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Picking a newsletter platform
Newsletters are a very successful way to reach and engage readers
A few years ago, I got an email from a reader that made me pause.
The reader was about to launch their own independent newsletter, and they were trying to pick the right email platform. They told me they’d narrowed it down to two options: Substack or SparkPost.
You’re almost certainly familiar with Substack. (It’s the tool the TFR team uses to send this very newsletter!) But SparkPost? It’s a tool most commonly used by Fortune 500-type companies — it really only makes sense if you're sending millions of emails per day.
So I asked how this person had landed on those two options. Their answer: “A lot of my favorite newsletters are on Substack, and I listened to an interview with someone at the Times where they said they used SparkPost. So I figured if it was good enough for these writers or good enough for the Times, it was good enough for me!”
This made perfect sense to him. But to me — someone who’s worked in the email space for a decade — it was the equivalent of saying, “I’m thinking of traveling from New York to Seattle for the weekend. Do you think I should get there via plane or skateboard?”
It was a reminder that this landscape is really hard to navigate, and most writers don’t have the resources they need to pick the right newsletter tool or identify the right business model for their newsletter.
So I’ve put together two resources I think might help:
The first is a guide to six email tools I think every indie newsletter should look at.
The second is a guide to five types of business models that make sense for indie newsletters.
As you read through it, I’m hoping you figure out the right model for your newsletter — something you can pair perfectly with the right tool for your newsletter.
Thank you, Dan! Research shows newsletters are an extremely successful medium for reaching audiences, and some can even be considered cutting edge in today’s journalism world. Reach your readers, reporters!
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