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What associations can learn from Substack

image AshleyNeal image imageDecember 10, 2020 image image3 min. to read
What associations can learn from Substack

I signed up last week for a newsletter tailored to chihuahua owners — I got a new puppy — and while I began getting super informative content about best practices for raising him, something was missing. I had heard all this information before. Out of frustration, I began to look into chihuahua-specific creators and found some really fun, quirky and authentic writers who shared their personal experiences and ideas. 

That personality was exactly what I was searching for. I wanted to feel like I knew the person I was listening to. I didn’t want to feel like I was taking advice from just another faceless source. 

The same thing is happening for audiences all over the world. People want to know who they are supporting and feel some sort of connection. Recently, newsletter subscription platform, Substack, has been taking advantage of this and providing a solution: subscriptions directly support the creator or organization. This way, you know exactly who is getting your money, and what you’ll get out of the subscription.

With over 250,000 paid subscribers, Substack has been making a name for itself in the content creation industry. Writers, journalists, video producers, scholars, musicians, organizations and individuals are utilizing this platform to take control of their content and create the things they love for those who love them as well.

But what does this mean for membership organizations? 

Well, simply put: people are willing to support content creation. The key is establishing that personal connection with each reader. Anyone can produce content, but your organization should produce content that makes an impact.

“By opting into direct relationships with writers, we can be more selective with how we consume information, honing in on the ideas, people, and places we find most meaningful,” according to Substack. This is Substack’s value. 

For years, news and membership organizations have struggled to get subscribers to pay for their content. Substack has completely redesigned the industry by proving that it was never the subscribers’ lack of interest affecting subscription sales. It was the publication itself.

Associations already know there are thousands of people interested and willing to support their causes. The key is to let your audience know who you are, not just what you support. It’s imperative to make the connection for your audience between what they’re paying for and why. Introduce your staff, add some personalization to each piece of content you produce and highlight the purpose of your organization.

People are willing to pay for the things they want when they know what they are supporting. Try and learn from Substack and realize that your audience wants to know what your organization really is and who it represents. Not only can your association benefit from additional non-dues revenue, but your audience will be more likely to continue to subscribe or share.

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