Revue vs Substack vs Medium’s Newsletter. Which one is for you?

Very short and direct comparison to ease up your decision

This comparison review is plain and abstract. I wrote this to help you in deciding, not to impress you with my analytical and review skills. I started a newsletter few months ago. So I like sharing my find-outs with you from my own research of finding a suitable newsletter service. It may look like I’ve missed few points, but it is intentional. I don’t want to dump you with details, instead I focused only on giving decisive reasons here.

Composing / Editor

Medium has a nice editor in mobile (iOS/Android) while Revue and Substack lacks an app. This means if you want to compose your newsletter on the go, Medium is a good choice.

For link roundup type newsletters (if you share a lot of links in your newsletter) Revue is a good choice. It composes the links elegantly than Substack and Medium. Revue has this unique feature that pulls in all the links from your Twitter account, Instapaper, Refind and many other services. It also has a chrome extension to add in the links to your Revue account which you can use for your next issue. The drag-n-drop interface of Revue compose window looks more elegant than the rivals.

Substack has a decent editor. Offers essentials suffice to write your newsletter. Medium and Substack shares more or less same editing experience. In simplicity and aesthetics Medium wins Substack by thin line. Substack offers a ‘button’ type free subscription and paid subcription link that can be inserted anywhere inside your newsletter issue manually.

Landing page / Domain names

All the three supports custom domain names. It’s a draw.

When it comes to landing page, Medium stays behind in terms of user experience. Substack and Revue gives the exclusive page with limited options to customize the landing page. As Medium is not primarily in the business of newsletter, it didn’t focus in this well. Though it looks like you will have a exclusive page for your writing, Medium don’t work that way in reality. Your writing appears at random places of Medium while random articles from other writers will also appear then and there inside your page.

Audience building

If you write your content like stories, fictional or sharing personal experience then Medium is your choice. If you don’t have reader base or fans, if you are not popular, if you just started writing, then Medium is right place for you to start. You can bring your work to many new people. But Medium is like a ocean. There’s a high chance your articles go unnoticed. The risk of going unnoticed is way more high in Substack and Revue.

Don’t get me wrong. Both Revue and Substack newsletter issues are indexed in Google like Medium articles, Medium gives you high leverage in this category. Your writings are more visible in Medium than in Revue and Substack. Medium users can subscribe to a newsletter with a single click. So the audience building is quite easy in Medium.

If you have fan base already, then its easy for you start your newsletter in Revue and Substack. After that, you have to promote your newsletter outside these platform (like sharing in twitter, FB etc). Revue offers a form to embed in any website you own. As of now Substack doesn’t offer any way to subscribe to your newsletter other than visiting your landing page.

Audience Engagement

All these services offer commenting feature. Medium’s commenting feature is top notch. Medium and Substack offers readers an option to say that they liked the content. Claps 👏 and likes ♡ respectively. Other readers can read every comments and your replies to it. Revue stays far behind in audience engagement. Readers can only comment by replying to the email and this will be sent to the author. The comments are not publicly visible for others.

Service Cost

Almost all the three services are completely free to start your newsletter. For setting up a domain for your newsletter Substack will charge you one time fee of $50 while Revue offers it for free. Medium on the other hand doesn’t charge to add your domain name to your blog (Which will have the option to subscribe for newsletter). But, this option is only available for paid members. That is, $5 per month. For which you can read unlimited stories in Medium. Thus, technically all these services costs you nothing except the time and energy you put to setting the newsletter up.

Statistics

Fortunately all these service gives you the permission to see your subscriber’s email IDs. Revue and Substack provides a good statistics details but no demographics or other kind of analytics. You can see when your subscriber count increased or decreased and after which newsletter issue published.

Earning potential

Substack and Revue offers two type of subscription. Free and paid. Whereas Medium offers the same in different dimension.

Medium’s earning model is shared model. Every premium member in Medium pays $5 per month and this cost will be shared among the writers based on the performance of their writing pieces. In other words, Medium fixes price for your content.

In Revue and Substack, you can fix price for your content. Your readers agree to pay this money to read your premium (members only) content while the free content is available to read for everyone. Usually the price for newsletter will be between $2 to $15. Most writers set price to $5/month.

All these services take a portion of your earnings as service charge. Revue takes 5% of your total earning, whereas Substack takes 10%. All these uses Stripe to process your payments, the processing charges incur also reduced from your earnings. The exact commission Medium takes is unknown. Medium’s payment model is not as transparent as other two.

Revue and Substack offers choice to set your own price, set limited time offers, add paid members manually and much more control in terms of setting cost for your newsletter. Medium don’t offer any choice in this.

Concluding

If you are well known writer and already having a reader base then move to Substack or Revue. Else, choose Medium.

If you can write content, for which people are ready pay for it, then choose either Revue or Substack. If your newsletter is mostly a long-form article then choose Substack. If you build your newsletter with lots of links (link roundups) then choose Revue.

If you are unsure whether people are ready to pay for you content or not, then try starting newsletter with Medium.

If you write in many places (like you have a separate blog or writes in multiple website), then choose Revue. If you want to stick in one perfect place and engage with your audience (like building a online community) in one place, the blindly go for Substack.

One good news is, you can always migrate between these services later. So start with one and stay there for couple of years. Because, each one looks better in certain aspects. You will not get everything in one. So starting a newsletter with any of these service is not an irreversible decision. So no fear of regrets.

Any doubts? Any questions? Comment.

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Professor, Freelance Consultant, Academic Researcher, [[Knowledge Hoarder]], Philosophical, Digital Productivity Enthusiast. 🔗 alvistor.com