforms allow you to grow a following through newsletters, Substack offers more features for readers to find you. Substack newsletters also have their own web pages that readers can visit outside their email app.
Readers can also discover your newsletter through Substack’s platform, which allows users to search for Substack newsletters. Revue newsletters have a limited web presence, and the platform does not offer a newsletter search.
Both Substack and Revue offer free publishing, but they differ when it comes to paid subscriptions. Revue has a more attractive plan with only a 5% cut of revenue from subscriptions, compared to Substack’s 10%. These platform fees both exclude fees from Stripe, their only supported payment platform.
Custom domain support
Using a custom domain will help your brand or product stand out. Custom domains are shorter and more memorable for potential subscribers. Using your domain is also helpful for users who want to increase their SEO metrics.
Substack charges a one-time fee of $50 to use a custom domain. Afterward, you can connect your newsletter page to a custom domain that you own.
Revue allows newsletter writers to use a custom domain for free. The platform also makes it simple to use custom email IDs when sending out emails.