Twitter acquired Revue in early 2021. It's a free service now with no monthly charges. It's a Substack competitor, and another tool newsletter writers can use to grow their audience. So how do they compare? Let's take a look.
Revue is a email newsletter service whose main goal is to help writers and publishers focus on content and monetization. It's kind of a managed blogging environment which has the power to deliver content over email.
As it's more focused on content it lacks features like custom themes and email marketing tools like campaigns. All that makes sense too, as that's not the intended use of this platform. While Revue is one of the worst choices for email marketing, they are one of the best options to launch a premium newsletter. They have built a near perfect integration with Stripe which let's you charge your subscribers. Before the acquisition Revue was a paid service but now it's a free service and just takes 5% cut of whatever you charge for your users.
Substack is a very similar to Revue and practically offers the same feature set. Consider it as Medium for emails.
Just like Revue, Substack also lacks all of the email marketing features which restricts it's usage to newsletters only. Substack has always been a free provider but they do have an higher cut of 10% of your total revenue, almost double of what Revue charges now.
Let's now have a look of the key differentiating factors between Revue and Substack. We'll also understand how important those features are.
Both service providers have support for custom domains. But, Substack charges you a one-time fee of $50 for enabling custom domains for your publication. Whereas adding custom domain on Revue is completely free.
Custom Email ID
Revue and Substack are meant to send newsletters. To send, you'll have to use an email id. Generally, you would want to send email from an email id like firstname.lastname@example.org but the ESP needs to support that too.
Substack users are stuck with publicationName@substack.com whereas Revue gives it's users the luxury to choose between publicationName@getrevue.co and yourName@yourdomain.com which is great.
For me this is a very crucial feature (at least for me) as email id is part of a branding for every publication.
Custom Signup Form
Since Substack only provides an iframe, you can't control the look of your signup form. On Revue, you can customize everything.
No code tools like Zapier can be important for the back-end of your business.Revue supports Zapier, Substack doesn't. This means that you can practically connect Revue with any app which is listed on Zapier. This makes it very versatile. As your newsletter grows, extensibility like this is really convenient.
Comments on Posts
Both Substack and Revue allow comments. But, Substack takes a step ahead with comments support on issues.
Commenting is important for building community within your newsletter. There are ways around this, but Substack makes it just a little bit easier.
Substack announced support for podcasts in 2019.
Integrations & API
Revue has multiple integrations which include Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, Zapier, Instagram and much more which makes it very easy to produce content.
Both platforms take processing fees (aka platform fees) if you want to run a paid newsletter. Substack charges 10% (excluding Stripe fees) and Revue charges 5% (excluding Stripe fees). By the numbers it's very clear that Revue is considerably cheaper than Substack.
If you're running a paid newsletter 5% won't make too much of a difference when you're just starting out. Image when you start making $1k/month? That's an extra $50/month you're paying to Substack.
Revue and Substack both have a clean and intuitive editor for building and writing your newsletter. Since you'll be spending quite a bit in the editor, the easier it can be for you to use it, the less headache you'll have.
Substack's editor is basic but does have everything you need to write you newsletter. Revue, on the other hand, is has more of a playful interface to create headers, text, links, and media.
One feature that really brings Revue to the top is their ability to easily curate newsletters. With Revue's editor you'll be able to hook your newsletter to sources, such as Twitter and Facebook and pull in that information.
If you're going to be curating any type of content, then Revue really hits it out of the park.
Both Substack and Revue are great tools for running newsletters. Revue is a better option if you are looking for a powerful newsletter tool because it's cheaper than Substack and also packs in more features. But, Substack provides lots of writer support in the form of education and scholarship, and other services.
And, there are more options beyond just Substack and Revue. Here is just a small list of other platforms you can create a newsletter with. Each one we'll be covering in-depth.