How to Use Substack Recommendations to Get More Subscribers

Karen Cherry
5 min readDec 3, 2023

Is this the best feature on Substack?

Recommendations are a top Substack superpower and one of the main reasons that Substack absolutely wipes the floor with old-fashioned newsletter software platforms like MailChimp or ConvertKit.

In this post I explain how to use Substack recommendations to get more subscribers.

If you want the ‘nuts and bolts’ of using recommendations (like how to find old ‘blurbs’ and opt out of recommendation digest notifications), hop on over to my post on Substack.

Substack wipes the floor with MailChimp and ConvertKit. Recommendations are a big reason for that. Photo by PAN XIAOZHEN on Unsplash

What are Substack Recommendations?

The recommendations feature allows publication owners to publicly recommend each other’s work. Recommendations from other writers give your publication authority and expose your work to more people. Some creators report getting more than one-quarter of their subscribers from recommendations.

Recommendations are particularly powerful if your ideal reader is already hanging out on Substack and reading other publications. If that’s you then recommendations are probably the single biggest thing you can do to super-charge your growth.

Recommendations might be the single biggest thing you can do to super-charge your growth

The key to unlocking the power of recommendations is to create real connections with other creators. The most powerful recommendations come from creators who have a similar audience demographic to your publication but many more subscribers.

Recommendations from others

Recommendations from other Substack creators appear on your welcome page and act as ready-made testimonials, a powerful form of social proof that helps convert casual readers into paying subscribers.

Recommendations appear on Substack welcome pages

Recommendations you make

If you enjoy or admire the work of other creators on Substack, you should recommend them. Substack will prompt you to do this when you subscribe to their publications, and when you visit your recommendations…

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Karen Cherry

Substack writer. Secret tree hugger. Aussie business owner with >$13K revenue on Substack. Refusing to dumb it down.