beehiiv vs substack

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Beehiiv vs. Substack in 2024 | Which is the Winner?

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If you’ve noticed a lot of people talking about Beehiiv and Substack recently, you’re not alone. I came across the newsletter platforms and thought it was a great way for writers and creators to build an audience and eventually earn additional income through paid subscriptions.

Email marketing has been around for years, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen traction with newsletter platforms like Beehiiv and Substack popping up. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and working with both Beehiv and Substack and can tell you firsthand which one is the better platform.

If you’re trying to decide between Beehiiv and Substack and which newsletter platform to use, keep reading.

Choosing between Beehiiv vs. Substack

Beehiiv vs Substack

As with Beehiiv, the Substack platform allows users to send a newsletter directly to subscribers. Beehiiv and Substack were both created for writers. Beehiiv is more for writers and creators. I’d say the Beehiiv platform focuses more on monetizing your list.

The main difference between the two newsletter platforms is that Beehiiv offers a free plan for up to 2,500 subscribers but then charges a monthly fee. Substack is free to use no matter how many subscribers you have, but they take a 10% commission, plus Stripe takes an additional 3%.

Beehiv vs. Substack: Overview

Beehiiv Overview

Beehiiv overview

When you first open the Beehiiv platform, you’ll see that the Beehiiv dashboard is easy to use and navigate. I really like being able to use the forward slash (/) command to access all of the options when writing a post in Beehiiv. Beehive’s writing editor is superior to Substack in terms of content creation.

Beehiiv has mainly functioned as a newsletter platform with blogging capabilities. It has features such as search engine optimization (SEO), analytics, and a referral program.

Beehiiv offers you several ways to monetize your newsletter and make money. You need to be on the Scale Plan to take advantage of the ad network, premium subscriptions, and boost network.

In April 2024, Beehiiv released a new website builder that lets you create a website without writing a single line of code. If you’re a beginner, you’ll find it particularly helpful to see all the website customization options.

Substack Overview

Substack Overview

The Substack dashboard is simpler, or, dare I say, more limited, compared to Beehiiv. The user interface is better, but it lacks the power that Beehiiv has.

One of the biggest perks of using Substack is its built-in audience.

I really like that Substack supports a podcast feature, whereas Beehiiv does not. Substack offers distinct features, which is good for creators who want to publish different types of content on one platform.

In 2022, Substack released recommendations where one user could recommend another to help with subscriber growth. Substack lacks the growth tools that Beehiiv has.

In 2023, Substack implemented its microblogging feature, Notes. Substack Notes is very similar to Twitter in that you can share short-form content and ideas with readers and writers on the platform.

Both Beehiiv and Substack support the use of your own custom domain name. Substack charges a one-time $50 fee for the use of custom domains, whereas Beehiiv does not charge a fee.

Beehiiv Monetization

Beehiive monetization options

If you’re going to focus on making money from your newsletter, then Beehiiv is the way to go. You can monetize your newsletter platform by:

  1. Ads: Beehiiv has started ad placement with premium sponsors. This may take time to build up. Instead of searching for advertisers yourself, Beehiiv provides you with sponsors relevant to your content.
  2. Subscriptions: Start a paid subscription newsletter with Beehiiv and earn additional revenue. You convert free readers into paying subscribers and keep 100% of the revenue. Beehiiv doesn’t take a cut.
  3. Referral program: The Morning Brew used a referral program to grow an audience of over a million subscribers. Beehiiv offers a similar referral program to help you grow your audience. If a reader enjoys reading your newsletter, they can refer it to their friends and audience. You can create incentives and rewards, like exclusive offers and early access, to motivate them. Your incentives and rewards will depend on your audience.
  4. Boosts: Grow your newsletter faster with Beehiiv Boosts (paid recommendations). You can also help others grow their own newsletters and make money by recommending them.

Substack Monetization

Substack offers a few ways to monetize your newsletter.

  1. Subscriptions: Once you’ve established value and you’ve built up an audience, you can offer paid subscriptions to your readers.
  2. Advertisement: Substack users can include ads in their newsletters but must search for advertisers on their own. Substack does not offer an ad network like Beehiiv.

Both platforms allow you to do affiliate marketing and promote sponsored content in your newsletter and website. Be mindful to follow your partner’s rules and regulations. Only include helpful links, and do not spam your readers.

Pros of Beehiiv

  • What I love about Beehiiv is that it is free for up to 2,500 and that its transparent pricing model is reasonable for the features it offers.
  • Beehiiv’s main focus is on newsletter creators, blogging, creating multiple revenue streams and monetizing your newsletter.
  • I love that Beehiiv makes it easy to access the ad network. You can recommend other publications, and they can recommend you.
  • In November 2023, Beehiiv launched their own community called the Hiiv.
  • Beehiiv has better SEO.

Cons of Beehiiv

  • What I don’t love about Beehiiv is that you have to pay a monthly fee to access the monetization features.

Pros of Substack

  • What I love about Substack is the simplicity of their dashboard. If you’re writing and your only goal is to write, the dashboard is very user-friendly and easy to use.
  • Substack’s unique selling point is their platform allows you to publish different types of content, such as newsletters and podcasts.
  • Substack has a built-in community that supports its writers. It’s also been making a move toward its social media platform similar to X; formerly Twitter, called Substack Notes. It helps you interact with your audience and keep them engaged.
  • I really like Substack’s chat feature and the new direct messaging (DM) just launched. Publishers can now DM paid subscribers who send them notes.

Cons of Substack

  • What I don’t love about Substack is you can have unlimited subscribers but once you have paid subscribers, you’re on the hook for 10% + 3%, which can add up quickly.
  • Substack just released a new follow feature, which has caused some controversy among writers. Readers can follow a writer instead of subscribing. While the follow feature is supposed to improve subscriber revenue, some writers are saying it has actually hurt the number of paid subscriptions.
  • Beehiiv is better at SEO than Substack.

Pricing Comparison: Beehiiv vs. Substack

Pricing comparison Beehiiv vs. Substack

When comparing pricing plans, Beehiiv is the winner. It’s free for the first 2,500 subscribers. Substack is free as long as your newsletter is free. Substack is better for writers looking for a hobby and not looking to monetize their newsletter. If you have a large following and charge monthly membership fees, Substack will cost more money, so go with Beehiiv.

Beehiiv Pricing

Beehiiv pricing

Beehiiv offers three plan pricing options:

1. Launch Plan (free plan)

The Launch plan is a free plan designed for new creators who are just starting out. You’ll have access to up to three newsletters, a website, analytics, email delivery services, a recommendation network, and more. The plan is free and allows you to have up to 2,500 free subscribers.

2. Scale Plan ($39/mo ($34/mo paid annually))

Once you’ve established your newsletter and are looking to grow your audience, you can move to the Scale Plan. You’ll have everything that the Launch Plan has plus access to new website templates, email automation, and all the monetization features such as the referral program, ad network and boost network. You’ll also have access to the Beehiiv community, better analytics, and more.

3. Max Plan ($99/mo ($86/mo billed annually))

The Max Plan is designed for top publishers who want all the features of the scale plan but prefer premium features such as dedicated support, unlimited emails, and advanced customization options like removing the Beehiiv branding.

Substack Pricing

You, as the writer, set the subscription fees for readers. As a writer, Substack is free to publish. Once you enable paid subscriptions, you’ll pay Substack 10% of each transaction. Credit card fees are 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction fee. There is also a billing fee for recurring subscriptions (0.5% for recurring payments).

My recommendation Beehiiv vs. Substack

If I had to choose Beehiiv or Substack, I’d say Beehiiv is the winner in my opinion. Even though I do like the simplicity of the Substack dashboard, I’m hesitant to grow a newsletter on a platform that will take 13% of my revenue.

Which is better for writers?

If I were just planning to write as a hobby and not looking to monetize a newsletter or create multiple revenue streams, I’d possibly choose Substack. Substack is easy to use and free unless you offer a paid subscription.

Which is better for creators?

As a creator and a writer, I’d have to choose Beehiiv. Beehiiv gives you a platform for a newsletter, a website, a community, and a way to make money for your time and effort spent creating. Beehiiv gives you all of these features at a reasonable price.

FAQ: Beehiiv vs. Substack

Q1: Beehiiv vs. Substack: Which should you choose?

I’d say the winner is Beehiiv if you’re a content creator, writer, or looking to monetize your newsletter.

Q2: Can I use a free plan with Beehiiv or Substack?

Yes, you can use a free plan with both Beehiiv and Substack indefinitely. However, you can use Beehiiv’s plan until you reach 2,500 free subscribers. Substack’s offers unlimited subscribers, pricing includes hosting and is free to use until you offer paid subscriptions.

Q3: Which platform is better for building a community?

Substack has a built-in audience and social features like Notes and chat, making it easier to connect with readers and create a community. Beehiiv offers a community forum (The Hiiv) but may require more effort to build a following.

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy reading these articles:

Beehiiv Review: My Thoughts About the Newsletter Platform

Substack Notes | What are notes, and why you should be using them?

Substack vs. Medium | Which is Better 2024?

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