How Long Should Your Newsletter Be to Get 100K+ Subscribers?

Looking to scale up your email newsletter? We analyzed our database of more than 1.2m+ Substack and LinkedIn newsletters to look for common patterns across those with the highest subscriber numbers.

Your newsletter's topic, niche, audience and (obviously) the content also play crucial roles, but it turns out that there are some striking differences in copy length and publishing frequency that could give us some clues as to what makes a successful newsletter.

This is the first of a series of articles that we will publish using Reletter's unique data to look at patterns and trends across the newsletter landscape.

🏆 Top newsletters are almost double the length of newsletters in general

First, we looked at the five most recent issues across all newsletters and calculated the mean word count. We then ran the same calculation for the top 50 newsletters by number of subscribers [1].

This excludes paid issues because we can't calculate the issue length from the limited preview that Substack provides for those.

We discovered that top newsletters have an average length of 871 words, which is nearly double the calculated figure of 451 words for all newsletters.

Chart showing the average length of newsletters

This finding suggests that in order to attract a significant number of subscribers, it’s important to produce comprehensive and in-depth content.

⏱️ Top newsletters publish new issues more frequently

The other question a lot of writers ponder is how often to publish new issues. To gain some insight we compared the mean publishing frequency across all newsletters to that of the top 50 newsletters by number of subscribers [1].

We found that top newsletters publish issues on average every 13 days, significantly more frequently than the 19 days we calculated for all newsletters.

Chart showing the average newsletter publishing frequency

This finding suggests that publishing frequency matters. However, perhaps more important is the need to let readers know how often they can expect to hear from you so they’re neither overwhelmed by the number of emails nor left wondering if you’ve gone on a hiatus, as both could cost you subscribers.

🌎 Top newsletters in the International category publish the longest issues

We wondered if certain categories tend to publish longer issues than others, so we calculated the mean word count across the top 50 newsletters within each Substack category, based on their subscriber counts [1][2].

We found that top publications in the International category publish the longest issues on average, at 1298 words.

Average length of newsletters by Substack category

In contrast, with an average word count of 472, top newsletters in the Podcasts category publish the shortest issues on average. This didn’t particularly surprise us given that these issues are likely highlighting the episode audio and include a limited amount of text.

Final thoughts

While the data might suggest publishing 900-word issues every 13 days, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all. The length and frequency of your newsletter should depend on various factors like the topic, niche, target audience, your availability, and the amount of quality content you can produce.

As you digest these insights, you can claim your newsletter on Reletter or use it to find untapped cross-promo opportunities. Get started for free and view subscriber numbers, chart rankings, traffic estimates, contact info and more for over one million newsletters.

Footnotes

[1] We included ‘active’ newsletters in our calculations, i.e. newsletters that have published an issue in the last 45 days. We excluded any inactive newsletters.

[2] Substack newsletters can select up to two categories but the primary category is taken into account for the leaderboards. Our findings are therefore based on the primary category of each newsletter.

Becca Butcher

Becca Butcher

Marketing at Reletter

Find, contact and get featured in email newsletters

Reletter gives you subscriber numbers, contacts, chart rankings and more across 1.2m+ newsletters.


Becca Butcher

Becca Butcher

Marketing at Reletter

Find, contact and get
featured in email newsletters

Reletter gives you subscriber numbers, contacts, chart rankings and more across 1.2m+ newsletters.