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Substack Gave Creators a Taste of Independence—And Now, They're Taking Even More Ownership with Community Platforms

If you already have a large Substack audience, adding your own community is the ticket to dramatic growth in your membership income.

Author Photo

by Phillip Russell

Apr 18

Over the past few years, many successful course creators, writers, and entrepreneurs have turned to Substack as a means to monetize their ideas and grow their audience through a simple newsletter format.


The reality is that platforms like Substack, Patreon, Ghost, and more are great for providing some of our world’s more influential thinkers a place to easily deploy their ideas, but these platforms weren’t built to form deep connections between creators and their subscribers, and they don’t provide creators with options to expand their business outside of paid memberships.


Ahead, we’re going to explore why you should take the success you’ve achieved on Substack and migrate your business to Mighty Pro where you’ll be able to build your entire brand ecosystem.


An audience is not a community


Let’s start with the most important thing to realize about Substack and its competitors. The “audience” you build on those platforms isn’t a community.


Sure, Substack has built basic features for community building like the ability for subscribers to filter to the “community” tab of a newsletter to navigate the comment sections of your posts more easily, but this rudimentary option doesn’t actually build connections between people.


Many successful course creators, writers, and thinkers turn to Substack as a way to avoid traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter which often breed toxic interactions and drive-by commenting, for more intentional spaces and make money doing it.


This is a great ambition, but community is more than a comment section on an article.


Maybe you’ve realized this already and tried creating a Facebook Group or a Slack/Discord community to connect your Substack subscribers together. You’ve got the right idea, but I’d think about the execution more. When your content engine is one place (Substack) and your community is somewhere else, you’re fracturing your audience and asking them to do more work to connect with you and others after they’ve read your newsletters.


Story Club


One of the most acclaimed living American authors today, George Saunders, launched his own Substack newsletter project called Story Club last December. After the release of his book A Swim in the Pond in the Rain which tasked him with analyzing seven short stories by the Russian authors Chekhov, Turgenev, Gogol, and Tolstoy, he began receiving messages from readers looking to continue the conversations he started in his book. Story Club is Saunders’ way of building an online literary community around his brand outside of social media that he eventually plans to monetize.


He wrote about his decision to work with Substack saying, “Substack, I’m hoping, will offer me the best parts of social media (engagement with readers, a place to work through ideas) without the quick opining/anonymity-related snark that tends to plague Twitter, et al.” Story Club sounds like an awesome place to for any literary writer looking to connect with one of the greats and others who are like them, but the platform itself is antithetical to forging those connections outside of simple comment threads.


This is why successful creators search for platforms like Facebook Groups to supplement their Substack efforts because it provides more options, visibility, and ease for members to actually interact with one another. After all, community is built on a culture of contribution. Why try to foster one on a platform that barely allows your members to contribute? Even more so, why should one pay for this kind of interactivity?


Instead, what might happen if you built your business on a platform that integrates your community with your content efforts? Whether it's online courses, columns, paid subscriptions to mastermind groups, or an overarching community that is seeking to achieve a common goal, Mighty Pro allows you to do it all, and do it anywhere you are from the web or your mobile device.


A community that’s built to last


yourOnlineBusiness


At Mighty Pro, we’ve worked with successful creators, organizations, and agencies who are running six and seven-figure businesses. What we’ve found to be true for many people is that before Mighty Pro they are juggling a wide range of platforms, integrations, and technologies to not only allow their business to run but also to host the ventures that comprise their business.


One successful course creator and television personality that uses Mighty Pro to run their subscription business came to us because they wanted a platform that tied all of their content together. They have a popular Substack newsletter, online courses, digital and physical products, and a loyal fan base that tunes into their daily morning live streams in the tens of thousands. But all of these experiences are tied to a plethora of platforms: Substack, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook Groups, and Kajabi. That is a lot of moving parts.


Instead of living with the anxiety and workload involved in managing all of these different technologies, this creator found Mighty Pro as a way to begin tying everything together in a completely branded mobile app experience that allows them to offer their newsletters, courses, livestreams, and paid memberships all in one place.


What I’m getting at here is that Substack is a great platform for doing one very specific thing, offering newsletters. If that’s all you’re interested in then it makes sense to continue on their platform, but when we look at highly successful creators like George Saunders who hopes to form an “interactive, challenging” community experience on the platform, you have to wonder why would Substack be the right platform for this?


The future of digital business is fuelled by online communities building, and that is made much easier when you build yours on a place that you own, that is familiar to your members, and that they can access anywhere. Community is more than fleeting comment sections, it’s a group of people coming together to accomplish something they couldn't do on their own. Mighty Pro allows creators to do just that on their terms.

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